Kim Mosley vs Secondhand Smoke at Flo Valley Community College in 1988

Kim Mosley was a Professor of Art who eventually became Dean of the Liberal Arts Division at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. He was employed there from 1975 through 2007, when he left and moved to Austin, TX.

In the early years smoking was allowed in all campus buildings, as was the norm in workplaces back then. But by 1988 Kim Mosley had had enough and decided to take action against secondhand smoke pollution at work. With perseverance and some unusual methods (inspired by Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience), he succeeded in obtaining a healthier school environment, as he describes in the following account.

Kim Mosley – adapted from a talk given at St. Lukes Hospital on November 16th, 1988 during a “Get the Smoke Out” seminar.

One day I said ‘No’

Kim Mosley, ca. 1991

Men and women have a long history of altering their environment. From the paleolithic times when they would start a fire to drive animals into a certain area to hunt them, they have altered the food chain and depleted the soil. Consciousness of the environment started early as well, with laws being enacted in the Middle East that potters and metalsmiths take their workshops out of the cities because of the dirty smoke that they produced. Yesterday I questioned the cigar smoking man who refills the Pepsi machine, “Did you know that your cigar stinks up whatever building you go into?” “No,” he answered.
A friend* was going to accompany me to a meeting for non-smokers where I was giving this talk. He wanted to share his concern about smoke pollution, but his wife called to tell me that he wouldn’t be able to come. She explained that his sister in England had just died of lung cancer. He had called his wife from England to give me a message to convey to the group – we are all working towards the same goal – the elimination of senseless premature deaths.
Monday I ate lunch with a number of colleagues, one of whom lit up a cigarette. Did she know, I wondered, about the effect this cigarette was having on our bodies and our environment? If not, should she be teaching in a college? If she did know, and still had no regard for our health, should she be teaching in a college?
My work environment was smoke-filled. Frequently, I had a sore throat, a cough, and a running nose, in spite of many years of allergy shots. Finally I decided that I would no longer work in this abusive environment. This was an absolute in my mind. It was only a matter of how.
With the support and advice of Martin Pion of Missouri GASP, I sent around a survey to the faculty and students of the Humanities Building at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. All but one of the faculty and many of our students signed it.
We submitted it to the acting President, who denied our request on the basis that his tenure would soon be over, and he didn’t want to make a decision that soon could be reversed.
We decided to wait until he left, and until our new President had not quite come aboard. Then I proceeded, upon the urging of my immediate boss, to remove the ashtrays in the building, and to plaster the walls with No Smoking signs.
This sent the maintenance people, and a certain smoking administrator, into a tizzy. The maintenance people claimed that there was no way we could hold classes without ashtrays. The administrator claimed that we were abusing students by not letting them smoke.
A meeting was arranged between my immediate boss, the Associate Dean, the administrator in question, and the new President. Luckily the President had the sense to realize that this was a majority decision of the users of our building and agreed to uphold our “mutiny.” Within a few months we got a few of our ashtrays installed on the outside of our building, and the smoking students set up shop outside to shorten their lives.
The President did comment in passing that, had we not gone ahead and done this on our own, he would not have let us do it. This was obviously a risky means, one that I would not have done without the urging of my immediate superior. The point is that I had decided that I was no longer going to tolerate abusive behavior, and I would take every opportunity to stop it.
For instance, I pointed out to the President that the bookstore sold cigarettes, and asked if he was aware of that. He wasn’t, and soon the cigarettes were taken off the shelves and out of the vending machines.
Also upon my urging through the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, of which I am a member, he has now asked all campus committees to address the smoking issue at the first meeting of the new year. Now we are asking him to do the same for all groups meeting on campus.
The battle is not over. I teach one class in another building which allows smoking. After speaking with some of the faculty in that building, the Associate Dean in charge has requested to the President that his building be also deemed “smokefree.” So far, the request has sat on the President’s desk without any action. In the meantime, since I am in charge of scheduling classes, I can and will choose to teach in “smokefree” buildings until things change.
I’ve put notices in the faculty Newsnotes that I have No Smoking signs available. The requests have been overwhelming from all over campus. People are speaking out for cleaning the air in their immediate areas. They are starting to realize that they can say “No.” Even my office mate put a sign on the front door of his house to greet his wife, a smoking nurse, when she came home.
There are certainly more battles left in the war against smoking. My kids bring the smoke of the tennis club to the car after their “good healthy exercise.” People still smoke in the grocery store, even with the Thank You for Not Smoking sign on the door.
On Monday, I had talked to my mom on the phone. The day before she had told a good friend that she would no longer go to her house because she couldn’t take the smoke. My mom also mentioned that the woman’s husband, an asthmatic, couldn’t take the smoke either. The woman replied that she wanted to quit smoking anyway and now she really had a reason.
Was my mom being mean, cruel, and thoughtless? I don’t think so. But how about the husband, passively enduring the gradual destruction of both his wife and himself? Was he a gentleman, or a coward, or worse yet, a co-conspirator in polite genocide?
The message which I hope to convey to our students and to you is that we don’t have to put up with situations that seem wrong. The first step is to say “No.” The second is to sit down and work out a strategy. The third, sometimes trying a succession of strategies, is to pursue relentlessly.
You’ll become a broken record – repeating yourself over and over and over again. You’ll make some enemies (and some friends). You’ll find that often even your allies will not stand up and speak out in your defense. You’ll wonder at times, is it really worth it? But when you start winning the little battles, your rewards will be both that sensuous deep whiff of clean air and the fact that you made a difference.

