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Warning Smoking Allowed Here (Updated)

January 10, 2011 Smoke Free 127 Comments

I view compliance with the sign requirements of the new smoke-free ordinance as a sign the business owner is aware of the change that began on Sunday 1/2/2011. The last thing I want is to argue with a proprietor about the law, I want them to know the law so that if a fellow customer lights up inside the owner knows they need to ask them to take it outside or face fines.  Entering an establishment lacking the required n0-smoking sign or exemption warning gives me pause, especially if that business had allowed smoking prior to 1/2/2011.

Saturday I thought I’d check out the compliance of a few places that had allowed smoking, I decided to start with establishments owned by two aldermen.

Cat's Meow
ABOVE: The Cat's Meow owned by the wife & daughter of 9th ward alderman Ken Ortmann's

The Cat’s Meow at 2600 S. 11th in Soulard.   With only 1,173sf on the ground floor of the building there is no question that it falls under the 2,000sf necessary to claim an exemption.

ABOVE: Required warning sign over the door at the Cat's Meow

Above the entry is the required sign: “WARNING SMOKING ALLOWED HERE.”  The Cat’s Meow website makes no mention of food, clearly it is a bar.  A sign at the bottom of the door indicates patrons must be at least 21 to enter. It appears the Ortmann family is in compliance.  The Cat’s Meow, however, will need to go smoke-free by January 2, 2016.

Next, to Milo’s on the Hill owned by 10th ward alderman Joe Vollmer.

img_2488Milo’s is located at 5201 Wilson. No point beating around the bush, Ald. Vollmer is in violation of the new smoke-free ordinance.

img_2489The warning sign is posted to the left of the entry door, but no way does Milo’s meet the criteria for an exemption.  What criteria you ask?

Bars in existence on the effective date of this ordinance in which only persons aged twenty one (21) years old or older are permitted to enter the premises, the square footage of the entire floor area of the level of the building on which the bar establishment is located is two thousand (2000) square feet or less. The square footage shall not include kitchen areas, storage areas and bathrooms. The bar shall prominently displays outside of the premises at each entrance and above the bar the following sign in lettering that is black bold Arial font at (ninety-eight) 98 point size: “WARNING : SMOKING ALLOWED HERE”. This exemption for bars shall expire five (5) years after the effective date of this ordinance.

A bar is defined by the ordinance as:

“Bar” means an establishment that is devoted to the serving of alcoholic beverages for consumption by guests on the premises and in which the serving of food is only incidental to the consumption of those beverages, including but not limited to, taverns, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and cabarets.

But in the case of Milo’s:

  1. Persons under 21 are permitted inside
  2. The ground floor of the building is 2,532sf which makes the under 2,000sf size questionable, at best.
  3. The website describes Milo’s as a “Restaurant, Bar, Bocce Garden” and has a complete menu.  Restaurants are not exempt.
  4. Food specials were advertised on a chalkboard out front.
ABOVE: Food hardly seems "incidental" at Milo's

My phone call to Ald. Vollmer was not returned.  He is up for reelection this year, he faces Republican Jessee Irwin in the April 5, 2011 general election.  I have filed a complaint with the Citizens Service Bureau (CSB).

– Steve Patterson

UPDATE 1/10/2011 @ 5:30pm

I had a very nice message from Ald. Vollmer today.  He explained the Health Dept visited his business and determined it was under 2,000sf as defined by the ordinance.  The Health Dept also defined “incidental” food as up to 25% of sales, which he says he meets.  Before January 2nd Milo’s allowed all ages to enter but now, to comply with the law, he is turning away groups that include persons under 21.  He’d like to change the law to remove the under 21 requirement but is now considering going smoke-free.


Currently there are "127 comments" on this Article:

  1. Justin S. says:

    too bad about cat's meow – where else can you go in Soulard get a cold pitcher and pizza for 10 bucks! my wife and i always enjoyed kicking off the day or ending game day there. the smoking will factor in our decision – will i stop going there, no, but probably less frequently. hard to believe we have to wait til 2016 for the entire ban to take effect. the present smoking ban will provide a lot more healthy environments and will save lives.

    • My prediction is places that legally invoke the exemption will have a harder time adjusting in 2016. The non-smokers won't suddenly flock to those places once they are smoke-free. Other bars will have a 5-year head start.

  2. Chris says:

    How did Aldmerna Vollmer vote in regards to the smoking ban?

  3. JZ71 says:

    Assuming Milo's kitchen is on the first floor, as well as the bathroom(s), it would be reasonable to assume that they would occupy more than 532 square feet. This leaves defining “incidental”. Just because you serve food doesn't legally make you a restaurant, any more than serving alcohol makes you a bar. I'm guessing that the 51% revenue rule applies, here and elsewhere.

    I understand your passion on this issue, along with your interest in the local political scene, but like I've said before, I'm less concerned with strict compliance with the signage requirements (although I do appreciate the “Warning, Smoking Allowed Here” requirement) than I am with the reality of no smoke in the air. I, like most non-smokers, can tell instantly whether or not an establishment allows or condones smoking, legally or illegally, when we walk in the door, and we're free to turn around, walk out and take our dollars elsewhere. These corner bars have a legal, limited exemption – live with it for 5 more years. We've been given a huge win with 80%+ of places that aren't exempted!

    The reality is that enforcement, or lack thereof, at least in the short term, does faill primarily on the proprieter. The Health Dept. does not have the resources to respond to multiple citizen complaints, nor will most patrons either report noncompliance nor get into direct confrontations with either the operator or other patrons. From what I've seen (on a limited basis) is that most places are doing a good job of pushing smokers outdoors, but I also don't hang out in too many small neighborhood bars, either. I'm not going to be lacking options, so I guess I'm more willing to live and let live until 2016 . . .

    • Chris says:

      I agree with you with one exception; Milo's is CLEARLY marketing themselves as a restaurant. You can't have lunch specials advertised outside, have “restaurant” listed first on your website, have an extensive food menu and claim you're “just a bar.”

      I am never planning on “narcing” on a single restaurant violating the ban, but it's a pretty sorry statement that one of our own aldermen thinks he's above the law. And he's clearly violating it, unless he's thinking he's engaging in civil disobedience or something.

      The Cat's Meow followed the law; their pizza is clearly incidental.

    • RobbyD says:

      JZ, I'm not sure how you see that Milo's might be allowed an exemption. I've never been, but I can see from the pictures where it looks like it could be a corner bar. Overall, though, Milo's appears to fit the gastropub mold where specialty food fare is offered in addition to a strictly “pub” or “drinking” scene. Regardless of sales percentages, food is hardly “incidental” at a gastropub (thankfully, that's what makes
      'em so attractive…beer plus more than just warmed up wings or frozen pizza). The clear spirit of the ordinance would not make Milo's eligible for an exemption, IMO.

