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Religious community gets involved in smoking debate

Columbus religious leaders are getting behind the effort to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and bowling alleys. At a prayer breakfast Wednesday morning, religious leaders joined with anti-smoking advocates to call for a no-vote on the Can the Ban initiative slated for this November's ballot.

For these religious leaders, the connection between faith and non-smoking is easy to draw. What's good for the body is good for the soul. They cite statistics that say more than 18,000 Ohioans die from tobacco related diseases each year, and say it's their duty to get the word out about the hazards.

Charles Booth is pastor of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church where the event was held. He says Columbus's faith community plans to campaign against the ballot initiative that would halt the city's indoor smoking ban.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.