Marti Pion & Lilian Williams, nee Pion, London, March 1988, three months before her lung cancer diagnosis

*I believe that Kim is referring to me in his presentation above when he refers to “A friend.” I was not able to attend with Kim because I had gone to England to be with my sister and only sibling, Lilian, who was dying of lung cancer. I’ve written about it elsewhere on this blog. Today, November 11th, 2017, happens to be the anniversary of the day in 1988 on which she died, which I attribute to her secondhand smoke exposure. (Please see the following blog for a short memorium: Remembering my late sister, Lilian, which also links to a longer blog if of interest.)

2017-02-12 OpEd Joplin Globe: “Republicans need to ban all smoking in state capitol”

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I submitted two somewhat different versions of an OpEd last week to the Joplin Globe. They published one in the Jefferson City News Tribune with my original title: “The Missouri State Capitol’s come a long way, baby – But it’s not smoke-free yet.”
The second OpEd version, reproduced below, was published in the Joplin Globe with a different title. I’ve added graphics to this version plus live links for anyone wanting more background information.

Republicans need to ban all smoking in state capitol.
Martin Pion:
February 12, 2017
Joplin Globe

At this time of year state government employees in Jefferson City can be seen huddled outside their office buildings smoking while shivering in the cold. It’s a testament to the addictive power of legally available nicotine in cigarettes, despite being the leading cause of avoidable premature death.

Before 1992, those with private offices were smoking inside, but that year the Missouri Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA ) was passed. The late John Britton, the formidable lobbyist for the Tobacco Institute and dubbed the Mayor of Jefferson City, had inserted a requirement in the bill that all state institutions and state colleges must have smoking areas. Governor John Ashcroft was a staunch opponent of Big Tobacco at the time, and his legislative assistant, Mr. Phil Irons, cannily added language that such smoking areas must have adequate ventilation at minimum cost, a standard not attainable in practice.

Interestingly enough, lawmakers exempted one state building: the State Capitol housing their offices, and that’s the focus of this story.

I first began lobbying for a MCIAA in 1984 as a member of what was then called the Missouri Coalition on Smoking and Health. At the time the only “NO SMOKING” signs in the State Capitol were in the Visitor’s Gallery overlooking the House chamber.

No Smoking Pleas AP JC 870506 photo.jpg

I I was sitting there during a critical House vote on a proposed MCIAA on May 6th, 1987, when legislators opposed to smoke-free air deliberately lit up cigarettes and cigars. For protection, I donned a professional grade safety respirator, caught on camera by Associated Press photographer Dan Howell, who titled his photo “No Smoking Pleas.”