      They also do not appear to card at the door. The place actually seems to be pretty family friendly with bocce tourneys going on and a menu full of good Italian food. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks to me that someone's 15 year old grandson could order a pizza while watching grandpa play bocce ball.

      • JZ71 says:

        Like you, I've never been, either, but that really doesn't matter. What does is whatever is actually written into the law and regulations, not our opinions. If the law says 51%, 33% or 25%, that's the threshold, like it or not, for better or for worse. It's also one thing to aspire to be a restaurant, gastropub or bar, and another thing to actually meet the legal definition. As has been reported elsewhere (P-D), some bars are actually scaling back on food service to keep smoking. Bottom line, it's a business and personal decision, accomplished within the limits of the current laws and regulations. We may want something different, but until the laws are changed, there's little, other than selective spending, to compel owners to see the wisdom of our desires . . .

  4. aaronlevi says:

    that's not the same Jesse Irwin that plays the hilarious, obscene, country music, is it?

  5. Tonypalazzolo says:

    You know bars are to sell food as long as its under 25%. While Milos does have a full menu they are mainly a bar. I lived down the street for many years. I would have a hard time believing that he is not under 2000 sqft. Yes he probably needs to put up another sign but you just wasted time the health department doesn't have.

  6. Bill Hannegan says:

    Justin, it is very doubtful any lives will be saved. Smoking bans transfer smoking to the home, raising the overall smoke exposure of low-income young children. Not much of a positive health effect there. A big national study has just been published which shows that smoking bans have no effect on heart attack, mortality or hospitalization rates in communities that impose them.

  7. Bill Hannegan says:

    There is no reason to believe the small bar exemption will not be broadened and extended once 2016 arrives, especially if noncompliance has been a big problem up until then.

  8. RobbyD says:

    If its eventually shown that Milo's is indeed in non-compliance (as it sure appears it is), then this is a huge deal in my mind. And it has nothing to do with smoking.

    I'm not sure someone could more clearly demonstrate the lack of ability or desire to properly serve our city as a public servant.

    I seriously wonder what other rules, ordinances and/or laws this alderman might decide do not apply to him or his business dealings.

    • Tiredofpolitics says:

      You can only imagine–this only scratches the surface; and it's just not this alderman, it's ALL of them.

  9. Bill Hannegan says:

    I've been to Milo's and it feels more like a bar than a restaurant. I don't think the alderman is breaking the law the Board of Aldermen passed. Remember, Alderman Schmid rejected adding any food percentage requirement to his exemption since he wanted bars that allow smoking to serve “lots of food”. The 25% cut off is something Health Director Pam Walker added to the law.

    • Chris says:

      Bill, Milo's own website labels itself in this order: restaurant, bar, bocce garden. I will make the assumption that since “restaurant” is listed first, they consider themselves that first and foremost. I could be wrong.

      Our opinions (mine included) don't really matter. Did Vollmer willfully not put up a “no one under 21” sign? Do his food receipts account for more than 25% of his revenue? Have children entered his establishment since January 1st? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, he has broken the law.

      You know, I think a lot of laws are stupid, but I follow them anyway. It's called being an adult, a good citizen and a responsible member of society.

      • JZ71 says:

        Unless there's a doorman, there's really no way to keep someone under 21 from entering. It IS the responsibility of the establishment, however, to make sure that they are not served, per the conditions of their license.

        Bigger picture, yes, technically, EVERY law should be followed precisely and religiously. Reality check – that never happens. We have both limited resources and divided responsibilities, so most people tend to bend a few, especially if there is no apparent enforcement. Should an alderman be both better informed and a better example? Yes, of course. But they shouldn't be subject to more aggressive enforcement, either.

        The next six months will define the level of enforcement that the Health Dept. can deliver and the public will demand. And, like every other law in the city, enforcement will be both spotty and selective. In the bigger scheme of things, smoking probably ranks higher than littering and lower than food poisoning, and will be enforced appropriately.

        • RobbyD says:

          Absolutely should public officials be put under more scrutiny and held to greater account…That's the basis of a republic…

          Wink and nod good ole boy (and girl) networks are guarantees of worsening the distrust of elected officials by citizens in today's multicultural and connected America…

          The world is not ending because of Mr. Vollmer's decision. However, my desire to see him reelected has basically ended. lol

          Surely his actions are motivated by his concerns for his business and family and then his constituents. But an alderman like this worries me because he seems to exhibit a very parochial and “St. Louis incubated” mind set that is not enough in tune with the bigger, more connected world that we in St. Louis are competing in.

          • JZ71 says:

            An individual alderman should be aware of the provisions of the laws their entity is passing – ignorance should not be an excuse. That said, few elected bodies have members marching in lockstep on every issue. There's a fine line between enforcement and harassment. In this case, it's pretty apparent that Ald. Vollmer did not support the law when it passed, and is doing the minimum legally required to comply with it, like many other business owners. Whether this is “right” or “wrong” is obviously one of personal opinion. I'm in the camp that believes that it's hard enough to get good people to serve in government, especially local government, and the last thing we should be doing is “making an example” out of them outside of their elected duties.

          • RobbyD says:

            I couldn't disagree with you more.

            The minute a private citizen wins an election to serve in gov't, he or she has begun a new public life. This will and should include accountability of the official's private dealings in teh public square. It'd be nice to simply say that our elected officials will just simply do the right thing, but no one believes that.

            If Mr. Vollmer feels harassed by Steve's post, then he clearly does not have a strong enough disposition to be an alderman. But frankly, his phone message to Steve does not seem to indicate that he was feeling harassed or “made an example of” at all!? In fact, he indicated he was waying whether or not to go smoke free.

            The reality of our world today is this: the economic powerhouses of this nation and the world are moving to smoke-free work places and public squares. That any St. Louis elected official would want to paddle upstream given this reality is not good at all IMO.

            I would also add that our system of gov't has worked reasonably well because issues are freely and openly debated, voted on, and then adopted by all. Whether or not a true concensus is formed, we strive to live in a nation of laws, not preferences. The last people who should be given a 'free ride' on laws they don't like are those in positions of gov't power.

          • JZ71 says:

            We obviously disagree. Ald. Vollmer may not embrace the ordinance, but apparently is trying to comply, by asking the Health Dept. for their opinions and approval. My “picking on” response was also aimed more at Steve and the focus of this post, since I have no direct knowledge of Ald. Vollmer's actual position(s). While I agree that non-compliant businesses need to be called out, the focus really should be on the egregious violators, initially, not on the ones (like these) making a good-faith, if technically-flawed, effort to comply. I'd actually expect to find more flagrant violations in the Grove and in some of the larger facilities on the north side.

          • RobbyD says:

            You're free to begin your own blog at any time focusing on what you feel should be highlighted! =D

            I personally have no issue at all with holding elected official's feet to the fire.

