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Readers Split on Banning vs. Allowing Outside Smoking

December 4, 2019 Featured, Smoke Free Comments Off on Readers Split on Banning vs. Allowing Outside Smoking

As a kid in the 70s smoking was everywhere. My parents smoked in our home (though not much) and in the car, patrons smoked in restaurants where we ate, and on television people smoked. It just was.

My wake up alarm each morning was my dad’s cough. Born in 1929 & 1931, my parents were part of the Silent Generation (births 1928-1945). This generation was big time smokers.

My mom’s older brother (Greatest Generation) died of lung cancer at age 62. A decade later one of my dad’s younger brothers also died of lung cancer, at 57.

Smoking was just ubiquitous, it was unescapable. Thankfully that has changed, and smoking rates have dropped accordingly.

From two weeks ago:

Cigarette smoking dropped to an all-time low among American adults in 2018, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report released Thursday. According to the report, 13.7% of U.S. adults smoked a cigarette in 2018.

Since the first Surgeon General’s report warned of the health implications of smoking over 50 years ago, cigarette smoking has declined by approximately two-thirds. (CBS News)

My dad was able to quit about 25 years before he died, my mom tried and failed at quitting many times before she died. Neither knew the health risks when they started, but both learned how addictive nicotine is.

No smoking sign on the Washington University Medical School/BJC campus.

I’m sympathetic to smokers, but I can’t tolerate the smoke — especially now that I have kidney cancer. Just stay inside and avoid smokers, right?  Except that I have to take a bus & train to get to treatment.

Occasionally at my local bus stop someone will light up, but they’re usually considerate enough to step away from the rest of us — in a direction so their smoke won’t blow on us. At the Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center the walkways are narrow. Since reopening this location and all Metro properties have been designated smoke-free. People are still adjusting, but more often I see people walk over to 14th Street sidewalk to smoke. Again, this is courteous. As a wheelchair user I’ve got to be at a specific spot so the bus driver knows I want to get on that bus. I must be there — I have no choice.

No smoking sign at the Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center.

Too often groups of riders get off a bus and light up on their way to light rail, ignoring the signs indicating the entire facility is designated smoke-free. Again, the walkways are narrow and others of us are waiting for our bus to arrive. We’re assaulted by a parade of smokers.

The other day I was on the Central West End MetroLink (light rail) platform after visiting my Oncologist and noticed two people smoking as I got to my spot to board the train. A guard was nearby, she quickly talked to them — they left. Our light rail platforms have been smoke-free for decades — but people still think since it’s outside it’s ok.

Once on the train an older guy across the aisle had an unlit cigarette in his mouth. Every minute or two he raised his hands to his mouth like he was going to light it. Highly addicted!

I’m so glad entire campuses are smoke-free. It makes visiting them a joy — not having to push through a crowd of smokers at entrances. Smoking rates in Missouri are still slightly higher than the national average. Yes, tobacco is a legal product. So’s alcohol. Recreational weed will be legal in Illinois in less than a month — but not in public.  People have a right to smoke, but that right doesn’t permit them to force me to inhale their smoke.

For decades the tobacco industry targeted low-income, LGBT, and racial minorities.  These are the groups where smoking is still more common. Industries like construction and food service have higher rates than others. It’s harder for someone surrounded by smokers to quit.

Most parking garages are open to the outdoors, including the 9th Street Garage. Also posted as a no smoking area.

Outside isn’t always big open space, often you get lots of people in a confined space: bus shelter, train platform, building entrance, etc. Nonsmokers have a right to be in these places without having to endure the smoke of others.

It’s not 1960 anymore, smoking isn’t ubiquitous.

Still readers are split on the subject in the recent Sunday Poll — a slight majority favor outside bans:

Q: Agree or disagree: Smoking should be allowed anywhere outside.

  • Strongly agree: 7 [18.42%]
  • Agree: 6 [15.79%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [10.53%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 5 [13.16%]
  • Disagree: 5 [13.16%]
  • Strongly disagree: 10 [26.32%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [2.63%]

Local universities do a much better job enforcing smoke-free policies on large campuses than Metro does on relatively small properties. Metro announces their no eating/drinking policy on MetroLink platforms — I’ve yet to hear a similar announcement about not smoking on Metro’s property.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Smoking Be Allowed or Banned Outside?