Ms. Vivian Dietemann

The smoking situation only changed significantly after St. Louis City resident, Ms. Vivian Dietemann, filed a formal complaint in January 1994, alleging that smoking prevented her from accessing the State Capitol due to her severe asthma, in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


David Lieb, AP

After extended delays, the House, Senate, and Office of Administration, which jointly control the building, adopted a sweeping smoking policy in December 1994. Mr. David A. Lieb featured it in a January 9th, 1995, AP story titled: ”Ash Canned: Lawmakers Set No-Smoking Policy.”

The House Smoking Policy, for example, made all public areas smoke-free, but exemptions included all legislators’ private offices.


Standing: Vivian Dietemann and Don Young. His stoma is covered by a neck scarf. Seated: Sr. Luella Dames with an inhaler on her lap,
and Ted Wedel

In January 1995, Missouri GASP filed a formal ADA complaint seeking an entirely smoke-free State Capitol, and requesting a legally-required Self-Evaluation. As part of a lengthy process, surveys were completed in September 1997 by those named in the complaint, Dietemann, Sr. Luella Dames, and Mr. Don Young, overseen by Mr. Ted Wedel, General Counsel, House Research. (Young, a former smoker now needing an electrolarynx to speak, runs Young Choices Inc., discouraging youth smoking.)

Mrs. Helen Jaegers, working for a state Representative, was added to the complaint in January 1998. In April 1996 she had typed a letter to the Chief Clerk describing how State Capitol smoking exacerbated her severe asthma, resulting in frequent hospital trips. Before submitting the letter, an emergency room visit prompted her to hand write a postscript, concluding:

I am so ready to wake up from this nightmare.

This four year effort resulted in a February 5, 1999, Memorandum of Agreement between the State Capitol and Missouri GASP which still exempted legislators’ private offices from any smoking restrictions.

Billy Williams FAMRI May 2004 head

Billy Williams

Since 1999, the only additional progress made was in January 2011 following an ADA complaint by Mr. Billy Williams of GASP of Texas on behalf of Ms. Rossie Judd, an asthmatic from Fenton, MO. Following the defeat of a Rules change proposal by then Rep. Jeanette Mott-Oxford to make the entire House smoke-free, the House Rules Committee made the Members’ Lounge adjoining the House chamber smoke-free. Legislators’ offices were again exempted.


Rep. Mike Cierpiot

Two January 2017 efforts to end this exemption on health and safety grounds failed on party-line votes. In opposing, Republican Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, stated during House debate:

I believe the spirit of the Amendment is reasonable and is something we might decide to do. But the proper way to do it, in my opinion, is caucus position.

The Republican caucus should do the right thing, as Majority Floor Leader Cierpiot has suggested, by voting to make the Smoke-Me House the Smoke-Free House.


Martin Pion

Martin Pion is the president of Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.
He can be reached at

2017-02-12 Joplin Globe: “Double standard”

The Joplin Globe, a major local newspaper in southwestern Missouri, just published an edited version of a much longer OpEd I submitted recently. Joplin is the largest city in Jasper County with a 2010 census city population of 50,150. The reported circulation of The Joplin Globe is 20,414 [ref: dated January 16, 2013]. Below is the published version for those interested.

Your view: Double standard

  • By Martin Pion
    Special to The Globe – Sunday, Jan 12, 2017

A fresh batch of Missouri legislators has just convened for the start of the new legislative session. One of their surprises may be the fact that, despite all other state buildings being smoke-free, legislators have exempted themselves from that requirement in the state Capitol.

Some years ago, Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution assisted Ms. Vivian Dietemann, a smoke-sensitive asthmatic from St. Louis, in filing an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint with the Missouri attorney general’s office regarding smoking in the Capitol. At the time, smoking was allowed throughout the building, the only exception being the visitors’ gallery overlooking the House chamber. Ms. Dietemann’s efforts in late 1993 and early 1994 led to a substantial reduction in where smoking was allowed.