            And, frankly, do you really believe this is the last post on this site re the issue? I'm willing to bet more violators will be discussed on this forum in the future.

          • JZ71 says:

            I agree, “our system of gov't has worked reasonably well because issues are freely and openly debated,” much like how they are on this blog. Disagreeing with both/either you and Steve, as long as it's done with respect and with a focus on the facts, is a fundamental part of that debate.

            I also “personally have no issue at all with holding elected official's feet to the fire” when it comes to their official duties. They're elected to represent me/us, and I don't want someone pursuing an agenda that I don't support, or worse, will harm me.

            My initial response to this post was that it was a poor attempt at gotcha journalism. I have no idea how many, if any, other aldermen may own businesses affected by the new law. But given how the law is written and the need for “interpretation”, I'm more interested in those businesses giving the proverbial middle finger to the law than I am with one actually trying to comply, elected owner, or not.

            And, I agree, the “last people who should be given a 'free ride' on laws they don't like are those in positions of gov't power.” Given how information has evolved on Milo's attempts, it sure doesn't look like anyone is getting a 'free ride' here. The real issue is that Steve thinks that they haven't gone far enough, the owners think that they have, and the Health Dept. is trying to come up with the final answer – pretty much par for the course given how the law was written!

          • RobbyD says:

            I have zero issue with turning the heat up on the BofA. This organization has presided over a minor renaissance in recent years, but the body of work by the gov't of this great city over recent decades has been dismal to put it mildly. I am thankful for their service and appreciate the hard work put in by the BofA. But they have my future, the future of all City residents, our property values, our children's education and our job prospects in their hands. I want them to know that we are watching each and every move they make.

            I guess that's why the “gotcha” nature of this post doesn't bother me in the least.

            I don't really see how this business owner can turn away families for long. Again, I've never been, so I could be way off base. It just seems like going for an exemption is likely to cause too much disruption in his business plan to continue to be successful. I'm not sure if he's trying to pacify his own philosophical position or a number of his longtime patrons, but it seems to me businesses are best postitioned on the leading edge of the law, not lagging behind.

            And yes! Factual, civil discourse is precisely what I'm in the Army fighting for. No democracy is not perfect. But it seems to be the best thing we've got on this side of heaven.

    • Redmedicne says:

      I've been to Milo's many times in the past. From inside the restaurant Milo's appears to be much larger than 2,000 square feet and they sell plenty of food. My family stopped going to Milo's over a year ago because the smoke was unbearable. We anxiously awaited a return on January 5th, 2011 but turned around at the front door when we saw people smoking inside. The owner is breaking the law.

  10. Bill Hannegan says:

    Chris, I do believe the aldermen intended to exempt places like Milo's when they voted for the smoking ban. The 25% food rule was added later by Health Director Walker.

    • Redmedicne says:

      Just because Milo's believes it shouldn't have to follow the law, doesn't mean it is acceptable for them break the law.

  11. Tonypalazzolo says:

    On the square footage – Milo's is not over 2000 sqft if you take out the Kitchen, bathrooms and storage. Whatever he chooses to advertise first, second or third makes no difference. Its what his percentage of food sales is compared to alcohol.

    I also say Steve keep up the good work. The more complaints the city gets the more they realize that the public doesn't want it. I say get out there and make as many complaints as you can. You also shouldn't forget to hit the private clubs such as VFW, AMVETs and The MAC since they were not exempted.

    • The public does want smoke free places.

      • Tonypalazzolo says:

        Yes “some” of the public wants smoke-free establishments and “some” of the public wants a place to enjoy a drink and a smoke. Just don't confuse a vote in the county and what “all” people want. Of course thats why a majority of restaurants had already banned smoking on their own.

      • JZ71 says:

        “The public” doesn't want to let homosexuals marry or to allow women access to safe abortions, either.

  12. Tim says:

    Its amazing to me that the city would enact such an ordinance and not have a way to enforce it (there's a little bit of sarcasm here). I emailed the Board of Alderman on this topic (email below). I'd encourage everyone to do the same. I just would like to see what their response is to this issue.

    To: Board of Aldermen (general info)

    Subject: Milo's in Violation of New Smoking Law


    Can you please offer some clarification to me on what is being done to ensure that businesses within St. Louis City are complying with the new smoking ordinance that took affect this month? I have noticed a few businesses around the area that are not in compliance. Even popular locations like Milo's are clearly breaking the law. The ordinance allows exemptions for true “bars” that are under 2,000 SF AND get less than 25% of their revenue from food. This is definitely not the case for Milos unless there is some EXTREMELY fuzzy math at play here.

    Can you please offer up some feedback on what is being done here? It is appaulling the number of businesses around the City who are just ignoring this law.

    Thank you.

  13. Bill Hannegan says:

    Tim, the figure of 25% does not appear anywhere in the law.

    • Tim says:

      St. Louis City
      Law Covers:
      restaurants, billiard halls, bingo halls, private and semi-private rooms of nursing homes, child & adult daycare facilities, city/county owned buildings & vehicles, convention facilities, educational facilities, public building elevators, health care facilities, libraries, museums, other enclosed public places & workplaces not defined, restrooms in public buildings, shopping malls, sports arenas, taxi cabs, limos, buses, theaters, vehicles of public transportation.

      Law does NOT cover:
      1) bars that sell 25% or less of their revenue for food AND are 2,000 square feet or less (minus kitchen, storage and restroom areas) *exemption expires in Jan 2015
      2) casino gaming floors
      3) retail tobacco stores (with 50% or more from sale of tobacco)
      4) outdoor dining and employment areas
      5) private clubs (not exempt when open to the public)
      6) private residences not serving as a daycare or healthcare facility
      7) 20% of hotel/motel rooms (if designated)

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        “25 percent” appears no where in the law, and the exemption expires in 2106.

      • Tonypalazzolo says:

        Private clubs are exempt only if they have no employees. From my understanding uncompensated directors would be considered employees. Amvets, VFW and all other private clubs are under the ban.

        St Louis County however exempts private clubs.

  14. stvstl says:

    Someone call the WAmbulance…

    There seem to be a lot of neighborhood bars in a similar situation as Milos. Have a decent kitchen but majority of sales come from their bar. These are the places that are being hit the worst. I have heard first hand from the workers of these establishments that the new law is hurting their bottom line.

    I'm still confused why this smoking ban did not come up for a vote to the city residents.

    • Bill Hannegan says:

      I really believe that the St. Louis City Smoke Free Air Act of 2009 exempts these places and Pam Walker has made a mistake.

    • BrianD says:

      oh, yes, their bottom line is already hurting after 10 days… give me an effing break. this is a PUBLIC HEALTH law much like “employees must wash hands” at restaurants. get over it and learn how to live in the 21st century. people have the right to smoke-free work environments… AND that trumps peoples' right to smoke. you can still smoke, you just can't force it down other peoples' lungs.

