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Can We Please Ban Smoking in the St. Louis Region? Missouri?

January 29, 2009 Smoke Free, St. Louis County, STL Region 112 Comments

I really hate cigarette smoke.  Nothing ruins a good meal like someone puffing away at the next table or even the next room.  But it is not just restaurants  I recently went to a local locksmith to have a key made.  I left smelling like an ashtray.  I can’t meet clients smelling like a smoker.

Illinois has had a smoking ban for a year.  I recently had lunch at a sports bar in Granite City, IL — I was able to breath and enjoy my salad.    Oklahoma requires completely separate closed rooms with different HVAC systems in order to have smoking areas.  Would you like that key made in the smoking or non-smoking section?  Both states as well as others with bans still have open businesses.  Despite what you hear, places do remain open.  Some even thrive.

Of course smoking is addictive.  Just like coffee is.  I don’t like either. But I can have a meal with the person next to me getting their morning coffee fix.  People with destructive addictions need help.

Short of a statewide ban we need a more local ban.  But at what level?  St. Louis City is small relative to the Missouri  side of the region.  St. Louis County has 90+ municipalities and quite a bit of area not in an incorporated municipality.  The City of St. Louis or anyone of the 90+ munis in the county could ban smoking but would that just drive business to a neighboring municipality?  I guess those people who must have a Marlboro with their wings just might change where they will eat.

You may have seen the article, “Smoking ban issue resurfaces in St. Louis County”in the Post-Dispatch on the 26th which talked about a letter from five out of the 90+ mayors in St. Louis County urging the St. Louis County Council to ban smoking county-wide. From the article:

The mayors of five adjacent cities in St. Louis County have reignited the smoking ban issue, asking the County Council to ban smoking in public places. Signing the document were Mayors Joseph L. Adams of University City, Jean Antoine of Olivette, Harold Dielmann of Creve Coeur, Linda Goldstein of Clayton and Mike Schneider of Overland.

Thanks to reader “Jason”, I have the letter for you to read for yourself.  Click here to view the 2-page PDF.

As a patron I have the right to avoid businesses that permit smoking, and I do.  However, employees don’t have that luxury.  To keep their job they are often subjected to second-hand smoke.  When they have lung cancer 20 years later we all pay the price as medical costs are boerne by all either through increased insurance premiums or taxes.

I find visiting regions & states with bans more pleasant.  No need to pop into places to ask if they prohibit smoking.  We are competing with many regions & states for jobs and for population.  Banning smoking in public places is a good way to be able to remove an objection for relocating to the Missouri side of the region.

Kudos to these five mayors.  I have sent an email to several members of the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Slay’s staff asking them to pass a smoking ban in the City of St. Louis that would take affect upon approval of a similar measure in St. Louis County.  If St. Louis County did the same we might actually get somewhere in our fragmented region. I suggest you contact your elected official in the city/county where you live to try to get this done.


Currently there are "112 comments" on this Article:

  1. I agree completely. I posted an article myself on the smoking ban a couple of days ago. I was surprised when I went online to find that so many states do have smoking bans. The wiki on smoking bans said the St. Louis is the most smoker friendly city in the country. How sad.

    I wonder if anyone has actually looked at how the smoking ban has affected Ballwin restaurants and bars. They have a full smoking ban in place in all of their public places, including all restaurants and bars. It would be easy for a smoker to drive another 10 minutes to Ellisville or Manchester or Des Peres. Just wondering if there is any evidence that the businesses lost biz after they enacted the smoking ban or if it actually helped them by pulling in extra non-smokers.

  2. Jim Zavist says:

    I’m conflicted on this one. I don’t like going to places that allow smoking, and I generally try to avoid them whenever possible. But my libertarian side chafes at having government telling businesses what they should or must do or not do, especially with “legal” products, and unfortunately, tobacco is a legal product whose use is allowed for anyone who’s old enough! Until government is willing to give up the taxes tobacco products generate, and to treat tobacco as an illegal substance, I find it hypocritcal for them to be both taxing and limiting its use. That said, as a non-smoker, I would have much less of an objection to a statewide ban than I would to a local one.

  3. Brad from South City says:

    Columbia, MO has a city wide smoking ban and the entire state of Washington also has a smoking ban as well. I must say. I LOVE it. I was pretty indifferent towards it until I moved to Saint Louis this summer. It used to be soooo nice to go to a bar and then not have to wash your coat because of the smell. It was also great when you could walk into a restaurant and they only ask you how many people and you weren’t left waiting for a table for 2 when there are 20 open tables in the smoking section with 2 people in there smoking.

    I wish smokers would figure out how stupid they are. They may as well eat rat poison or put a gun to their heads. It will save them money in the long run. I have lost both grandfathers and an uncle to smoking related cancer or emphazima.

    I’m all for smoking bans. I wish smoking would be banned nation wide.

    Oh and the bars and restaurants in Columbia are all still open and when I was in Seattle I ate at restaurants every night for 6 days. The world hadn’t come to an end.

  4. To learn more and get involved in the effort for smoke-free workplaces in St. Louis City, check out our website at smokefreestl.org

    Everyone has the right to breathe clean indoor air. A comprehensive smoke-free policy is the most simple and effective way to improve our community’s health. Hundreds of other major cities are already smoke-free, St. Louis City isn’t – let’s change that.

  5. KEB in SoCo says:

    Hey can we ban alcohol while we are at it? I can’t stand how loud people get when they are drunk. It’s why I don’t go to bars.

    The decision to ban smoking should be up to the individual bsuiness owner. What is all this about changing everything to suit your own personal purposes? If you don’t like it, don’t go there. Most restaurants in the area are smoke free at this point anyway, because the owners made that decision. Make your own choices, but stop trying to enforce your personal desires on everyone else.

  6. megamike says:

    Down here in Florida the entire state is smoke free..yes in the party state of Florida is smoke free in eateries and bars…come on Missouri get with it!!

  7. dumb me says:

    Doesn’t St. Louis have a long history associated with tobacco? From the steamboat days, wasn’t tobacco delivered in and out of here in huge bales all the way to the present?
    Inside City Hall, isn’t the motif of the crown moulding found at the top of the halls outside the Mayor’s Office and Board of Aldermen designed to look like tied up bales of tobacco? At least that’s what I always thought. Dumb me.

  8. Southwest City smoker says:

    As a smoker I go to bars where I can and cannot smoke, and I enjoy both. It’s a decision on my part not one mandated by my state or local government.

    I also think that the arguement that this is affecting the workers is valid in the sense that it does affect them however so do the cleaning supplies, alcohol, stress of working a nighttime job and the general behind the scenes variables that go with working at a bar. So how do we plan to to safeguard employees as well as patrons from all of that? Yes I know that their are laws regarding safe workplaces but what about unruly patrons?

    At what point do we micromanage the banning of everything to the determent of all? Life is full of decisions that anyone with common sense should have and the government cant protect or shield you from it all. My concern is that we – especially our children – will be so overprotected and shielded from any sort of possible problem in their life that they wont have the means to deal with any problem that comes their way.

    My guess is that at some point in the future all bars in Missouri will be smoke free. It probably wont have a lasting economic impact on the bars however given the fact that most states, including ours, rely heavily for their educational funding from smoking taxes what will happen when that fund drys up from the fact that people are not smoking? Where will that extra revenue come from? That day will come for sure and I hope that everyone has thought that far ahead and has a detailed idea as how to best offset that.

    So to end my libretarian rant, Ban only at the owners discretion.

  9. Chris says:

    People tried to blame the smoking ban on the failure of several bars in Ballwin, but in reality they just sucked in general. Ballwin is boring, cop infested and has no nightlife. It has nothing to do with its smoking ban. I lived out that way, so I should know.

  10. andrew says:

    I’m simply amazed at the traction that smoking BANs have taken off in this country.

    Because smoke is annoying is no reason to BAN it.

    Because smoke is unhealthy is no reason to BAN it.

    If you don’t like smoke, patronize smoke free establishments like Off Broadway.

    Don’t mandate health, don’t ban annoyances and don’t tell people how to run their business.