But today, senators and some House members are still permitted to smoke in their offices, as well as a members lounge behind the House chamber, and there is a smoking area in the underground garage.*

Sweeping smoke-free air ordinances became effective in St. Louis city and county on Jan. 2, joining many other Missouri communities. A smoke-free air initiative petition was recently approved by Jefferson City voters, so now you can’t smoke in a local bar but you can still smoke in the state Capitol.

What kind of example is the Missouri Capitol setting for young children who visit the building when they smell secondhand smoke coming from legislators’ offices? What does this say about legislators themselves who allow this to continue?

It really is time for the “Smoke-Me” Capitol to go smoke-free.

Martin Pion
President, Missouri GASP
St. Louis

*The following was evidently added by the editor:

“as well as a members lounge behind the House chamber, and there is a smoking area in the underground garage.”

The first part is incorrect, to my knowledge. In fact, the Rules were changed at the start of the 2011 session to make the private members lounge smoke-free. That was after an unsuccessful effort to make the entire building smoke-free. Here’s the relevant paragraph from the story “Smoking still allowed in Missouri’s legislative offices” by St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jefferson City reporter Virginia Young:

“Those pushing to bar smoking have wrung one concession from Republican House leaders, who agreed to ban it in the rear gallery, where legislators often grab meals between votes.”

In addition, the “smoking area in the underground garage” may also no longer exist, but that needs to be verified.

Mr. Ted Wedel, General Counsel MO House Research, conducting Survey as part of 1997 ADA Self-Evaluation

Missouri GASP filed an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint in January 1995 on behalf of Vivian Dietemann and two other smoke-sensitive individuals, Sr. Luella Dames and Don Young, a laryngectomy survivor and former smoker, seeking an entirely smoke-free Missouri State Capitol. As part of its complaint it requested a Self-Evaluation, as required by the ADA.

Mr. Ted Wedel, General Counsel, House Research in the Missouri House of Representatives, was charged with overseeing the Self-Evaluation and as part of that process, Dietemann, Dames and Young each completed a survey in my home in Ferguson on September 8th, 1997, overseen by Mr. Wedel. The event was captured in the accompanying photo.


Standing are Vivian Dietemann and Don Young, with a neck scarf covering the stoma in his neck through which he breathes. Seated are Sr. Luella Dames, with an inhaler on her lap, and Ted Wedel, General Counsel, House Research.

Highly smoke-sensitive Helen Jaegers’ ordeal working in the Mo State Capitol in 1996

The letter pasted below, dated April 13th, 1996, provides some insight into how Mrs. Helen Jaegers suffered from secondhand smoke exposure while working for a state representative in the Missouri State Capitol. Her letter was addressed to Mr. Doug Burnett, Chief Clerk to the Missouri House of Representatives at the time.


Rep. Bill Boucher

It was faxed to MoGASP on April 23rd, 1996, by a sympathetic legislator, Rep. Bill Boucher, a Democrat representing District 48, part of the Kansas City area in Jackson County.

In her letter, Mrs. Jaegers described the steroid medications she was taking to control her asthma (from which she had suffered since age 2), and how she was sickened by workplace smoking, in some cases resulting in emergency room visits. The P.S., added by hand to her typewritten letter to Chief Clerk Burnett, underscored her plea for help:

“P.S. On Monday, 4-15-96, my husband and daughter rushed me to the EMERGENCY Room.
I was having a reaction to the medicine
I am so ready to wake up from this nightmare.”


Vivian Dietemann’s Jan. 1994 ADA complaint against smoky MO State Capitol


Ms. Vivian Dietemann

Ms. Vivian Dietemann, a highly smoke-sensitive asthmatic, filed a formal complaint against the Missouri State Capitol in early 1994. The four page complaint is reproduced below.
It referenced both Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Ms. Dietemann alleged that she was being denied access because of permitted smoking throughout the building, citing relevant law and court decisions. The complaint was filed initially with then-Attorney General, Jay Nixon, and subsequently redirected to the three entities responsible for different parts of the Missouri State Capitol: the House, the Senate, and the Office of Administration.