  15. Tiredofpolitics says:

    RE: UPDATE 1/10/2011 @ 5:30pm

    So, he is blowing smoke like every other politician.

    No pun intended…

  16. Doug Duckworth says:

    When are we going to ban fast food?

    • RobbyD says:

      lol…When the act of you eating a double cheese burger directly degrades my health while eating a salad next to you…

      Smokers smoke makes its way to my lungs…Diners burgers generally don't make their way into my stomach…

      And Five Guys once a month isn't going to kill anyone…

      • JZ71 says:

        “And Five Guys once a month” – double entendre?!

        • RobbyD says:

          Uh, no. Good burgers and amazingly fresh fries. But I only hit them up once a month. I like clear arteries! =D

      • sophiesm says:

        What the hell does smoking being bad for your your health have anything to do with any % of food sales. If it's bad for your health, then there should be no smoking any where period!

  17. RobbyD says:

    Good news on the update…Nothing wrong at all with holding alderman accountable…

    This guys really gonna turn away GROUPS of paying customers???

    He sounds like a Beta tape shop owner trying to sell movies in 1983…Either he's gonna have to cheat, start selling VHS tapes or go outta business…

  18. guest says:

    In my opinion, every bar should have the freedom to make its own choice. I believe that most people are educated enough to know the risks they are taking when smoking. I also think that most people are educated enough to know that your ban will not affect people's health in any way. The people who smoke will continue to smoke and their children will continue to be affected. In my country of Italy, we would smoke regardless..and WE have a much higher rate of living and a much greener and healthier environment as a whole!!! But of course we also have a different notion of law. Law, for us, is something that is a general norm which can be broken when necessary. For example, a speed limit only needs to be followed in a maximum situation when traffic is at its peak. (Note that we also have less accidents than you because it is much more difficult to obtain a license) If your law on smoking were passed in my country, certain bars wouldn't follow it if the majority of their customers didn't mind. It's the customers' decision ultimately. You Americans, however, have a very puritanical notion of law, and for us Europeans, it is a very uneducated and “closed-minded” way of approaching things. You really don't promote democracy, but a twisted sense of self-righteousness that say's “I'm right, you're wrong” We tend to be a little more forgiving, a little more compassionate, and if someone wants to have a cigar on a festive occasion at Milo's? Why not? See, in doing it your way, you promote more of a puritanical mentality which in turn promotes a double standard. More people will smoke at home and more children will be affected negatively. And then, when a child sees a person in public lighting up a cigar: “Mommy, look at that bad man/woman!!!” Smoking is not bad..it's a bad habit! There's nothing wrong with lighting up one every now and again. Plus, this issue doesn't merit a government decision. In fact, it's a waste of time for government to dwell on such things. You've got better things to worry about in the 'lou such as poverty, unemployment, city schools, your slum in north city, and racism in west county. In Europe, we know the consequences and everyone chooses his or her fate freely. (This is coming from a non-smoker…to put it more simply, I NEVER SMOKE)

    • RobbyD says:

      1. Have you seen a picture of a lifelong smoker?

      2. So you're essentially promoting a “twisted sense of self-righteousness that say's '[Europeans] are right, [Americans] are wrong'”? Or are you saying Europeans are sorta right while Americans are sorta wrong? Because then you're really not saying much at all.

      Some people's concern with the issue is their own health, not the health of smokers. An American is free to smoke and pay higher health insurance premiums for the costs they as a group put on the system. But an American should not be free to force another citizen to suck in their smoke.

      I smoke a cigar on a rare occasion. In no way would I smoke or want to smoke in an environment where my actions would impose on someone else's lungs.

      • RobbyD says:

        *a pic of a smoker's lungs??

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        Establishments can put in technology to keep smoke from building up. They should have been given that option.

        • Let it go, there is no way I'd enter a place where a person's smoke can enter my space from an adjacent table on it's way to a filter.

          • Douglas Duckworth says:

            The world does not revolve around the wishes of Mr. Steve Patterson. St. Louis still has quite a few smokers and we deserve a known place to congregate. People are able to then vote with their feet as they have done since Mangia chose to ban smoking prematurely and has now lost a ton of business. I've heard some bars are allowing smoking after 10PM in spite of the ban. Why should we spend public dollars policing the bar scene? Fast food, obesity is a huge threat to public health yet I don't see any efforts to crack down on that problem nor address our urban food deserts. Rather this is simply an attack on a practice with is less socially acceptable by some. Maybe if you don't like smoking don't go to a bar as I don't like fast food and don't consume it.

          • Milo's and other places employee persons under 21 as servers. Employee health matters after 10pm.

    • gmichaud says:

      Excellent post Guest, this is how the tea party and radical fringe groups get started, the tyranny of the majority over the minority. I don't smoke and never will, but I have been to Milo's numerous times and it is a nice bar with good food.
      In spite of the obvious uncertainly whether or not Milo's falls under the law you still have posters pissing all over themselves to hang the alderman.

      At this point it seems to me it should be up to the owner and patrons on what to do. If the owner makes the wrong decision then he will lose patrons to smoke free venues. But capitalism apparently no longer works in America.

      To have this gestapo style discussion that indicts the bar is nauseous. No doubt all of the self serving do gooders will get merit badges.

      What's worse Global Warming that will ultimately impact millions of people or a bar that you don't have to enter? What a waste.

      It's a neighborhood bar for God's sake.

      • RobbyD says:

        I want my badge in blue, please, gmichaud…I'll need the pin, too.

        And your comment, which goes from whether or not aldermen should be allowed to break their own laws to philosophical thoughts on capitalism to the role played by Nazi secret police to global warming (I believe the term is climate change now) to throwing insults, is really confusing.

        It's the defensive and personal insults used by those opposed of the ban that will surely turn the tide of public opinion…….riiiigght…

        • gmichaud says:

          You'll have to look elsewhere for the badge. I could care less about the smoking and the ban, its the harassment I have trouble with, if you don't get the gestapo coming down on innocent people, then you don't understand history and I can't explain it any better. Personal insults?, I didn't insult anyone, unless they felt it was an insult, in which case its their own guilt bothering them.
          If you read what I wrote, I said that it is clear Milo's is on the edge one way or the other on the law. I didn't say he should break the law, I said that the bar was close enough to regulations that he should be allowed to make decisions and not be harassed by people who never go to his establishment and probably never will.
          Finally I'm sorry, I forgot you were a member of the politically correct police, it is climate change, not global warming.
          Your comment about global warming is exactly the problem with your comments in general oh exalted one.
          Good Luck in finding your merit badge.

          • RobbyD says:

            Sir or ma'am…The moment you compared a private citizen's personal thoughts expressed in a respectful way on a personal website to state sanctioned, deadly and corrupt police action of one of the most evil and violent regimes our world has seen, you lost me.