December 1, 2019 Featured, Smoke Free Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Smoking Be Allowed or Banned Outside?
Please vote below

We’ve had an indoor smoking ban for a number of years now. For the most part everyone has adjusted.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time visiting Siteman Cancer Center, part of the Washington University School of Medicine. Their campuses have been smoke-free since July 2010.

The university strictly prohibits all smoking and other uses of tobacco products within all university buildings and on university property, at all times.

This policy applies to all, including students, faculty, staff, patients, contractors and visitors.

For the purpose of this policy, “tobacco” is defined to include, but not limited to, any lit cigarette, cigar, pipe, bidi, clove cigarette, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), personal vaporizer and any other smoking product; and smokeless or spit tobacco, also known as dip, chew, snuff or snus in any form. (Washington University)

Other area universities also have smoke-free campuses.

Today’s poll question applies to campuses but also areas like restaurant patios, transit centers, public parks, etc — outdoor areas either public or privately owned. Good policy or overkill?

This poll will close tonight at 8pm. My thoughts and results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)

March 30, 2018 Bicycling, Featured, Smoke Free, Transportation Comments Off on St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)
Martin Pion’s Facebook profile pic

This week St. Louis lost a great advocate, visitation was last night.

Martin Pion, 81, passed away on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at his home.
Dear husband of Joyce Pion; dear father of Jerome (Sarah) Pion; Loving grandfather of David and Katie Pion; beloved uncle of Nicola (Kim) Teoh, Stephan (Jenny) Williams and Karen (Stacey) Williams dear great uncle to James and Andrew.
Martin and his family came from England in 1977. He loved the environment, bicycling and was a founding member and president of GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution).
Memorial visitation will be Thursday, March 29, 4-7pm at HUTCHENS Mortuary, 675 Graham Rd, Florissant.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to charity of choice. (Hutchins)

Martin and I shared many interests including bicycling and smoke-free environments. Though we didn’t always agree, our disagreements were some of our best conversations. More often, we did agree — because of our shared beliefs we both supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary.

I first met Marin in the late 90s when I took his Road 1 bicycling course — he was the only instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists teaching in the region. Later, while we were both serving as board members of the now-defunct St. Louis Bicycle Federation, he got me and other board members to also become certified instructors.

Martin in Ferguson, 2012

Even after my 2008 stroke he pushed me to not give up on cycling. I went to their home in Ferguson where he filmed me riding one of his English trikes.

Martin helped get me on the trike then used my iPhone to record the video. Afterwards, to get me off the trike, he had to tip me over onto a bed of ivy them help me up. We determined it would take a trike made from a bike with a very low cross bar to work for me.

We also spent many hours discussing technology and blogging. I got him to move from a static website to a WordPress blog — see ThinkBicycling!

Martin invested in cameras and posted numerous videos to YouTube and Vimeo. Martin was a huge advocate of bicycling within traffic, not being pushed off into inadequate bike lanes. Both videos below feature mutual friend Karen Karabell.

And a look at the protected bike lane on Chestnut.

It’s so great to hear Martin’s soft voice. Here’s how he described himself on Vimeo:

Scientist, majoring in Physics & Math., with environmental interests and sustainability, including promoting smoke-free air and proficient on-road bicycle transportation.

You’ll be missed friend.

— Steve Patterson

 

Legal Challenge To City’s Smoking Ban Denied

The Trophy Room, 5099 Arsenal.
The Trophy Room, 5099 Arsenal.

In late December news broke involving the city’s smoking ban, specifically the expiration of the 5-year exemption for some small bars:

Confronted with a lawsuit from Herb Krischke and his south-city bar the Trophy Room, a judge has halted enforcement of St. Louis’ smoking ban — which was set to go into law much more widely as of midnight on January 1.

The last-minute reprieve was first reported just minutes ago by the St. Louis Business Journal, which says that Judge David Dowd has issued a temporary restraining order, stopping the city from enforcing the ban on the Trophy Room until he can hear the case on January 11. (RFT)

The TRO was only applicable to the Trophy Room. My post on January 11th, Lottery Machine Does Not A Casino Make, argued why Dowd would likely rule against the bar. I never heard the results of the hearing, so I went to Missouri Courts online to see what I could find.  Turns out Judge Dowd ruled on the request for a preliminary injunction on January 15th!