  11. Chris says:

    “Don’t mandate health, don’t ban annoyances”
    So, health codes at restaurants are bad?
    Cell phone use on airplanes is cool?

    Sometimes, government and thoughtful people actually do know more than the masses.
    I believe it was a majority of Americans in 1967 who opposed interracial marriage, but it took the Supreme Court to legalize it with the Loving v Virginia ruling. Point? Many. Obama’s parents would have been able to get married without it.

    In a couple of years, after MO has finally gotten its act together and banned smoking, everyone will look back and laugh that a debate around this actually took place.

    Will a couple of bars suffer from a ban? Yes. Sucks. But isn’t the upside much greater?

  12. Tim says:

    I’m a twenty something living in STL and am 100% behind banning smoking. I often travel for work and am often in cities/states with these bans and it is great not coming home from dinner/drinks smelling like smoke. I understand why some think that it is unconstitutional to ban smoking and that it should be a choice but many Americans obviously are not making the right choice when it comes to smoking. That is why smoking is the #1 killer in the US. This leads to higher healthcare costs, etc. If Americans won’t make the right choice, then the government must do it. Do it for the health of the nation for god sake!

  13. Stephanie says:

    There have been cases where someone has experienced a health problem from being subjected to second-hand smoke (i.e., asthma attack), but I have never heard of a health problem caused by the inability to have a cigarette in a smoke-free establishment. I am constantly amazed at the excuses for allowing smoking in public places. I agree with the author of this article; if you believe that restaurants and bars should be smoke-free, please let your city leaders know your thoughts.

  14. andrew says:

    Tim Says:

    “I understand why some think that it is unconstitutional to ban smoking and that it should be a choice but many Americans obviously are not making the right choice when it comes to smoking.”

    -It’s still their choice right? Mandated health? snack food ban? drink limits? These obese people i.e. America are driving up my health care costs and are making bad decisions, but we aren’t having that discussion are we?

    “That is why smoking is the #1 killer in the US.”

    – I always thought that was heart disease, but what do I know….

    Chris Says:

    “So, health codes at restaurants are bad?”

    NO. They aren’t bad. Cigarettes have health standards too. Health/safety standards make sure that the product doesn’t make you sick instantly (smoke or food or toys).

    Eventually those burgers will give you heart disease OR that smoke will give you lung cancer.

  15. DAJ says:

    In my opinion it should be left to individual business to decide. In this case let the free markets work.

  16. CWEGuy says:

    It sounds like most people here are certainly up for banning things they don’t like. Lots of people want to ban guns and abortion too.

    What happened to personal choice? If a restaurant chooses to restrict or allow smoking; it should be the restaurant owner’s choice. Just as it is the choice of the patron to go to the restaurant. If you don’t like smoking in a restaurant, don’t go. When I smoked, I would not go to restaurants in Clayton because I wasn’t allowed to smoke there. Similarly, I wouldn’t patronize restaurants that restricted smoking.

    Why can’t restaurants compete on their smoking status? Bans only limit choice…

    The government (nanny state?) is not in charge of my health. I am.

  17. Tim says:

    I don’t recall ever reading about a case where someone got cancer because they sat next to someone who was eating a hamburger. If someone chooses to eat too many burgers and gets fat, that’s their choice. They aren’t affecting the people sitting next to them at public establishments. With smoking, if you choose to smoke and give yourself cancer then so be it. JUST DO IT OUTSIDE!

  18. CarondeletNinja says:

    They came for the trans-fat eaters, and I did nothing;
    I was not a trans-fat eater.
    Then they came for the smokers, and I did nothing;
    I was not a smoker.
    Then they game for the gas guzzling SUVs, and I did nothing;
    I did not drive an SUV.
    Then they came for {insert your own bad habit here},
    and there was no one left to stand up for me.

  19. Angela W says:

    As a consumer, I can avoid most places that allow smoking, but I cannot imagine having to work in that type of environment. It is bad enough to talk through the outside door of your workplace, where the cloud of smoke lingers. It is quite another to constantly inhale it during a shift that lasts eight hours or more.

    It exacerbates allergies, causes lung disease and, for some, death. Second-hand smoke just isn’t worth it.

    Protection of workers is essential to keeping a strong, solid, healthy workforce for the Show-Me state. Hopefully lawmakers will soon agree.

  20. Adam says:

    stop throwing your damn cigarette butts on the ground! it’s ILLEGAL!!!

  21. Jason says:

    You have a choice to go somewhere that allows smoking.

    You have a choice to place an application with a business that allows smoking.

    As a business owner, you have a choice of allowing smoking in your establishment.

    And, with all the information out there, you have the choice either to smoke or not smoke.

    Seriously, aren’t there better thing to worry and fret over right now?

  22. planb247 says:

    Amen, it is time for St. Louis to be smoke free. All the people complaining about choices and infringing on smokers’ rights have it all backwards (and likely are speaking because of their addiction). What about non-smokers’ rights? Do smokers care so little about their fellow citizens that they think it’s okay to spew carcinogens into their lungs? This is an instance that shows exactly why the so-called free market does not work for the betterment of society. That is OUR job. And, yes, we make health regulations for businesses all the time. This is NO different. Employees must wash their hands after using the restroom. Smokers must smoke outside. Is that really so hard to understand? It seems to me all the pro-smoking people talk a lot about choice and freedom, but only when it’s for the choices they want and their personal freedoms NOT for their fellow citizens.

  23. Melissa says:

    Smoke-free Workplace started in California over 10 years ago to protect workers for the harmful and deadly affects of secondhand smoke. At that time, I was a young 20 something, who resigned from her first job out-of-college from a company in Westport which allowed smoking in the employee lounge. The problem was my cube was right outside the lounge. They refused to close the door because the lounge would get to smokey. They wouldn’t even let me move my work station. I had been recently been diagnosed with asthma and my doctor concluded that was contributing to my attacks. He signed a note saying I could not work there in those conditions and I resigned immediately.

    I do not want anyone including a young waitress, a blackjack dealer, a sales rep, a restaurant manager, an event coordinator, an accountant, a sommelier have to walk in my shoes. I stopped in to see if the new Buffalo Wild Wings was smokefree. The young waitress/hostess at the door says “it’s the law we have to offer a smoking section”. I quickly pointed out that she was wrong and that it was the owner’s decision here in MO. He had the right to protect your health and in this case is not. I talked to the owner and told him he was making a big mistake and that was responsible if one his employees has an asthma attack and dies. Cigarette smoke is the #1 trigger for asthma attacks. The level of air quality in a restaurant with smoking is like that of a red day. Can you imagine going to work and every day is a red day?

  24. Jason says:

    Andrew – you said, “NO. They aren’t bad. Cigarettes have health standards too. Health/safety standards make sure that the product doesn’t make you sick instantly (smoke or food or toys).”

    Actually, you are wrong. FDA has no authority at this time (legislation is either pending or recently passed, though):


    So, when you smoke your cigarette, there are really no guarantees it is safe. The only people regulating them are the tax agencies!

  25. Smokers are Gross says:

    Smokers don’t seem to understand or care that they are simply killing themselves.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY they are hurting others who have to breath their poison. It may not be visible at the moment, but the body must accomplish great feats to cleanse itself of all the toxins after just a brief period of cigarette smoke exposure. Damage can be irreversable.

    I would suggest everyone come visit my lung cancer-ridden grandmother if you want to see what you are doing to yourself and what you have to look forward to.

    It’s perhaps the most ridiculous habit there ever was.

    It is perhaps the worst, most debilitating and drawn-out death a person can die.

    Even if you live to 80, I guarantee the last 10 years of your life will NOT be enjoyable and will be spend YEARS fighting disease and illness before collapsing and dying a morbid, grotesque, diseased and rotten death.


    Come on St. Louis.