            You don't seem to like the way Steve has exercised his right to speak freely. Fine. It's your right to express yourself, too. But, we will continue to discuss important issues with calling anyone a Nazi, incontinent, or “self serving do gooder.” If you'd like to join in a slightly less hysterical discussion, we're still waiting.

          • gmichaud says:

            So what are you, the gatekeeper to the comments? And now you point out now Milo's is not technically in violation of the ban? So all of the harassment is for no reason? The condescending, arrogance you display is over the top, I certainly don't need a lecture from you.
            Sorry you don't like my comparisons, but the strident approach of those who support nonsmoking irregardless of others rights warrants extreme comparisons. Look at the response to Milo's, now after reports to the CSB and a general trashing of Milo's you're saying that you were wrong?
            How big of you.
            And please don't try to tell me what I'm thinking, I disagree with Steve on the way he handles smoking, but he knows I'm with him on many, if not most issues.
            Vietnam combat veteran, 9th Division, Mekong Delta, doesn't matter any more than Afghanistan, but just so you understand that everyone has a right to speak, you are not the arbitrator of values and thought. That is what Stalin and Mao tried to do. Read history.

          • RobbyD says:

            At ease soldier. I think it would help to us to find the definition of harassement.

            As far as who is an arbitrator here, I believe you've got that one covered, “To have this gestapo style discussion that indicts the bar is nauseous. No doubt all of the self serving do gooders will get merit badges.”

            You've clearly got people and their positions nicely categorized and understood.

          • gmichaud says:

            The focus should be on the unnecessary harassment of Milo’s. You admit now that Milo’s is no big deal over “technical issues” It would have served Steve better, instead of an all out attack on Milo’s some 5 days after the law is enacted, instead to have a discussion of just how, as a society,we can help these businesses transition towards a healthier lifestyle. (Design is a factor)
            The whole vendetta approach doesn’t sit well with me, I don’t smoke, and don’t
            really care about the issue, I simply avoid places I don’t like, for whatever reason. I generally prefer pleases with limited or no smoking, but will not preclude others.
            You are the one who attacked me, my original post talked in general terms, not pointed at anyone, unless they felt they were guilty. If you think I was talking about you, then it is on you and your mind, not me. I was content to leave it there.
            Your attempt to pigeon hole me is absurd. I have introduced new ideas, where are your new ideas soldier? And that is the problem, the nonsmokers seem to have this linear, destroy the bastards’ attitude towards smokers. I see no real discussion.
            I think smokers have tried to introduce counter arguments, but it is one of those times in history, for what ever reason, non smokers have an upper hand and are lording over the smokers in ways I consider marginal.
            It has probably been 2000 years or more smokers have been around nonsmokers, glory be, and now it is time to crucify the culprits.
            If anything Alderman Vollmer would probably like some help, Milo's has been there as long as I remember, I'm thinking 30 years or more. It is hard to run a successful small business. Change is difficult. Not just for Milo's.

          • Douglas Duckworth says:

            Smoking isn't about Nazi's or the Mekong Delta. It's about my right to inject benzene gas at a predetermined location while drinking a Tanqueray and Tonic.

            It's funny how free market orthodoxy works except when mores mandate intervention whether for the protection of the public good (which the free market ironically rejects) or for the enrichment of plutocrats (bank bailout, other fiscal/monetary/trade policy). Either way I'll be back in town soon smoking at a bar either in violation of the smoking ban or with an exemption. Steve can blog about it. Hopefully he gets back to more pressing issues like our antiquated zoning and proliferation of parking.

          • gmichaud says:

            A Tanqueray and tonic sounds good. Antiquated zoning, hell bring back antique zoning I say. The zoning of early St. Louis (and classical zoning) was free form. Much of St. Louis today could benefit from a zoning that allows people to open commercial establishments as they wish (with minimum restrictions of course). Michael Allen has a portfolio of store front buildings added to residential structures, but that is only part of the story.
            It is an organic economic freedom that also keeps centralized business interests from controlling commerce.
            The strict control of vendors is an extension of policies conducted within the framework of current zoning laws.
            And don't get me started on the mythological free market system.

        • gmichaud says:

          Capitalism was once a creative, innovative force in America. In theory it should correct any “smoking problems” So capitalism is pertinent to the equation. What you are saying is people are too stupid to figure out what they want to do.
          Milo's is being publically persecuted here on this blog. They have been indicted and found quilty. Are you trying to drive the guy out of business with your zealous attacks? And because he is an alderman he deserves to be attacked more?

          My guess the true enforcement of this law around the city should be to give some flexibility on how small owners want to work with the law and their businesses, it is a major change for many them, even with knowing about it for awhile.

          In the end it's dictators that trouble me the most, and that's the tone of this blog.

          • RobbyD says:

            I believe the update on this blog clearly shows that Milo's is technically not in violation of the smoking ban. What's the problem?

            Your fear of the consequences of civil discussion about gov't on a private internet forum smacks of a dictatorship much more than a group of free citizens exercising one of our great American rights: freedom of speech.

            I honestly cannot think of anything more American, capitalist or correct than holding elected officials accountable for the laws they pass. Steve didn't write the law, pass the law or enforce the law. He took a picture and asked a question.

            Only a true dictator would have issue with that. =p

          • JZ71 says:

            “private internet forum” is an oxymoron, it can't be both “private” and a “forum”, nor should anyone expect true privacy on the interwebs. I'm also pretty sure that Ald. Vollmer voted against the law, so it's a bit disingenuous to be holding him “accountable for the laws they pass”. Yes, he should know about it and its requirements. No, he should not expected to embrace it, any more than House Speaker Boehner should be expected to embrace Obamacare!

          • RobbyD says:

            LOL…I'm not suggesting Mr. Vollmer embrace a new smoke-agenda. Only that he should be expected to follow the new ordinance liek everyone else. That he was opposed to the ordinace would be precisely teh reason to follow up and ensure he's following it!

            Do you think I waste much time in my store checking up on clerks who I know are on board with the store's policies?

            If elected officials are allowed to pick and choose the ordinaces they want to follow, espcially ones they persoanlly don't agree with, how in the world can we expect private citizens to not do the same?

            If Steve had misrepresented the facts, I would be inclined to agree with your continued suggestion that this post crossed a line of decency and common sense. It appears that Mr. Vollmer has his enterprise in compliance with the smoking ban. Good for him. It looks like he has gotten some attention along teh way, too.

            '”private internet forum” is an oxymoron, it can't be both “private” and a “forum”, nor should anyone expect true privacy on the interwebs.” … private as in “not state,” not as in “exclusive and selective”…sorry…

          • RobbyD says:

            *LOL…I'm not suggesting Mr. Vollmer embrace a new smoke-FREE agenda.

