Campaigns for and against smoking ban outline fundraising plans

Bar and restaurant owners who oppose the Columbus smoking ban say they hope to raise $600,000 in their campaign to overturn it.

Columbus voters in November will decide whether to uphold the city council approved ban.

The “Can the Ban” campaign says it will rely on grass roots efforts to raise most of its money.

So far leaders of the can the ban campaign say they have raised $100,000. With 6 weeks to go before the election, the smoking ban opponents hope to raise another half million dollars. And they say they want to do it one t-shirt, one ball cap and one cigarette ligher at a time.

The “Can the Ban” campaign is selling kits filled with novelties to bar and restaurant owners at $500 each. The bar owners can then sell the t-shirts and hats to customers who want to overturn the ban.

Campaign coordinator Jacob Evans of the Ohio Licenced Beverage Association repeated his claim that the group will not accept donations from the tobacco industry.

A spokeswoman for the campaign to keep the ban in place, Lisa Friffin remains skeptical about big tobacco’s role. She expects the tobacco industry to contribute money to pay for television advertising.

Griffin says ban supporteers will rely on grass roots fundraising to pay for their campaign. She says they hope to raise up to $300,000. They are looking to educators, parents and health organizations for money.

Griffin denies ban opponents charges that money from the tobacco settlement with the government is helping fund their campaign.

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