  26. Mark Groth says:

    Wow, the urbanists can be a judgemental bunch…I have some long-winded thoughts on the matter:

  27. john w. says:

    Disallow smoking in common areas populated by non-smokers, separate the chambers of interior occupancies by smoke containment barriers, and provide fully separate mechanical systems (interior climate control, air quality and ventilation) in partitioned chambers divided by smoke or no smoke. Allow American citizens to choose for themselves whether to allow smoking in a business that they own, or to smoke were permitted. If you choose to accommodate smokers and their smoke, incur the costs of retrofit to your place of business or comply with the common area smoking ban. Ban smoking in all common areas populated by non-smokers, and create a new market for those who shop at Dirt Cheap Beer and Liquor and willing to be solely among other stink-ass smokers where smoking is permitted. They’ll find refuge for their persecuted selves in the newly partitioned world of smoke vs. no smoke.

  28. wintersnow70 says:

    I agree with John. As much as I hate cigarette smoke and being in an establishment with it, a complete ban can be avoided. When an appropriate room is provided that allows customers to go away from those who do not wish to be suscepted to their smoke. People used to give me a hard time when I wouldn’t go to certain spots or bars because of the smoke. I can’t help that I have asthma that was brought on by exposure to chemicals, but I can make a choice to avoid smoke in establishments. Why is it that everyone says freedom is for the choice; when one side of the choice affects many for more than just the day? Two days ago we went to meet at a pizza joint- bar and ended up going home ill from the twenty something guys behind us puffing away over our heads (& lack of proper ventilation at the bar). I’m still dreading putting on my coat or knowing I had to wash my hair twice that day………..

  29. Janet says:

    Compromises in laws that allow smoking in “fully enclosed, separately ventilated smoking rooms” are problematic. Even if a room is separate from the rest of an establishment, ventilation does not eliminate the health hazards of secondhand smoke. Smoking rooms present a particular risk to the people inside the smoking rooms and the workers who have to serve in and clean the rooms.

    While ventilation systems can help reduce the smell of cigarette smoke, they are still not capable of getting rid of the carcinogens. Most cancer-causing particles and all cancer-causing gasses are too small to be trapped by filters.

  30. OSHA has already ruled that a smoking ban like the one in Illinois is not necessary to protect worker health. St. Louis bars arlready comply with OSHA air quality standards.

    Venues like Herbie’s Vintage 72 have installed air filtratration machines that can make their air cleaner than the air outdoors, even if people are smoking. That is good enough!

    Federal Reserve economist Dr. Michael Pakko found that the Columbia smoking ban cut the bar trade 11 percent. Restaurants that serve alcohol are down 6.5 percent. The restaurant trade is down 3.5 percent overall. Illinois casinos are down 20 percent due to smoking bans. St. Louis doesn’t need that kind of economic damage. And people still smoke in Illinois and Columbia bars!

    But do St. Louis citizens favor a smoking ban? A 2007 survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found that only 24.5 percent of St. Louis City residents favor banning smoking in bars and cocktail lounges. Support for such a ban in St. Louis County and St. Charles County is only slightly stronger at 30 and 31.2 percent. A ban on smoking in bars is favored by only 27.5 percent of Missourians overall. These local numbers line up with the latest Gallup Poll, which found that only 29 percent of Americans support a smoking ban in bars. This is pretty slim popular support for such a Draconian restriction of freedom and property rights. http://www.scribd.com/doc/8831046/Data-7

  31. ex-stl says:

    when SF passed its ban there was a loophole I liked – if all the workers owned a share of the bar (not restaurant) and agreed, then and only then was it allowed.

    I’m a smoker and I don’t mind a bit going outside, I don’t care for the smell during dinner either but I am sort of irked that the outside areas are becoming more restricted. win your indoor space and spare the waitstaff from the secondhand dangers, but leave it there or make a stronger push for industrial eco laws in general – those refineries across the river can’t be great, but then the prevailing winds blow the fumes East over Illinois, so what would anyone in Missouri care…

  32. jdb says:

    why is it that many smokers think the world is their own personal trash can and toss cigarette butts on the streets and sidewalks at will? Smoking is truly disgusting. I enforce my own smoking ban – I won’t patronize restaurants that allow smoking. I’m conflicted about a government mandated smoking policy though. But tossing those butts – that’s littering and we should be enforcing stiff fines – maybe a couple hundred per offense.

  33. This is simple: when I go to an establishment which has traditionally had both smoking and non-smoking sections, the host/hostess generally asks “smoking or non-smoking” and I ALWAYS answer “I’ll take ANTI-SMOKING if you have it”.

    There is NO NEED for someone to smoke at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Got that? NO NEED TO BE ALLOWED the PRIVILEDGE TO SMOKE in a public building, especially where there are non-smokers and anti-smokers.

    I’m all for a CONSTITUTIONAL BAN OF ALL SMOKING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. But even I think that would be a little harsh. Just a slight bit.

  34. Dave K says:

    The Kirkwood Chamber of Commerce studied the Ballwin ban and found that it did hurt business. The Federal Reserve studied Columbia and found their ban did hurt business. Arnold reversed it’s ban because the city council found it hurt business. The National Restaurant Association compared revenue of it’s members in places all over the USA -bans vs no bans- , and found bans hurt business.

    The only people who claim bans don’t hurt business are anti-smoking groups. what does that tell you about the integrity of antismoking research?

    Dave K

  35. Tony Palazzolo says:

    Why is it that everyone demands that everyplace cater to themselves. If you don’t like smoke, don’t go. I love how people complain about everyone lighting up at dinner. I can’t remember the last time I was at a restuarant that allowed smoking. A majority of them have already gone smoke-free or only allow it in the bar. Restaurants shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. There are certainly fewer choices for bars but they are expanding. There are more and more of them everyday. If that is what you want, you should patronize those bars.

    I’m also surprised that most of you buy the second hand smoke health scare. If you do a little research you’ll find that OSHA, WHO, and even ACS have studies that found no correlation.

    You should read some of this blog


    He is a tobacco control expert

  36. Charley says:

    Umm, Dave K. – The Kirkwood Chamber of Commerce “study” of Ballwin businesses consisted of one guy going and talking to a few bartenders. I saw his “study”. He did not talk to anyone at Ballwin City Hall, nor review any sales tax records or business financial records. And I think the “Federal Reserve” study of Columbia that you referred to was actually some guy who works for the Fed., but the study was not done by the Fed nor endorsed by it. So what does that tell you about the integrity of pro-smoking research?

  37. Will Fruhwirth says:


    The scientific Columbia study was sponsored by the STL Fed and printed in their “Regional Economic Development” journal.

  38. Dave K says:

    What does the fact that all authors who are antismokers claim to conclude that bans do not harm business?.. your question cuts both ways.

    Kirkwood did not talk to a few bartenders, he talked to all the owners, and I would think owners would know more about the impact on business than you do.

    The some guy who works for the Fed is a PhD economist,,,and he prsented the actual sales data from the city in his report. The Fed does have a policy of allowing their research economists do research on public policy impact on economies.

    So, I noticed you left out challenging my comments on Arnold city council,,, and the Nat. Restaurant Assoc. …what does that say about how selective you were in your response?

  39. Adam says:

    “This is pretty slim popular support for such a Draconian restriction of freedom and property rights.”
    almost as draconian as smoking itself, but nowhere near as draconian as subjecting non-smokers to your waste.

  40. Josh L. says:

    I have to say that I have little patience for the “libertarian” and/or addiction-driven comments against smoking bans in this thread. I recently moved from St. Louis to Illinois and feel that I have returned to civilization, in part because of the smoking ban. I previously lived in NYC and it worked there too; there are lots of bars that are thriving, even though the industry thrashed around like a trapped animal beforehand.

  41. Jim Zavist says:

    I’ll repeat, until the government classifies tobacco as an illegal drug (which it rightfully is) AND stops collecting taxes on the product, it’s hypocritical to impose a total ban on all enclosed public spaces!
    I don’t like being around smokers and I avoid patronizing establishments that don’t segregate or ban them, but I have a bigger fear of government imposing their regulations in other areas of our lives. Monitor our cell phones and land lines? Dig through our emails looking for terrorist plots? Put GPS monitors on our vehicles to charge us mileage and congestion fees?
    Smoking is a choice, a legal one and a stupid one. Prohibition was tried with alcohol and didn’t work, and this movement will end up being about as successful. Even in Illinois, a minority of bars continue to flaunt the law, and enforcement is rarely a high priority for local police. C’mon people, we have the freedom to vote with our feet and our wallets – use it! The Royale is the classic “good” example, while the St. Louis Sports Zone is one of many at the other end of the spectrum – guess which one my wife and I patronize?!