          • JZ71 says:

            Never said Steve misrepresented the facts, just disagreed with his premise.

          • RobbyD says:

            I realize this. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

          • gmichaud says:

            I'm not the one who fears discussion. Here is what a true discussion might contain: How do we help the transition to various, diverse, small businesses into success creating healthier environments? What is the relationship between a neighborhood tavern such as Milo's and the surrounding community? Or another question, does smoking have any special significance in the neighborhood? Or, is there a way to include smokers into the stream of culture without taking away rights in an extreme manner? And so on. That would be an intelligent discussion that would begin to touch the social, cultural and economic issues based on health concerns.
            A cop won't even give out a speeding ticket every time, and mostly not stop people going 5, maybe 10 miles over the speed limit.
            Nonsmokers policy geeks seem to prefer harsh judgment, irregardless of the circumstances.

          • RobbyD says:

            Smokers have been trampling on the rights of non-smokers for generations. The tide is now reversing, thankfully in my mind.

            Many people don't want asbestos in their office ceiling tiles, don't want noxious cleaning product fumes in their restaurants, don't want ear piercing sirens wailing “for only an hour or two” in their diners, don't want pet feces on the floor of their neighborhood bars, and don't want cigarette smoke in their lungs…ever. This is the reality of the world today.

            It's up to smokers and businesses who are sympathic to this vocal minority to propose solutions. If not, things like smoking bans are the result.

            And, just what are the harsh judgments that non-smoking “geeks” are imposing?

    • sophiesm says:

      I agree! We should all move to Europe. They don't put up with guns and going topless on a beach is not considered sexual. Americans are too up-tight!

  19. Anono2 says:

    Which part of “private property” aren't people getting? THe owner reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. So if someone walks into your bar and starts complaining about smoke, tell him to leave and that if he does not he will be charged with trepassing. THe ticket for trespassing is alot higher than the one for smoking. This we will do for their OWN GOOD! Because we worry about their health!

    • Guest says:

      Are you a lawyer? Bars and restaurants are public places, even if owned by private individuals. I asked a real lawyer, and they confirmed that.

  20. Tiredofpolitics says:

    I don't understand why the government can have the authority to prohibit a legal activity on private property. You don't like the smoke, then don't go in there. If you REALLY want to eat their food and to enjoy their drinks, then YOU need to put up with the smoke. If you don't like the smoke, then don't apply to work there. There are plenty of non-smoking options out there. Whatever happened to logic and common sense? One of these days the advocates of increased government intervention will realize that this is no longer a FREE country. It's too late, I know.

    But I still want to know why people in the county got to vote while people in the city did not.

    • People are free to smoke in their private residences. When you open a business serving the general public it is the governments role to protect the health, safety & welfare of the public. This is why building codes tell you how to build on private property and health codes determine how food should be prepared on served on private property.

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        Steve, government does sometimes tolerate known health concerns for both employees and patrons. For instance, sound levels are tolerated at rock concerts that might not be be tolerated in other workplaces.

        • RobbyD says:

          True. And when lawsuits start rolling in because of fatal ear cancer, you can bet a movement will begin to limit workplace exposure loud noises at concert venues. Plus, it is possible to wear ear plugs to just about eliminate the risk. In fact, that's probably what employers suggest?

          I'm not sure how viable it is to make gas masks available for bar staff.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            Bar staff can't wear ear plugs and hear drink orders. Plus permanent hearing loss is common due to bar noise, but verified cases of chronic disease due to bar smoke are rare. If it it is possible that no patron or employee in the whole history of New York City has ever died to environmental tobacco smoke exposure in bars and restaurants, that is also true of St. Louis.

          • RobbyD says:

            “If it it is possible that no patron or employee in the whole history of New York City has ever died to environmental tobacco smoke exposure in bars and restaurants, that is also true of St. Louis.”

            ?? Friend, something doesn't have to kill you to be a serious health risk in teh workplace. The bottom line is that second-hand smoke causes health problems.

            The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have all classified secondhand smoke as a known a cancer-causing agent. Exposure to secondhand smoke irritates the airways and has immediate harmful effects on a person’s heart and blood vessels. It may increase the risk of heart disease by an estimated 25 to 30 percent. Additionally, respiratory illnesses are exacerbated by continued exposure to second hand smoke. http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto

            Is the gov't being paid off to make these claims by anti-tabacco groups? It would seem to me that gov't would want to ENCOURAGE smoking based on available tax revenues. But, quite the opposite, both via the vote and direct order, the gov't is steering work places and public squares in teh other direction.

            As far as hearing goes, I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and wear ear protection when running between combat outposts on choppers. The ear plugs screen out the high decibel noise while still allowing me to hear the guy next to me. The plugs aren't perfect, but they certainly do help. And with or without earplugs, bar staff at concerts will rarely understand anyone anyway! =p

      • Tiredofpolitics says:

        I'm not referring to the structure itself, I'm talking about a legal activity inside the structure. You're comparing apples and oranges when mentioning health code compliance; selling tainted/ill-prepared food can kill someone in short order. Smoke is just a bad odor when you're patronizing an establishment for a couple of hours; if your health is so poor that you can't handle it, maybe you shouldn't be out in the first place.

        The only conclusion that I can reach regarding this whole smoking ban thing is that the people who are in favor of the ban want to eat/drink where the Joneses do. There's only one problem: the Joneses smoke.

        As an aside, I think that strip clubs are demeaning to women. However, I recognize that there are some people who like to patronize these joints. So, a reasonable solution to this problem is for me to just stay away. That's it, they can do what they want and my life is unaffected. If a strip club has the best steak in the world for $1 and I really want to eat it, I have two choices: don't go or suck it up and just stare at my plate while I eat. People like you, however, would want the “stripping” removed from the club in order to enjoy the steak. Although now I'm criss-crossing mental and physical health… like comparing tangerines and oranges.

        As a result, no matter how bad you want it, this will never be a perfect world. People are still going to do things that you're not going to like. That's life. As I have stated previously, one day you'll realize that allowing increasing government intervention/control isn't the wisest move. It might be the day that the feds install a camera in your bathroom, but you'll realize it eventually.

        • Just a “bad odor”? Really?

          • Tiredofpolitics says:

            Show Me conclusive evidence that exposure to second hand smoke over a period of, let's say, 3 hours per week has caused a death. The claims that “second hand smoke causes heart disease which may cause death” is not applicable here.

            Yes, Steve, a perfectly healthy person ought to show no ill effects to, which is essentially, brief exposure to second hand smoke. As I've stated previously, “if your health is so poor that you can't handle it, maybe you shouldn't be out in the first place.”

            Again, why weren't city residents allowed to vote on this issue? Why did the aldermen find it prudent to do it for us? I am not being represented on this issue.