What’s a preliminary injunction?

Definition
A temporary injunction that may be granted before or during trial, with the goal of preserving the status quo before final judgment.

Overview
To get a preliminary injunction, a party must show that they will suffer irreparable harm unless the injunction is issued. Preliminary injunctions may only be issued after a hearing. When determining whether to grant preliminary injunctions, judges consider the extent of the irreparable harm, each party’s likelihood of prevailing at trial, and any other public or private interests implicated by the injunction. Parties may appeal judge’s decisions on whether to award a preliminary injunction.

The petitioner is Trophy Room owner Herbert Krischke, the respondent is the City of St. Louis, the docket entry was one big paragraph but I’ve broken it up.

Introduction of the claim:

ORDER THE COURT HAS BEFORE IT PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION. FOLLOWING CONSIDERATION OF THE PLEADINGS, ARGUMENT, AND EVIDENCE PRESENTED, THE COURT NOW RULES AS FOLLOWS. PETITIONERS FILED THEIR VERIFIED PETITION SEEKING INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AND A JUDGMENT DECLARING THAT THE TROPHY ROOM IS EXEMPT FROM CITY OF ST. LOUIS ORDINANCE 68481 AS A “CASINO GAMING AREA” AS DEFINED BY THE ORDINANCE. IN THE ALTERNATIVE, PETITIONERS SEEK A JUDGMENT DECLARING THAT ORDINANCE 68481 IS INVALID BECAUSE IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNDER ARTICLE III, S40(30) OF THE MISSOURI CONSTITUTION. PETITIONERS REQUEST THAT THE COURT ISSUE A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION PREVENTING RESPONDENT FROM ENFORCING SECTIONS FOUR AND FIVE OF CITY OF ST. LOUIS ORDINANCE 68481 AGAINST PETITIONERS. RESPONDENT’S OBJECTION TO PETITIONERS’ EXHIBIT 2, A CERTIFIED COPY OF CHAPTER 11.31 OF THE REVISED CODE OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS, WAS TAKEN UNDER SUBMISSION AT THE HEARING. RESPONDENT’S HEARSAY OBJECTION HAS NO MERIT. RESPONDENT’S OBJECTION THAT THE DOCUMENT IS INACCURATE AND INCOMPLETE DOES NOT GO TO ITS ADMISSIBILITY BUT RATHER ITS WEIGHT. THE COURT HEREBY OVERRULES RESPONDENT’S OBJECTION.

What the court must weigh in its decision:

A COURT, IN WEIGHING A MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, SHOULD WEIGH THE PETITIONERS’ PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS ON THE MERITS, THE THREAT OF IRREPARABLE HARM ABSENT THE INJUNCTION, THE BALANCE BETWEEN SUCH HARM AND THE INJURY INFLICTED BY THE INJUNCTION ON OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES, AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST. STATE EX REL. DIRECTOR OF REVENUE V. GABBERT, 925 S.W. 2d 838, 839 (MO. BAC 1996). TRIAL COURTS ARE ALLOWED BROAD DISCRETION AS TO PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. FURNITURE MFG. CORP. V. JOSEPH, 900 S.W. 2d 642, 647 (MO. APP. W.D. 1995).

And the decision:

THE COURT FINDS THAT PETITIONERS HAVE NOT SHOWN SUFFICIENT PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS ON THE MERITS TO JUSTIFY THE GRANT OF A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION. THE COURT DOES NOT FIND IT IS PROBABLE THAT PETITIONERS’ RETAIL LICENSE TO SELL MISSOURI LOTTERY PRODUCTS RENDERS THE SUBJECT PROPERTY A “CASINO GAMING AREA” AS DEFINED BY ORDINANCE 68481. IN ADDITION, PETITIONER HAS NOT SHOWN PROBABLE SUCCESS ON ITS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE OF ORDINANCE 68481. SEE CITY OF ST. PETERS V. ROEDER, 466 S.W. 3d 538,547 (MO. BANC 2015); LABRAYERE V. BOHR FARMS, 458 S.W. 3d 319, 334 (MO. BANC 2015); GENERAL MOTORS CORP. V. DIRECTOR OF REVENUE, 981 S.W. 2d 561, 568 (MO. BANC 1998). FINALLY, THE COURT HAS EXAMINED ORDINANCE 68481 AND FINDS THAT PETITIONERS’ ARGUMENT THAT THE ORDINANCE IS VOID FOR VAGUENESS IS NOT LIKELY TO SUCCEED. IN ADDITION, THE OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED BY THIS COURT DO NOT SUPPORT THE GRANT OF A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION. PETITIONERS HAVE NOT SHOWN SUFFICIENT THREAT OF IRREPARABLE INJURY ABSENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE HARM TO PETITIONERS AND INJURY TO OTHERS DOES NOT WEIGH IN FAVOR OF GRANTING A PRELIMINARY INJUCTION. FINALLY, THE PUBLIC INTEREST WOULD NOT BE FURTHERED BY GRANTING A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN THIS MATTER. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED THAT PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IS HEREBY DENIED. SO ORDERED: 32929-JUDGE DAVID L. DOWD

The actual case is still pending, this was just a motion for a preliminary injunction. I don’t see any record of Krischke filing an appeal — my understanding is the city can now enforce the smoke-free ordinance at the Trophy Room. Smoking ban exemption everywhere else ended January 2nd. Nick Pistor of the Post-Dispatch posted about this on January 15th — I didn’t see it until researching for this post:

The Trophy Room argued that it operates Missouri Lottery’s Keno game, which makes it a gaming area.  

“The court does not find it is probable that petitioners’ retail license to sell Missouri Lottery products renders the subject property a ‘casino gaming area,'” Dowd wrote. 

It remains unclear how vigorously the city will enforce the ordinance. Bars can be fined $500 a day for violating it, but so far no citations have been written.  (Post-Dispatch)

— Steve Patterson

 

Lottery Machine Does Not A Casino Make

Late last month a bar owner filed suit to stop enforcement of the smoking ban following the expiration of a previous exemption, which expired on January 2nd. Judge Dowd grated a temporary restraining order (TRO) until a hearing could be conducted — that hearing is scheduled for 10am today.

The exemptions are expiring for bars that make 25 percent or less of their income from food, are no larger than 2,000 square feet and do not allow anyone under 21 inside. But exemptions exist indefinitely for casino gaming areas, private clubs with no employees and tobacco retail stores. Bar owners who participate in Missouri Lottery’s keno program claim they can be considered a casino gaming area. The game requires the bars to be licensed as such. (Post-Dispatch)

So the argument is because they have a Club Keno game from the Missouri Lottery they should be exempt — just like a casino. Judge Dowd will, no doubt, look at St. Louis ordinance and Missouri law. Let’s take a look ourselves.

The Trophy Room, 5099 Arsenal. Click image to view location in Google Maps
The Trophy Room, 5099 Arsenal. Click image to view location in Google Maps

St. Louis’ Smoke Free Air Act, passed in 2009, can be found here. In the definitions we see:

3. “Casino gaming area” means the area of a state-licensed gambling facility where gaming is allowed for those 21 years of age or older, including any VIP lounge, accessible only through the game floor, whether or not gaming is allowed in the VIP lounge.

Casino gaming area, not lottery area.

Section 7 of the Smoke Free Act is where “smoking is not regulated”, in the list is:

6. Casino gaming areas as defined by this Ordinance.

The ordinance uses the word “casino”, not lottery. Missouri law for the lottery is under different sections than for casinos, the Gaming Commission is totally separate from the Lottery Commission.

As you may know, the number of casino licenses in Missouri is limited to 13, from December 2010:

The Missouri Gaming Commission gave the green light to Creve Coeur-based Isle of Capri Corp. to build the state’s 13th casino just north of downtown Cape. After hearing passionate pitches for months, the commission made its decision quickly, quietly and unanimously. (Post-Dispatch)

The City of St. Louis went from two to one licensed casino when the casino on The President Casino on the Admiral closed.

Judge Dowd will, presumably, consider the legislative intent behind the Smoke Free Act — to exempt the two, now one, casino.

— Steve Patterson

 

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