    [slp — Prohibition sought to make alcohol illegal anywhere. The issues are different. I can be having a meal while the person at the next table has a beer with their meal. No harm done. I’m not advocating a wholesale ban on cigarettes or to ban their use in private.]

  42. john w. says:

    While I have to agree with Steve’s editorial follow-up to Jim’s comment, and partially agree with Jim’s position, it still seems best to enforce a ban on smoking in common places populated by non-smokers (not really difficult to identify), and allow the owners of private business to decide for themselves whether to make the necessary retrofitted changes to their occupyable spaces to accommodate smoking. Separate spaces. No comingled spaces. Chambers where smoking would be permitted are fully and wholly separated from those that ban smoking. Employed staff has the choice to work in the exposed areas, or to remain free of smoke. Choice. Those who choose to consume legal substances that are harmful to themselves (and others where that consumption exposes any others to the harm) can do so, and those who choose to live as healthy a life as possible by avoiding needless hazards like cigarette smoke can do so. Private occupyable spaces are not subject to any ban. Disallow smoking in common places populated by non-smokers, and allow those that smoke or are willing to accommodate those that smoke to comply with the requirements of complete separation. If a business owner can’t reasonably make the retrofitted changes, then that business owner will soon be owning a smoke-free establishment. It’s pretty simple, actually.

  43. St. Louis doesn’t have smoking ban in part because St. Louisans took some time to look into the health claims groups like the American Cancer Society use to scare the public and pressure lawmakers into imposing bans. For instance, the main claim the ACS used to push a smoking ban in Illinois can still be found on the Smoke-Free Illinois website:

    “One 8-hour shift in a smoky workplace is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes.”

    We looked into that claim and found it had no basis. We let St. Louis lawmakers know that they were being lied to by antismoking groups. Now St. Louis lawmakers are wary and much less like to vote for such Draconian restrictions.

  44. john w. says:

    If your lungs felt like mine still do after having them incinerated by opaque cigarette smoke at a local pub on Tuesday night, you might not be so skeptical of the damage done by second-hand smoke. I wonder if anyone looked into the claim of Big Tobacco when they unabashedly stated that they didn’t believe nicotine was addictive…

  45. john w. says:

    …also, didn’t those deemed by Draco to be in violation of Draconian Laws get put to death?

  46. Jim Zavist says:

    Not every business establishment has direct access to outside space, especially in urban areas. Since this blog is focused on urban issues, endorsing a government ban on public indoor smoking essentially equates to an outright prohibition, especially in the mixed-use projects we all seem to like. When you have a bar like Fast Eddy’s or the Royale, who has embraced the opportunity to create an attractive, enclosed patio, such a prohibition will have little impact on their bottom line. When the only alternative becomes down the hall, and especially several floors down, going outside becomes much more problematic.
    I’m old enough to remember when smoking was an accepted part of the office work environment, and I sure don’t miss those days of putting up with my coworkers’ second-hand smoke. I’m also old enough to realize (and endorse the concept) that employees have limited rights – you may really need or want that job, but if you’re making an informed choice to work in an environment that allows smoking, you also have the same choice to find a job somewhere else that prohibits smoking.
    I’m no fan of the smells feedlots and refineries produce, either, and I’m equally reluctant to try and outlaw them or to limit their operations through indirect attacks. I agree, smoking tobacco is stupid, unhealthy and stinks up the joint. Many people say the same thing about marijuana or Indian cuisine. The fundamental issue remains where does one draw the line? When does the government properly protecting the public’s “health safety and welfare” morph into the “tyranny of the majority”? Yes, the majority of Americans are opposed to smoking, but a similar majority is opposed to gay rights!

  47. Jim, the city could require bars and restaurants to take reasonable measures to clear the smoke and limit smoking to over 21 venues.

  48. Dave says:

    Have a friend/spouse walk into a small unventilated room after eating a large amount of beans, and then instruct them to pass gas as many times as possible as fast as possible. Allow them to leave and then immediately enter the small room and close the door. Try to drink a cocktail or eat some food in the same enclosed room. If you’re a smoker, now you have an idea how nasty smoke can be to us non-smokers.

    I understand creating laws that could have harmful impacts on businesses. However, if we could come together as a region and ban smoking I think their would be neglible impact on business. Additionally, it could only benefit the health of the region and I can tell you as a young professional, it WILL have a positive impact on retaining and recruiting new talent to the area.

    I for one would love to walk down the street from my house with my newborn and get some food at my neighborhood bar/restaurant. Unfortunately I never will as long as smoking is allowed b/c I refuse to submit my poor baby to that crap.

    Ban smoking in public places. Allow smoking outside public places.

  49. Tony Palazzolo says:

    This issue is similar to Prohibition. Prohibition took a product that some wanted and some did not. It made it illegal forcing otherwise law abiding citizens to now become criminals. It gave a foot hold to organized crime. Countries with much higher tax rates on tobacco have a problem with illegal trafficking.

    What a ban does is take a legal product and make it illegal to use in a private business that allows it. By banning smoking, you make the guy who gets off work and wants to enjoy a beer and a smoke a law breaker. It makes the owner of a bar make a choice between breaking the law or going out of business. It is prohibition, just in a different flavor.

  50. What kind of dementia has taken hold of a fellow who equates the smoke of a fine cigar with poop?

  51. Webby says:

    ^ Agreed. The smoke is much worse.

  52. Webby says:

    Tony, it’s nothing like Prohibition. The guy who gets off work and wants to enjoy a beer and a smoke can go home and smoke and drink all he wants.

  53. Jim Zavist says:

    . . . and/or the guy who wants to enjoy a beer AND avoid any tobacco smoke can just go home, as well – problem solved!

  54. john w. says:

    …or, simply provide fully partitioned chambers that prevent comingled occupation of the full business license when that separation is required by law for the health and safety of all. The guy who gets off work and wants to enjoy a bear and a smoke can simply go to Billy Bob’s Beer Cabin and choose for himself which fully partitioned section of Billy Bob’s he wants to enter. If he wants to drink a beer, he can choose either chamber. If he wants to drink a beer but not breath poisonous smoke, he can enter the non-smoking chamber. If he wants to drink a beer AND smoke, he can enter the smoking chamber. Once he is in either chamber, he cannot cross over to the other without first exiting the building to the exterior (or interior vestibule) and then entering the other fully separated chamber – problem solved. Liberals are happy. Libertarians and other conservatives are happy. The business owner is making all the same money as before the required separation of chambers, so the owner is happy! No zero sum game played! What a freakin’ concept!

  55. Abe Nonymous says:

    A CDC study from 2004 found that 24.1% of Missourians were smokers (26% of men and 22% of women). The nationwide media is 20%. We were not far behind the leaders, Kentucky (27.6%), West Virginia (26.9%), Oklahoma (26.1%) and Tennessee (26.1%). The numbers for Illinois were the same for men but much lower for women (18%). The state with the lowest percentage was Utah (10%) followed by California (14.8%). If you count the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, they are the leader (9.5%) and Puerto Rico would come in third (12.7%).

    An NCHS report from a few years ago found that physically disabled people age 18-44 are nearly twice as likely to be smokers than non-disabled people of the same age range. (40% vs 22%). However, disabled people were far less likely than non-disabled people to be alcohol drinkers. Just 40% of those with complex activity limitation and 25% of those with basic actions difficulty reported being current drinkers, compared with 65% of those with no disability.

    None of that really has anything to do with banning smoking in St Louis; I just thought the numbers were interesting.

    I personally hate cigarette smoke and become sick when I’m around it. My eyes get puffy and itchy and my throat hurts. I know they say you can’t be allergic to smoke, but there are particles in the cigarette smoke that weaken your body’s defenses against other allergens that may be floating in the air. For what it’s worth, I also get physically irritated when people wear strong perfume or burn scented candles. When I was a kid, I’d have to go play outside if my mom lit up a scented candle in the house because I couldn’t stand to be around it.