          • RobbyD says:

            Where is this 3 hour per week shift at that still allows one to pay the bills? lol

            I think you may have missed the point a bit. This law is directed toward creating a SAFER workplace (this will never be perfect world, but it can be better). I'm sure you don't want to sit 8 hours a day in an office full of asbestos ceiling tiles? Why would you require a 17-year-old busboy to work in worse conditions?

            I'm confused. Gov't has been regulating workplace conditions for a centuries. What's new here?

            I do, though, sympathize with your “less gov't” position. It should be this way. But as our founding fathers routinely pointed out, freedom works best in a moral and virtuous society. Meaning that if free people tend towards there darker selves, gov't will be required to proctect the rights of all citizens.

            So the reality is this, if we as a free people waited for virtuous ownership to create safe and humane workplaces, they'd never come.

            Mining is a risky business to work in. We all know this. Please tell me the capitalist force that would have single handedly created the infinitely safer mining conditions we have today.

            FWIW, google second-hand smoke to see either the clear evidence of the dangers of carcinogenic smoke or the vast gov't conspiracy (depends in your bias I suppose).

          • JZ71 says:

            Hey Robby, if you're serving in Afghanistan, you're first priority should be lobbying for a safer workplace for YOU and your buddies. 😉 Where I work, I'm not too worried about IED's, although being around second-hand smoke was a choice this non-smoker had to make in exchange for a better paycheck in a crappy economy, probably not much different than the choices you had to make when you enlisted in the ALL-VOLUNTEER military, the one where there's a high likelihood that you'll be collecting hazardous-duty pay. Life is a fatal disease – none of us are getting out of here alive. Every job has its risks, be it soldier, server, miner or politician. We trade these risks for a paycheck. We may even like or love what we do, but few of us have the option of working for free.

            The difference with the smoking debate is that a false connection is being made between worker health and customers' personal preferences – most voters could care less about the busser's health, otherwise they'd be demanding that they be paid better, they're only voting for a smoke-free experience for themselves. It's just easier/more PC to make the health argument than to try and that argue stinky and obnoxious needs more government regulation. Plus, most workers in a smoke-filled environment are making an educated choice that the paycheck is worth more than the longterm risks of the smoke, and more than a few are smokers themselves and prefer to work around other smokers – self-selection. It's not much different for the strippers on the east side – they're not dancing out of a love of physical expressioin, they're doing it for the money.

            Second-hand smoke is, immediately, pervasive and obnoxious to many people. What it is not is immediately lethal. There is consensus that longterm exposure is probably a bad thing, but there is little evidence that occasional exposure is all that bad, any worse than many other things in our carcinogen-filled world, otherwise the first-hand smokers would be dropping like flies and smoking would already be illegal. If you truly “sympathize with [the] “less gov't” position. It should be this way. . . . gov't will be required to protect the rights of all citizens”, how do you address the concept of treating smokers, a distinct minority, as second-class citizens?! Of telling individual business owners what they “should” or “shouldn't” do? Don't get me wrong. As a non-smoker, I appreciate having a wider range of smoke-free places to patronize. I just know that I'm trading this “win” for losing patio dining in nicer weather, since those will be the de facto smoking areas in the vast majority of establishments.

          • RobbyD says:

            One citizen's right to pleasure themselves vs. another citizen's right to a workplace free from known carcinogens and distinctly less eye, ear, nose and throat irritation … IMO, it's easy to see who wins that one…Smokers can get their buzz outside, non-smokers can't serve tables, answer the phone or cut hair from teh sidewalk…

            When one citizen's right takes away another's, a compromise needs to be reached. Barring smokeless cigs, it looks to me like banning tabacco smoke from public places and private places where gov't regulation is appropriate is the only solution.

            Re workplace hazards of the Army…The only way to fight a war is enter the fighting…There really aren't any other options…EVERY SINGLE JOB IN AMERICA CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT SMOKING…I'm sorry, but a smoker should have to decide if their nicotine high is worth standing outside before hospitality employees across the country should have to decide whether or not a bigger paycheck is worth a possible unnecessary health risk…

          • RobbyD says:

            One other thought…Should individual business owners be told they “should” require employees to wash their hands? Food poisining probably won't kill you, right? A little stomach discomfort is akin to red eyes and runny noses, no?

            In my mind, reasonable people would wash their hands and not smoke indoors because that is the respectful and right thing to do. There should be no reason for such a nanny state to exist.

            Unfortunately, not everyone feels they have such responsibilities as citizens, I suppose. Some people feel they can do what pleases them no matter the consequences to others. When public health is in question, the reliance on common sense and decency unfortunately can't be relied on, therefore gov't intervention.

    • RobbyD says:

      Ever hear of a noise ordinance?

  21. Baja K says:

    Funny how so many “concerned” people do nothing about the industrial toxins and carcinogens that are still Legal As Pie in typical cigarettes. Secretly poisoning people in products fraudulently said to be “tobacco” is ok. Use of those products by deceived and unwitting and unprotected smokers, however, is to be the crime.
    On top of that, utterly non-complicit bar and restaurant owners are to also be punished and demonized and even criminalized…though they too may have been victimized over time by the non-tobacco toxins and carcinogens our public officials STILL permit, and fail to even warn about, in typical cigarettes.
    This is all backwards-land. Punish the victims, and let the perpetrators off scot-free.
    See http://fauxbacco.blogspot.com for all the references one needs to throw a wrench into these distracting and socially disruptive and scientifically baseless smoke bans.

    • RobbyD says:

      Are you serious? Have you seen pictures of urban skies 100 years ago? Or of former communist nations where next to nothing was done to try and protect the environment?

      Is the world perfect? Never will be. Is the air quality better in urban America than urban China, India or Moscow? I'd bet so.

      • Will Fru says:

        Read Baja's comments again. He's talking about the carcinogenic additives to cigarettes specifically, not to general pollution. No one disagrees with you there.

        • RobbyD says:

          Just wanted to see what mindless ranting felt like…lol


          Those toxins look really bad…Don't warning labels take care of this however? Frankly, I really don't have an issue with a smoker who chooses to shave a good 15 years of his or her life as long as I'm not included.

  22. Bill Hannegan says:

    Under the law, couldn't Milo's allow in minors when accompanied by a parent or guardian, in the same way a minor can drink in a bar with his parents.

  23. Petunia says:

    I know the bars have to comply by 2016 – will the casinos? And what if the state turns smoke free before then…will they still get to wait until 2016 or will the new law apply?

    • A more restrictive state law could make all bars smoke free before 2016, but don't hold your breath waiting for Jefferson City to pass a statewide measure.

    • Bill Hannegan says:

      State law might pre-empt municipal laws and allow smoking in “over 21” workplaces. This would roll back the St. Louis City smoking ban. But we hope to defeat the ban in court long before that.

