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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

Smoke Less Ohio files more signatures

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - The coalition proposing an alternative smoking ban that exempts bars, restaurants, and other locations yesterday filed 181,402 additional signatures in hopes of getting its proposal to voters on Nov. 7.

Smoke Less Ohio is being pushed by the tobacco and hospitality industries as an alternative to a much stricter ban proposed by a coalition of health organizations that would ban indoor smoking in nearly all public places.

Smoke Less hopes that enough of the signatures will survive scrutiny by county boards of elections as those of registered voters to offset a deficiency in its petitions of nearly 50,000 that was cited by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.

The strict ban, pushed by SmokeFreeOhio, has already been certified for the ballot.

If voters should approve both, the weaker Smoke Less ban, as a proposed constitutional amendment, would prevail over SmokeFreeOhio's initiated statute as well as anti-smoking measures already enacted by Toledo, Bowling Green, and 19 other cities.



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