State officials say thousands of Ohio bars, restaurants and other workplaces that have violated the state's new smoking ban will not face retroactive penalties once rules for enforcing the ban take effect next month.
Compliance was supposed to take effect December 7 but has been spotty in some areas of Ohio.
The state Health Department has establish fines up to $2,500 for multiple violators.
The state is also clarifying businesses that are exempt.
About 17,000 alleged violations have been reported statewide.
The rules cleared a ten-member panel of lawmakers Monday without objection, meaning that penalties can be enforced the first week of May.
The smoking ban law was approved by 58 percent of voters last November.
It aims to protect non-smokers and employees from secondhand smoke.
It prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants, bars and offices.