2017-01-12: House votes down smoke-free members’ offices amendment


Smoke-Me Missouri State Capitol

I watched the online video of the House debate on Thursday morning, January 12th, 2017, of an amendment to the Rules to make the “private” offices of House members smoke-free.  Amendment .04H was proposed by the  Minority Whip, Rep. Kip Kendrick (D). It was opposed by the Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R), and then defeated on a voice vote.

As noted on previous occasions, it’s highly regrettable that this has moved from being a health and welfare issue, ensuring access to the State Capitol for those with breathing disabilities, to evidently becoming a partisan issue.  Of note, however, is this statement by Rep. Cierpiot during his opposing argument:

I believe the spirit of the Amendment is reasonable and is something we might decide to do. But the proper way to do it, in my opinion, is caucus position.

A live video of the proceedings is posted online at the live link below. The 4 minute debate on Rep. Kendrick’s amendment begins at t=16:33 min. into the video recording. A transcript of the debate I prepared is appended below.

Transcript re. amendment .04H to HR8 determining the House Rules

Following the introduction of HR8 governing the House Rules for this session, the first speaker addressed the issue of smoking. This followed the Speaker asking “Discussion?” at t=16:30 min followed by “Gentleman from Boone … may rise.”

Rep. Kip Kendrick at t=16:33: “To offer an amendment.”

“Proceed gentleman.”


Rep. Kip Kendrick (D) Minority Whip

Rep. Kendrick at t=16:40: “To offer an amendment .04H. And this amendment, what it does is add some continuity, based on the current law in the state of Missouri regarding no smoking in state government buildings. And it includes the House and members’ offices, to basically ban smoking in the building.

I’m not standing up today to throw bombs or make it a partisan issue – I don’t believe it’s a partisan issue. And I have to believe that over 90% of the people in this body believe that this is an acceptable rule change: to ban smoking in the State Capitol.

And for those of you who don’t agree I would have to assume that you would agree to repeal of a smoking ban in all state buildings because there really is no good reason why we ban smoking in every state building but then exempt ourselves, exempt the State Capitol. There’s no good reason at all. When we talk about this is the People’s House and this is the People’s Building, it is.

I occupy Room 106-B, and I occupy – I don’t own – that office at all. So for me to say that I’m exempting myself from the existing law to say that I can smoke in my office as a privilege contradicts what we’re here for, why are we here. We’re here as public servants. We’re not any better than anyone out there definitely. We’re no better than any other state employee, and again we currently ban smoking in all state government buildings with one exemption, and that’s the State Capitol, and that’s our offices.

So again I believe that most everyone in here believes this is an acceptable rule change. And with that I’ll renew my rule change and entertain any questions. And I’d like to move for the adoption of the amendment.”

At t=19:16: “The gentleman from Boone has asked for the adoption of House Amendment 1. Discussion?”


Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R) Majority Floor Leader

At t=19:22: “Gentleman from Jackson.”

Rep. Mike Cierpiot at t=19:23: “Just to quickly speak on the Amendment.

First, I believe the spirit of the Amendment is reasonable and is something we might decide to do. But the proper way to do it, in my opinion, is caucus position.

The enforcement of the rules would be difficult and I think it opens issues that we haven’t really thought through. And I know the minority caucus has done it before and it’s going to consider that soon, and in my opinion that’s the way to do it.

I encourage the majority to vote against this amendment.

t=19:54:  “Discussion? Seeing none, the gentleman from Boone you’re recognized to close.”

t=19:59: “Again, Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a simple rule change to make, one that we can all agree upon, and with that I renew my motion.”

t=20:13: “The gentleman from Boone has renewed his motion for the adoption of House Amendment 1. All those in favor signify by saying “Aye.” Opposed “No.”

The Noes clearly have it. You’ve failed to adopt House Amendment 1. t=20:26 min.