  24. Dajoby68 says:

    I'm so disappointed by Milo's! It's my favorite place to go for wings and salads, but I can't go there because the smoke is so bad. You literally eat in the bar. I can only go there in summer when the patio is open. I was really hoping they'd go to smoke free, if even on their own accord.

    • Please let Joe Vollmer know! Everyone worries about losing the business of smokers while chasing away business of non-smokers.

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        And tell him Steve sent you. I am sure Vollmer is happy with you right now!

        • We had a pleasant phone conversation and Milo's is getting lots of exposure.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            Rather than publicly accuse Joe of breaking the law, wouldn't you have done better to call him first?

          • If you'd read my original post you will see I called him the day before but he didn't return the call until I had published the piece.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            Did you warn him in your call that you planned to file a complaint against his establishment and blog about his noncompliance. He might have gotten back to you sooner.

          • RobbyD says:

            What are you so afraid of? Mr. Vollmer is a big boy. If his business can't stand up to a valid question and provide a good answer, he deserves to go outta business.

            As it is, his response is credible and I'm sure his business will do fine. It's likely that he has cost himself some business from those who don't want to breath in teh smoke caused by others. And he will have a time continuing to show that family oriented bocce ball tourneys are not what his establishment is all about. But he does technically seem to be following the law. Good for him.

          • Bill Hannegan says:

            I did read your original post. I meant warn, not just call.

    • Bill Hannegan says:

      Milo's has installed the best air cleaners available. I doubt that its air is very smoky.

  25. Kmcky says:

    Missouri is one of only about a dozen states that have not gone state wide with a smoking ban – while I think it is time for our entire state to catch up, I am thrilled that for now the St. Louis metro area has done so. Born and raised in TN where tobacco is a primary crop – yet the entire state went smoke free about 3 years ago!

  26. JZ71 says:

    And elsewhere in this great land of ours: “FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill filed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo would make it illegal to smoke in a car containing children. . . . Opponents said the bill isn't needed.

    “If you allow the state to dictate smoking inside of your own private vehicle no matter who the occupants are, you've just opened the door to government intrusion in every single aspect of your life,” said state Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown.

    Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said he expected that argument but thinks protecting children outweighs it.
    “Children have personal rights, too,” Brooks said. “And one of those rights needs to be the assurance that they not be intentionally put in harm's way.”

    Four other states have passed similar legislation, according to Amy Barkley of Louisville, a regional director for the Washington, D.C. advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

    Stumbo's proposal would not allow a person to smoke “cigars, cigarettes or other tobacco in any form” in a vehicle carrying a child. It proposes a fine of $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.”

    Louisville Courier-Journal, 1/12/11

    • RobbyD says:

      I'm an education major. Dealt with all kinds of parents. Ever read about the condition of 16-year-old “non-smokers” lungs who live with cronic smokers? Can be a little disconcerting.

      I'm not suggesting I agree with this law. I am suggesting that heavy smokers harm the lungs of their kiddos. =/

      • Bill Hannegan says:

        I am not buying it. I grew up in a smoking house, my teachers smoking in the classroom, my parents in the car and I have smoked a little off and on. At 53 I am starting to train to box again. My wind is just fine. And all my contempories who grew up around shs are just fine unless they were big active smokers. Don't smoke and you will be fine!

        • RobbyD says:

          Are you afraid of a vast gov't conspiracy, then? The rhetoric and statistics put out by the gov't are overwhelming.

  27. JZ71 says:

    Robby, I think we agree that smoking is both dangerous and objectionable to most non-smokers. Where we disagree is on the assumption or expectation that an employee has a “right to a workplace free from known carcinogens”, or even free from “a possible unnecessary health risk”. I also have a different perspective on the hospitality industry.

    Part of working in many jobs involves working around various dangerous conditions and/or substances. If they're known or disclosed, the employee has the choice of doing the job (and being financially compensated), with reasonable safety precautions taken, or seeking employment elsewhere. Add in that the list of carcinogens is long and growing – everything from tobacco to sunshine (UV), artificial sweetners to paint (VOC's), electromagnetic radiation (computers) to petrochemicals (fuels, burned and unburned) – and there are few jobs, if any, that are truly risk-free. It doesn't matter if you're a soldier, roofer, painter, firefighter or bartender, there's probably something for OSHA and the zero-risk folks to get worked up about, in every workplace.

    The fundamental goal of the hospitality industry is to separate a guest from their cash. It doesn't matter if it's a good meal, a stiff drink, a sexy dance or a round of golf, the guest is paying everyone involved, ideally, primarily for a good time, an escape from reality, or, at its most basic, basic sustenance, that they can't or don't want to get at home, for less money. We, on the provider side, are willing to ignore or tolerate, in varying degrees, a wide range guest behaviors, everything from, yes, smoking to body odor, mild verbal abuse to random swearing, all in the name of a paycheck and tips.

    In a perfect world, every state would have strong non-smoking laws to protect all woirkers. We don't live in a perfect world, and as long as some businesses still permit customers to light up, there will be jobs that require working around smokers. So spare me the protecting-the-workers argument and just admit that you don't like the smell or coming home smelling like an ashtray, and that you're not alone! The majority has spoken, and I appreciate the “progress” made to date, as far as it goes, I just have a low tolerance for hypocrisy, and government is the biggest hypocrite, both increasingly taxing and increasingly limiting a known carcinogen! Yes, it's addictive, and no, we probably don't want a repeat of Prohibition, but using the same logic, marijuana should be just as legal . . . .

    • Guest says:

      Other than BS, I'm not subjected to any toxins at my work; I don't see why any of my fellow Americans should have to if I don't.

      • JZ71 says:

        Glad that you think you've found a toxin-free workplace. Unfortunately, many industries, by definition, work directly with toxic substances – health care (tainted blood), farming (pesticides), etc.

  28. Tim says:

    I really appreciate this posting Steve. I read your blogs regularly and while I don't always agree with you, I appreciate you bringing issues to the forefront. You fight a good fight and are appreciated by many. If those elected are not upholding the laws of the land, then its up to the citizens to call out those in power and demand resolution. Personally, this particular issue with Milo's sounds like a load of crap to me. I used to live in nearby Southampton and would frequent Milos up until a year ago when I moved to Kirkwood. I know they do very good lunch and dinner business and advertise themselves as a restaurant as much as a bar. I have a very tough time believing that they fall under the health dept's 25% indicental food rule. Seems like an alterman flexing his muscle and putting his own business above the law. Again, just my opinion. At a minimum, this is very “questionable.” Either way, this blog sparked some good conversation and a few letters and calls to the alderman who eventually responded to the issue. That is a good thing in my book. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you! I try hard to make sure 100% of the readers disagree with me at least once in a while. We will only grow as a city & region if our notions of right/wrong are confrunted now and then.


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