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Cleveland public health leaders concerned over Ohio tobacco regulation ban amid high smoking rate

 A close-up of a crumpled cigarette.
A close-up of a crumpled cigarette.

Staring in April, Ohio cities will no longer be able to regulate tobacco sales in their communities, due to a move by Ohio Republican lawmakers last week overriding Governor Mike DeWine's veto of this provision in the budget bill.

This ban on local bans affects cities across the state, including Columbus, whose ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products went into effect Jan. 1, and Cleveland whose city council had introduced a similar ordinance last year.

Republican Senate President Matt Huffman said having patchwork laws across the state would be confusing. And some Cleveland councilmembers have expressed concern that a ban on flavored tobacco would hurt businesses.

DeWine called the Statehouse move "a big win for big tobacco." And Columbus leaders said the city is drafting a lawsuit against Ohio for infringing on home rule, with the support of Cleveland and Cincinnati mayors. Last week, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb joined other mayors across the country in calling for a federal ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes.

We'll start Tuesday's "Sound of Ideas" by talking to public health leaders about what impact the new law will have in Ohio, especially in a city like Cleveland, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation at 35%, and one that disproportionately affects Black residents. The national average is 11% according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Later in this hour, we'll discuss the process of surrogacy.

Earlier this month, the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, called for a global ban on surrogacy, saying a "child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract." He also claimed that surrogacy exploits the women who carry the children.

The announcement caused outrage for many surrogacy advocates, including reproductive doctors, fertility advocates and gestational surrogates, who say the pope's comments are misguided.

We'll discuss the different types of surrogacy, how it works in Ohio, and the many steps involved in the practice that helps many individuals and couples become parents.

- Dave Margolius, M.D., Public Health Director, City of Cleveland
- Yvonka Hall, Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
- Priya Maseelall, M.D., Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist, Medical Director, Reproductive Gynecology and Infertility

- Rebecca Horvath, a Gestational Carrier, Stay-at-home Mom

- Judith Hoechst, NICU Registered Nurse Clinician, Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorney & Board Member, Resolve

Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”