    As someone who grew up in a non-smoking home, has never smoked, and whose grandparents died a slow and painful death mostly as a result of decades of smoking, I’d be happy if cigarettes magically disappeared for the rest of eternity.

    However, as an American and a human being, I find the treatment of smokers — which is supposedly a perfectly legal activity — to be questionable. If cigarettes are so bad, don’t go through all of this nonsense about taxing them and making it harder for them to smoke to “encourage” them to quit! If their goal is to stop people from smoking then just make it illegal and be done with it.

    I have no problem with an employer making their property a non-smoking campus, and I think smoking bans at hospitals and schools and in other places where minors are present would be reasonable… but I think those are things that could be done without government involvement.

  56. Chicago passed a smoking ban that let businesses allow smoking if they could make their air cleaner than the air outdoors. I think the Casino Queen met that standard.


  57. GMichaud says:

    I am a nonsmoker, I have been all my life. Yet I have trouble dictating these almost draconian bans on anyone, despite the obvious dangers of smoking and second hand smoke.
    One big problem is that we have forgotten how to find a middle ground. How about restaurants or bars posting whether they are nonsmoking or not. The nonsmoking ones are completely nonsmoking and the smoking ones can have a nonsmoking section or not.
    Bans make me nervous, it is too reminiscent of Nazi Germany. It is the same collective feeling I get from America far too often, this culture seems to titter on the edge of fascism on many issues.
    I also notice there is a huge amount of comments on this issue. Are we so shallow that the more complex and difficult issues are glossed over? I hardly feel like this is a backbreaking concern, maybe starving to death over a lack of food might get peoples attention. Who knows, but at this juncture I feel like it is relatively easy to avoid smokers. It is my choice.
    And if there are any capitalists left out there, I would think the market would weed out smoking establishments if they were no longer in demand. Sort like the horse and buggy if you get the drift.
    Finally there is plenty of trash on the ground. Most of it I see is from fast food restaurants. They should be completely banned and eradicated from the earth. Their food is lousy, sickening, and causes more deaths than smoking and war combined.
    And while you are banning things, could you please ban Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter?

  58. Tony Palazzolo says:

    My god people – I thought urbanites would think long and hard on issues. What happened to critical thinking? Just because an organization prances a paid doctor out there and says second hand smoke is bad (which is what the tobacco industry did) shouldn’t be all you need. I’ve never met an issue with two points of view that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    They say its just common sense that SHS is bad. Yet it takes decades for a smoker to become ill from smoking. The smoker takes full breathes into his lungs. How can someone just being around whiffs of it (even 8 hours a day), would take hundreds of years to get the same dose.

    How about the baby boomers – that generation is living longer than any generation before it. Yet in that generation 60% of them actually smoked. If you didn’t smoke, than you chances were great that you lived with or worked with a smoker. According to the CDC SHS rates were ten times what they are today. People smoked at work, at home, at bars, at restaurants, in the doctors office, on planes, in school, and in court. If you had a baby, the father brought cigars to the hospital. Everybody smoked everywhere and guess what. They are living nice long lives.

    Yet someone tells you that thirty minutes of SHS will harden your arteries. It just doesn’t add up. Just like tobacco companies when they said they didn’t know that nicotine was addictive. If it was as bas as they say, we wouldn’t have a problem with social security.

    They make claims that tobacco smoke is magic – it can’t be filtrated. Even though modern air filtration is used to clean air in industrial settings and even remove airborne viruses. Somehow tobacco smoke is smart enough to avoid it.

    They tell you the debate is over, there is a consensus that shs is bad. There is no “safe dose” (better hope that’s not true, if it is we are all already dead). Yet all the studies done by impartial groups have shown no correlation (WHO, UCLA, CRD etc).

    They tell you there is no economic harm done by bans. Illinois lost $160 million in taxes just from the boats in a time when all bordering states boats were just about at last year (the recession must have hit Illinois before Missouri, Indiana and Iowa).

    Now smoking is bad for you and not a wise choice. Yes smoke can be annoying and quite frankly, I’d rather eat my meal in a smoke-free environment. You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to put up with it. You can choose to avoid it if you wish. Matter of fact you can vote right now if you don’t like. Do it with your dollars.

  59. john w. says:

    “My god people – I thought urbanites would think long and hard on issues. What happened to critical thinking?”
    Have you even bothered to read any of the other comments in this lengthy thread, or just your own? Are all other points of view aside from yours not the product of critical thinking? You keep pushing this argumentative bullshit about how cigarettes are fall less dangerous to human health than we’re all told (presumably by health profession representatives that you distrust because they’re actually promoting an idea that you happen to disagree with), knowing full well that cigarettes are poisonous, and ultimately a burden to our society in terms of both health care costs and environmental issues. If cigarettes continue to be legal, than any ban should be in effect in common areas populated by non-smokers only, and then let those that choose to smoke do so in areas legally designated as permission areas. Permission areas will be required to meet the minimum definition of separation between non-smoking and smoking areas, and it’s as simple as that. I, too, am not comfortable with most sweeping bans of lifestyles, choices, or outward expressions of the natural way someone actually is, because there are still likely more workable and diplomatic means of satisfying the large majority of contenders in disagreement about an issue. Considering the caustic externalities of the act of smoking itself (exhaling smoke into the air that we’re all breathing, made exponentially worse by interior enclosure), I’m left wondering why it’s so difficult for some people to understand why the objection of others to this impactful behavior is as strong as it is. My god man – I thought people who believe their positions to be well-reasoned would think long and hard about issues. What happened to critical thinking?

  60. Tony Palazzolo says:

    John W

    My point is that the health risk of SHS are so over the top. But don’t take my word for it – you should read the blog of Dr Micheal Siegel. He is a tobacco control expert that disagrees with the antitobacco lobby on how research is conducted and the scare they put out.






    Just to name a few

    I completely agree that many don’t like smoke. You, I and everyone in this city has a choice to enter an establishment that allows smoking. The free market is working on this issue. Most restaurants are either non-smoking or limit to bars (which for some isn’t enough). In the past few years many bars have gone non-smoking. Everyone has a choice and they should use it instead of demanding no one has a choice.

    As to critical thinking – most people here buy the health issues without question. Research it and see were the money comes from all the PR, studies and organizations that profit from bans. Everyone here is familiar with politics and how things get done. Hell, you should question any research to see what the true story is if you care about an issue.

  61. Jane says:

    I don’t think anyone mentioned my biggest complaint about smoking is restaurants- I don’t have a problem if I am sat in a non-smoking table that actually is non-smoking. However, if I have to use the restroom, I have to then walk through smoking to get to it. If you can’t provide me with an entirely smoke-free experience, regardless if smoking is permitted or not, I will not return.

  62. Jane, Alderman Gregali’s law would ensure that the nonsmoking sections of St. Louis restaurants are smoke free.

    Local ventilation people say that ventilation can keep the two sections separate. The problem is that many venues are poorly designed. Gregali’s law would help correct that.

  63. Jesda says:

    I used to live in Washington. I came here for family, better universities, and to run from a nanny state. If you don’t like smoke, stop going where people smoke. I don’t smoke, but I’m not enough of an a-hole to force my agenda.

    It doesn’t matter if secondhand smoke is bad for you. The greaseball you’re sitting down to eat or the alcohol you’re consuming are just as hazardous. You have a choice of whether to give your businesses to establishments whose air offends you.

    I’m sick of whiners using government to regulate abortion, smoke, firearms, alcohol, speech, and every other freedom we used to have. If you’re of the outside world and all its big scary dangers, stay home and blog about it.

  64. Jesda says:

    +so afraid of+

  65. Tony Palazzolo says:

    John W

    I certainly have no problem with people wanting to avoid smoke. I however do have a problem with people wanting to leglistlate law based on “I don’t like it”. No one is forced to walk into a bar or restuarant that allow smoking. Let the market deal with the issue. A decade ago, a non-smoking restaurant would have been rare. Now being able to light up in a restuarant is rare. Many have gone completely smoke-free or restrict it to the bar area. There are not as many choices with bars, but they are growing. There is a market for smoking and non-smoking – both should be served.

