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Columbus City Council Approves Smoking Ban

A statewide smoking ban has advanced.

The Columbus City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday banning smoking within city limits. The council must take a final vote next month before the ban can be implemented.

The ordinance, which was approved 5-2, prohibits smoking in all indoor businesses, making it stricter than the state law, which provides exemptions to bars, taverns and private clubs.

A version of the ordinance that was first proposed last month required all new bars would have to be smoke-free but allowed existing bars that permitted smoking to be ‘grandfathered in’ unless there was a change in location or ownership.

City Councilman Dascal Bunch, who voted in favor of the ordinance, says the Council scrapped that idea after bar owners tried to change the stipulation.

“We were trying to do a compromise with bar owners that had came to the meeting and was really concerned about their business,” he says. “As soon as we brought up that proposal they started wanting to change it and so we took it apart.”

The city council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance for a second and final time at its meeting on December 4. Until then, the ordinance is open to public comment and could be amended.

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