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Published: Friday, 4/2/2004

Toledo smoking opponents honored

Mayor Jack Ford was one of five Toledo-area residents honored yesterday by a statewide anti-smoking advocacy group for their leadership.

Mr. Ford was named Ohio Tobacco Control Champion of the Year by Tobacco Free Ohio for leading the drive last year to ban smoking in most Toledo restaurants, bars, and other public places.

"People come up to me and say 'I'm so glad you did this,' " Mr. Ford said. He defended enforcement of the law in the face of some bar owners who continue to allow smoking while claiming an exemption for private clubs.

"We're going to be methodical in the legal approach we take," he said.

Tobacco Free Ohio helped lobby for the smoking ban that was approved by City Council in July and phased in over six months.

Also honored were Holly Kowalczk, nicotine dependency educator for St. Luke's Hospital; the Lucas County Tobacco Prevention Coalition; St. Luke's Hospital's "Don't Be a Nico-Teen" program led by Debbie Matthews, and Jim Nowak of Toledo for the best tobacco control advertisement of the year.

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