    As to the health ramifications – all I ask is people think about it. Look into the research and see who funds it. Look at the research that finds no correlation. Look at the professionals who don’t agree with the antitobacco lobby. Look at why all you hear is the antitobacco side of the story.

    This is a good start



  66. jerry maschino says:

    i dont live in the area, but i can say ,in ohio it has hurt many business. including bars bowling alleys, and yes restaurants. i personally wont go out to places because of it. after 20 years of bowling, i quit doing that. and can show many more who did same. theres no reason it cant work for both sides. nonsmokers complain and i dont see where its right to favor them. i respect them, and will not smoke around them or a child. i will walk away. but it has become one sided. my bring problem is we will be taxed, to help the budget, and everyone will put there hands out for that. the buildings, and places many people work or play, was built with cigarette tax. its o.k to tax us for your ease, but lets tax you, and you complain. this was a free country but it has become one sided. as for health cost, i guarantee, a person with diabetes has cost more then me. i have never been to doctor for smoking. and thats no ones fault, but things should be equal.

  67. jerry maschino says:

    one last thing. i have never seen anyone die from my smoke, but i have seen people die from drunk drivers. seems to be a bigger problem to me . but i dont say close the bars and ban alcohol. have a nice day and think of more bigger things then smoking. there are many bigger problems then that in this world.

  68. lavina maschino says:

    i am a nonsmoker, but it does not bother me. my husband smokes and i dont care, it is his choice. i do things he does not like but its my call. besides walk around downtown st. louis, you dont think what you breath there isnt deadly. think about everyones right, not the right of only you.thats whats wrong with this country, its all about me and no one else.

  69. john w. says:

    I’ve stated about 283 times in this very thread that I believe it’s best to ban smoking in common areas that are populated by non-smokers, and provide a legal option for smokers and owners of businesses that wish to accommodate smokers to provide the necessary separations from non-smokers in order to continue smoking. Despite what anyone’s opinions in this thread happen to be, I’m supremely confident that in the end the smokers are going to lose. Smoking will eventually be relegated to outdoor areas away from others, and the smokers will get used to it. The civil trend is inexorably toward smoke-free environments, and not the other way around. When a smoker lights a cigarette, he or she is also lighting it for any others in the immediate vicinity, but I believe I just read someone writing, “think about everyone’s right, not the right of only you. That’s what’s wrong with this country, it’s all about me and no one else”. Indeed.

  70. “When a smoker lights a cigarette, he or she is also lighting it for any others in the immediate vicinity…”

    John W, when you drive thru the Loop you cause sidewalk diners to breathe carcinogens and carbon monoxide, but like smoke in a bar, it’s not enough to cause County government to intervene. The County should not shut down Delmar and it also shouldn’t ban smoking in bars.

    St. Louis businesses such as Herbie’s Vintage 72 are using air filtration reduce tobacco smoke hugely below permissible exposure limits for all the airborne hazards OSHA regulates. If a business that allows smoking can go further and get its air cleaner than the air outdoors, that should be all government asks.

    Of course, the smoking rooms you suggest, like those at the airport, work perfectly.

    There is nothing inevitable about this smoking ban trend. We beat Odenwald’s smoking ban three times. We can beat it again. There is no legitimate reason St. Louis should have a smoking ban like the one in Illinois. And most St. Louisans don’t want one.

  71. People is dumb says:

    john w.,

    Do you live anywhere near civilization or industry? Why don’t we go ahead and partition roadways and businesses while we are at it? As long as you are on a crusade to save the air for every breathing human we might as well put carbon monoxide producing vehicles into their own enclosed roadways. And relocate every coal burning plant to its own remote island. Do you enjor being able to drive? Do you like the energy that flows to your residence? I do not like smelling smoke when I am eating either but I am not willing to pen up people because they smoke. If there is smoking allowed at a restaurant, do not eat there. There are plenty of restaurants out there that do not allow smoking. If you like their food that much, take it to go. Your premises are Orwellian at best.

  72. Jim Zavist says:

    I don’t like smokers, so I avoid them. I don’t like handguns, either. Should they be banned, as well? Both kill, yet both are legal. In either case, neither will be going away anytime soon, and if they’re banned, the criminals will continue to use them . . .

    [slp — guns are regulated because society has determined that although we have the right to bear arms we need some restrictions on their use in public. Same with smoking — keep it legal. Just place some restrictions on their use in general public.]

  73. Tony Palazzolo says:

    SLP – As to hand guns, yes there are laws regulating them, but in the end allowing someone to carry on your property is up to the owner. That’s why we have signs saying “guns not allowed”. If you owned a restaurant, you could ban smoking, but allow guns or vice versa or allow both. As the owner its up to you. As a customer I could choose to avoid that gun toting smokers restaurant.

  74. Adam says:

    “St. Louis businesses such as Herbie’s Vintage 72 are using air filtration reduce tobacco smoke hugely below permissible exposure limits for all the airborne hazards OSHA regulates.”
    if there are no health risks associated with second hand smoke, as some of you have claimed, then why does OSHA regulate exposure limits?

  75. Tony Palazzolo says:

    Adam – OSHA does regulate airborne hazards. In the case of SHS – they have found that levels are within safe limits or as they call them PELS. No one here says they don’t exist, but in such small amounts that they are safe. Your drinking water is looked at the same. Water contains many of the same substances that SHS has, but they are deemed to be at safe levels.

    More to your point on OSHA – they are the one agency that has the power to regulate SHS. They have done the research and concluded that it is not a threat. If it had been, they would have already banned indoor smoking.

  76. john w. says:

    More bad analogies, but from the defenders of smoking that shouldn’t surprise. There is absolutely no conceivable parallel that can be drawn between choosing to smoke cigarettes, and choosing to live in a society where motor vehicles comprise more than 90% of modes of transit. We, as an American society, are frustratingly bound by the near sole mode of transit as a result of shockingly ill-advised ‘renewal’ approaches to land planning (in addition to aggressive moves by the automobile industry to make certain forms of mass transit extinct as quickly as possible), giving way to the hubristic acts that have left much of our habitable scape severely degraded. There is little choice in the matter of exposure to the externalities of automobiles, however I may wish there were, but there is plenty of choice when it comes to the matter of ‘to smoke or not to smoke’. It’s just kindergarten stupid that you would even attempt to make such a laughable comparison. I’m on no such crusade to ban smoking, as even a cursory reading of my numerous posts in this thread (OK, not 283, but you should get the point) would have informed you. I’m probably one of very few individuals in this thread who is proposing a truly diplomatic solution to the nuisance of poisonous cigarette smoke in public access areas, but I just keep reading more delusional remarks about how cigarette smoking is less dangerous than is purported by health professionals. I read the smoking defense comments in this thread, and it’s rather like watching Big Tobacco testify before Congress all over again. Divert from the troublesome main point about all that is bad about cigarette smoking, by throwing out factoids intended to somehow persuade those that the profoundly stupid personal choice to turn the only two lungs one is born with into something resembling a heavily used grille brick, is not that big of a deal. Considering that it’s those who continue to defend smoking in public places by way of this tactic are those that themselves have made that profoundly stupid personal choice to smoke, it’s honestly difficult to even take your word seriously. The only constant in all of this discussion is that smoking is stupid, so why expend so much energy trying to defend what nearly everyone, if not everyone, agrees is stupid?

  77. Tony Palazzolo says:

    John W

    Nobody here defends smoking as a smart act. Its a choice people make which is among many bad choices about health. This issue is not about people who smoke. It is about the rights of a business owner to allow or disallow a legal product to be used in their business. Its about the choice of people to choose to enter or not. Its also about the inflated hype that SHS is deadly. You should make your own decision, but if you use just antitobacco liteature your opinion would be as one sided if you used only tobacco industry research.

    The links that I gave are not tobacco industry funded in anyway. That is why I gave you those. Those are health professionals that are swayed by logic and reason.

  78. Adam, enough smoke from any indoor source could be a risk. But the most smoke a full time bartender breathes in a smoky bar equals 1 cigarette worth of tobacco specific particles per week. Most breathe far less. I am sceptical that such a small amount of smoke seriously injures anyone.

