St. Louis County buys anti-smoking ads

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis County plans to spend millions of dollars in federal stimulus money for an anti-smoking campaign.

The goal of the $7.6 million effort is to support efforts to strengthen the county’s new smoking bank.

Supporters want to persuade county council members to remove some exemptions in the ban. The exemptions include casino floors, bars making 25 percent or less of their income from food, and some private clubs and tobacco stores.

Public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard Inc. will be paid $2 million to develop the campaign.

Project manager Barry Freedman says the money will be used for public education, not to lobby the council.

Bill Hannegan, a longtime opponent of the smoking ban, says the effort is an inappropriate use of public money.

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