  79. lavina maschino says:

    if its my business, it should be my chose to allow smoking or not. Not the goverments or anyone else. I pay the taxes not anyone else. FYI, it is illegal to have a smokers restaurant, which has been applied for. they say it discriminates, and cant be done. I say, its my business and it should be allowed.

  80. matt says:

    St. Louis desperately needs to be smoke free. Its amazing how unhealthy people are in this region, and how many people smoke. Its like we are stuck in 1960 in St. Louis. So many sick people here.

  81. matt says:

    as sick as this sounds, maybe if we could stack up everyone with holes in their neck who die everyday at barnes jewish like cordwood and take a picture, we would pass a smoking ban.

  82. matt says:

    all of these “smoker rights” people are people in their 50s who don’t have much time left anyway, so i suppose that the vast majority of us who are in our 20s and 30s who AREN’T ADDICTED to nicotine need only wait a bit longer.

  83. Missy says:

    Ban smoking in public places.

    If smokers want to indulge their vices and habits, they have the same freedoms I do to exercise my inclinations towards dangerous or objectionable inclinations: do it at home.

    Public areas are subject to reasonable restrictions on behavior (you don’t see anyone runnin’ around naked when it’s hot, do you?? And THAT doesn’t even *hurt* anyone!)

    Curtainling intentional air pollution seems very reasonable. Smoke on your own time in your own house — where you affect fewer people. Kill yourself and your own family, not us in other words.

    Maybe bans will also reduce the number of smokers in the next generation, too. I can hope.


  84. Josh L says:

    Some people on this thread have suggested partitioning of restaurants; this has been tried in some cities and doesn’t really work. It means that some business owners will make big investments to try to comply with that and ultimately there will be a ban anyway, even in Missouri. Restricting smoking to the “bar area” has no effect and doesn’t do anybody any favors. Give me a break! Smokers should indulge their habit in the open air if they must and dispose of their cancer sticks responsibly.

  85. jerry maschino says:

    It makes me laugh when people say things about smokers and their habit. but I think the fat a__ people, slops who stink cant change their clothes, let their kids( not their fault) run around dirty, stinky should be banned. I should not have to sit in a restaurant or stand in line behind that. but i do, and go on about my day. And you can bet that 300lb. person has and cost more money health wise and assistants(you know) wise then I ever will.

  86. Josh L, A study by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that restaurant ventilation/filtration systems can make the air of the nonsmoking section of a smoking restaurant as clean as the air of smoke-free restaurant.

  87. jerry maschino says:

    this matt dude must be young and not up on things. majority of smokers are younger, havenot seen to many holes in necks, and you will have as many sick people as you do now. I would never comment on your wrong doing, or habits, and would never wish or hope bad things for others. this should be handled in fairness to all, smokers or not. you would not want a complete ban on what you do no matter what it is(as long as its legal) so consider reasonable solutions before you act or speak. some day it could effect you and you will want our help, which i would do if it was not fair or right.

  88. Jim Zavist says:

    It sounds like we’re divided into three or four camps, each claiming the exclusive right to decide – smokers, non-smokers, business owners and, maybe, employees. The odds of reaching consensus are slim, since agreeing with another viewpoint invalidates one’s own. I think we all agree that smoking is not the wisest choice, healthwise. The argument then becomes what role, precisely, should government play in the regulation of private businesses / public accommodations / employee work places – most examples being debated meet two, if not all three, of these definitions (although there are examples in other parts of the country where regulating private residences and/or vehicles and/or outdoor spaces have been tried/are being explored).
    The argument is at the core of the urban experience. Do we default to the “safest” / least intrusive answer? Do we default to majority rule (even if it results in the tyrany of the majority)? Or do we default to private property rights trumping political correctness? Can/should we legislate against offensive people? Which science do we believe? When does the exercise of my rights start to infringe on yours?
    In rural areas, space and low density many times give residents the luxury of getting away from people or situations they don’t agree with or find offensive. In urban areas, higher densities create more opportunities for friction – life can and does get messy. The challenge then becomes one of finding balance. I don’t claim to have the answer. I do fear excessive regulation, since government rarely, if ever, gets smaller or reduces its powers over the individual citizen. I also detest “feel-good” laws, laws that are passed and rarely enforced, since rarely-enforced usually equals selective enforcement. Bottom line, and given the spirited debate, limiting smoking is obviously a complex issue.

  89. Abe Nonymous says:

    A recent study into the lifetime health care costs of smokers vs non-smokers found that smokers actually have a lower total cost — because they die so much earlier. Someone who lives into old age will spend more on health care over their lifetime.

  90. Tony Palazzolo says:

    “A recent study into the lifetime health care costs of smokers vs non-smokers found that smokers actually have a lower total cost — because they die so much earlier. Someone who lives into old age will spend more on health care over their lifetime.”

    I read a study many years ago that came to the same conclusion. I don’t remember were I read it. What I will say is that when they come out with these “what smoking cost” studies they do it in a vacuum. Their numbers are only right it you assume that no one will become sick from anything else. Its not a true measure of cost.

  91. My Two Cents says:

    Every time you light up a cigarette in a restaurant/bar, you are adding carcinogens into the air that is breathed by everyone in that location. So not only are you giving yourself cancer, you are also hurting those around you. While obesity is definitely another issue that is hurting America, it is not fair to compare smoking and obesity. You can sit next to an obese person all day while he/she shoves his/her face full of burgers and it will have no affect on you at all.

    Personally, I am a relatively fit twenty something who doesn’t smoke and eats relatively well. I think the trend is going this way as people are eating better and less people are smoking every day. None of my friends smoke and the few people that I know that did smoke did it in college for awhile but have realized the stupidity of their decision and quit. Hopefully as the smokers die out, smoking will become much less prevelant. I don’t think it’ll ever go away though. I really hope that smokers who smoke in front of children realize the shitty example they are providing for these kids.

    Anyways, just my thoughts. Smoking is STUPID!!!

  92. John M says:

    Some of this self righteous talk spewed into my air is making me sick, but then again I chose to visit this site. I am a smoker and I have already retreated outside to my shame thrust upon me. I am stupid in your eyes, but you cannot accuse me of rude and will not have the burden of the worlds woes upon my shoulders, us damn smokers.
    When, and yes I agree it is enevitable, that the ban takes place, it will not alter my way of things, as I do not smoke inside; aside from the occasional casino visit, so nothing lost there since I am double loser to some of you judgemental, albeit, articulate responders.
    I have (except casinos) and will freely give up my right to smoke inside a public place. I also agree that I will field strip every cigarette smoked outside. I also agree that I will not throw butts out the window of a moving car. You would agree to end the legislation at that. Leave my home, the outdoors and the car alone. In addition, I will not accept “third hand smoke” or anything my doppleganger has done to be a legitimate argument for future exceptions to the conditions I have already met under this second hand smoke agreement. So you can have your bars, restaurants, stadiums and any public “indoor” venue you wish, I keep my rights to depart my life early,as far away as possible from you angelic subscibers to the righteous path in the most enjoyable way I know how.
    Now lets go see some S.O.B. lawyer and write this up so you all will quit bitching about it and I can smoke in peace without feeling responsible for the rest of the screw ups.

  93. Tony Palazzolo says:

    Well said John

    I will disagree with you on one point 🙂

    First point of disagreement – A ban in St Louis or Missouri is not a sure thing. Actually bans are starting to trend back. Illinois, Colorado and Ohio have leglistlation in the works that pretty much kills thier bans. Other bans the have passed recently such as in Pennsylvania make it easy to have an exemptions. Wyoming had proposed a total ban, but since has routed it out and that might not even make it. Many small cities have outright denied any ban at all. Historical smoking bans have come and gone. I think we are past the high mark for this go around of bans. Not that they are stopping, but they are having much more difficulty getting bans passed now.

  94. john w. says:

    c’mon… seven more comments (six, after this one) and we’ll hit the century mark!

  95. It is interesting that two of the biggest pushers of smoking bans in St. Louis are reformed 3 pack a day smokers.


    [slp — I personally have never taken so much as a single puff.]

  96. That’s 60 cigarettes day. But these two are now devoted to saving bartenders from a possible cigarette worth of smoke a week.

  97. john says:

    Smokers are like the lazy, selfish car-SUV-pickup drivers, they have more rights than others… by design. The main difference is that one bad habit is heavily taxed, the other is heavily subsidized by government. I suppose that’s why motorized vehicles always come with ashtrays.

  98. john w. says:

    They don’t need ashtrays if one can simply roll down the window and toss.

  99. Will the smoke-free crowd pledge never to support a law such as the one in Kansas City which bans smoking in mom and pop businesses, even cigar shops, yet exempts casinos?

  100. COMMENT #100 says:

    Smoking is still dumb!!

  101. Bob Koogler says:

    My lovely wife and I are non-smokers. We simply cannot tolerate tobacco smoke. Our solution? We ONLY dine at non-smoking restaurants. There are so many now that it’s easy to find all types of food and price range. There are also bars (The Royale, and one on Morganford) that are smoke-free. PRobably more, but we typically drink at a restaurnt prior to dinner.

    Absent a law banning smoking in all public places, which I would not support, can we find some middle ground on this issue that is suitable to all? For instance:

    Smoking will be allowed in bars that derive 50%+ of their business from alcohol. If you ring 50%+ in food, smoke-free environment. Or how about, no smoking from 6AM to 10PM? Or, no smoking Sunday – Thursday?

    I read Bill Hannegan’s comments about air filtration all of the time and, while well intentioned, they are mis-stated. We have been to Herbie’s (his frequent example) and had to leave due to the tobacco smoke. They spent a lot of money on something that does not work, but it’s their business. They just don’t get our business.

  102. matt says:

    i realize that a smoking ban will hurt the city. and i’m a deep south city resident, and i understand where everyone is coming from. i could die from liver cancer, as much as i drink in my beloved south side corner bars. i just can’t stand smoke, and i have seen much…much more carnage from smoking than from straight drinking (other than awful car accidents). what else can i believe than what i have seen?

  103. matt says:

    maybe i’m just a hypocrite and i should make my very american choice to move away to south denver. the problem is that i love st. louis.

  104. matt says:

    “this matt dude must be young and not up on things. majority of smokers are younger, havenot seen to many holes in necks, and you will have as many sick people as you do now. I would never comment on your wrong doing, or habits, and would never wish or hope bad things for others. this should be handled in fairness to all, smokers or not. you would not want a complete ban on what you do no matter what it is(as long as its legal) so consider reasonable solutions before you act or speak. some day it could effect you and you will want our help, which i would do if it was not fair or right.”

    i am actually in agreement with much of what you say. its just like the mo legislator who wouldn’t agree to a seat belt law until their relatives were in an accident and survived-most likely due to wearing their seatbelt. its this argument and discussion that needs to happen, and after many upset people and hurt feelings, we agree on what is really right. thats what i think america is.

  105. Jason says:

    Bob – you’re forgetting one thing: the rights of employees to breathe clean air while they work. While your wanting of a “conditional law” is well-intentioned, it will not protect the rights of all workers. Some will still be forced to choose a paycheck vs. their health. That IS what the movement is all about.

  106. Jimmy Z says:

    Jason, unlike many industries, the hospitality (bar & restaurant) industry is one of many similar choices when it comes to employment – most jobs are minimum-wage/tip-enhanced and there’s a significant amount of turnover. The employees (unlike the owner and/or managers) rarely have multiple years of seniority at the establishment, so any smoking situation is one they choose/chose to accept. If you want to be around smokers you have that option; if you want to work in a non-smoking environment, you also have that option – choose wisely, and don’t complain about after the fact! As an employee, you have a right to the wages you earn and to work in a workplace that meets all applicable laws and regulations, but not much else. You don’t get pick the hours you work, the people you work with or the color of your uniform. You don’t get paid to mess with your boss’ concept, decor or recipes. And if serving smokers, homosexuals, bikers or hoosiers makes the boss money, guess what, your job is to serve the customers who show up!
    The other half of the equation is that a significant number of people do go to bars specifically to drink AND smoke. The customers have the same choices as the employees, and until tobacco is outlawed, I simply can’t support a government-mandated blanket ban. As a non-smoker, I’d really like to see the St. Louis Sports Zone go smoke free so I can enjoy their trashed wings whenever I want. Now, I either have to wait for days without a lot of sports or wait for the summer, where I can escape to their patio. Is that “fair”? Yes and no, but I also realize that the world isn’t all about me. Is it fair that the servers have to work in a smoky haze and/or to hustle their butts off to make good tips? I dunno – you’d have to ask them, and when you do, see which one is a bigger burden, or do they just want happy customers who tip appropriately?!

  107. Bob Koogler, your experience at Herbies is a mystery to me.
    The machines are extremely effective at ridding bar air of smoke. HEPA filters by law must remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (µm) in diameter. Particles of this size are the most difficult to filter and are thus considered the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Particles that are larger or smaller are filtered with even higher efficiency. And the HEPA filtration is just one phase of the process. There is no particle, chemical or gas that MBC machines do remove from bar air.

    I would like to have the machines tested to prove their effectiveness by the firm that tested the Lambert smoking lounges. But a lot of money is involved in doing the tests right.

  108. Tony Palazzolo says:

    “Bob – you’re forgetting one thing: the rights of employees to breathe clean air while they work. While your wanting of a “conditional law” is well-intentioned, it will not protect the rights of all workers. Some will still be forced to choose a paycheck vs. their health. That IS what the movement is all about.”


    Your press conference when you unveiled your opinion poll was telling. The testimonial from the girl that worked in a smoky environment I thought pegged it exactly as it should be.

    She was a smoker for ten years and quit. She worked in a smoking environment and decided that she thought it was bad for her health. The solution to her problem – she found another job. I was absolutely stunned that Smoke-Free St Louis actually gave the solution to the made-up problem.

    With all the problems in the world, I can’t understand why so much money is being thrown at such a non-issue.

  109. Thomas says:

    To the people that say “If you don’t like smoking, then don’t go to such and such establishment!” I agree, to an extent. But at the same time, that’s like saying “If you don’t like drunk driving, then don’t drive on the roads!” Smoking is destructive, and it hurts not only you, but those around you. The moment something you do causes harm to another individual, your personal rights go out the window – otherwise violent crimes would be legal because of our ‘rights’. The air is ‘common area’ for us. If a smoker wants to pollute his or her body in the privacy of their own home, then they have that right – but they should not have the right to pollute our common environment (which includes not only the smoke, but the disgusting amount of people that think the Earth is a giant ash tray for their cigarette butts). I think all restaurants should be smoke free environments, because those are family related establishments. On the other hand, people should be allowed to smoke at bars because these are typically adult establishments, and an adult can make the choice when going to a bar to decide whether or not they want to be around that smoke. Besides, if a person is going to a bar to drink (which generally isn’t good for our health either, especially when consumed in the quantities the average bar-goer consumes it in), then they shouldn’t mind being around smoke anyways – but that’s just my opinion. St. Louis is still in the dark ages on so many levels of progress when compared to other American cities. It’s sad how far this great city is behind the curve on almost every possible front.

  110. Tim says:

    I live in Columbia, MO and there is a smoking ban that I really don’t mind. I’m not a zealot on either side of the issue. My question is, do you drive a car? I don’t appreciate cycling around and having to breathe in the cancerous fumes from automobiles. Until the anti-smoking legions stop driving fossil fuel burning vehicles, I won’t take them seriously. To take a near fundamentalist moral high horse on the issue of smoking in public places and then drive around in a car spewing toxic fumes seems silly to me. And don’t give me a lecture about practicality. Unless you are physically disabled you can get around most places without a car…even in St. Louis.

  111. Dustin Bopp says:

    ^As a matter of fact, Steve (for one) is disabled — at least physically (we’re still trying to assess his mental state ;>).

    [slp — yes, I’m am physically disabled and was car-free prior to becoming so. My bike sits waiting to be ridden again.]


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