The following information on the two speakers is available from the Mo House Members directory:


Rep. Kendrick

Rep. Kip Kendrick (D) District 045
Minority Whip
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 106-B
Jefferson City MO 65101
Legislative Assistant: Donna Scheulen
Phone: 573-751-4189

The above district is centered on Columbia, MO.


Rep. Cierpiot

Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R) District 030
Majority Floor Leader
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 302-A
Jefferson City MO 65101
Legislative Assistant: Stephanie Willis
Phone: 573-751-0907
E-Mail: <>

The above district is southeast of Kansas City, MO.

2017-01-10: Missouri House committee rejects smoke-free rules for its members

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Smoke-Me State Capitol, Jefferson City, Missouri 

As is the norm, at the start of a new session of the Missouri Legislature following statewide elections, rules are adopted for the conduct of the House and the Senate. And as has happened before, when an attempt was made on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017, to remove smoking from the last place it’s still allowed on the House side of the State Capitol in Jefferson City – in Members’ offices – it was rejected by the House Rules Committee on a party-line vote. That’s despite the fact that all other state-controlled offices were made smoke-free in the 1992 Missouri Clean Indoor Air Act (see Section 191.767.  4. and note that’s because adequate ventilation to allow smoking at minimum cost is unfeasible).

The Associated Press, which has an office in the State Capitol, published a story picked up by news outlets both within Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S. I’m grateful to Mr. Stan Cowan of Jefferson City for that AP story (reproduced immediately below in blue), followed by the text of his testimony at the hearing. Finally, a review of some past history of the efforts of individuals and MoGASP to promote a smoke-free State Capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)  January 10, 2017
Missouri lawmakers have defeated an effort to ban smoking in state Capitol offices. 

Smoking already is prohibited in Capitol hallways and legislative chambers. On Tuesday, a House rules committee heard testimony from several high school students and the Jefferson City Council urging legislators to ban smoking everywhere in the Capitol, including in offices.

But the panel’s Republican majority struck down a proposed amendment to the House rules on a 9-4 party-line vote.

Republican leaders dismissed concerns about secondhand smoke, saying the number of legislators smoking in offices was small in comparison to past years or decades.

Neighboring states such as Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas and Iowa have smoke-free capitols. Forty one states nationwide do not allow smoking anywhere in their capitol building.


Stan Cowan, the day after the hearing.

Testimony to Consent & House Procedure Committee
January 10, 2017
Stanley R. Cowan

In previous years, I tried presenting medical facts on the health impact of secondhand smoke to persuade the House Rules Committee of the need to discontinue needlessly exposing their colleagues, employees and visitors to this proven cause of heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases.
Despite several Surgeon General reports citing thousands of scientific studies spanning more than 30 years, it has become apparent that the Rules Committee was not impressed with the medical evidence nor about harming the health of others in the Capitol building.
In promoting a healthier community, the city council of Jefferson City passed a resolution in 2013 encouraging the House Majority Caucus to adopt a smoke-free office policy “for the sake of the health of our citizens that work in the Capitol building, for visiting constituents, and for our children.”[i]

Last year, Rep. Sheila Solon (R-31, Blue Springs) introduced HB1669, an ethics reform bill that would limit possession and consumption of alcohol on capitol grounds except for special events, and would prohibit use of tobacco products in the capitol building. She was quoted in the Kansas City Star as noting,

“There’s a feeling of entitlement among (legislators) that we’re somehow special. The public can’t drink and smoke in the building, so why can we? I mean, come on, this is a workplace. How many people are allowed to drink and smoke in their workplace?”

The news story concluded with a statement from Rep. Gina Mitten (D-83, St Louis),

“The Capitol is a public building and workplace, and the legislature needs to set a good example as a healthy and safe workplace.”[ii]

HB1669 was scheduled for a February 1, 2016 hearing by the Oversight & Accountability Committee, but then was cancelled with no reason given and never re-scheduled.

Several newspapers have printed editorials in support of a policy for a smoke-free capitol building. [iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii],[viii]

The Joplin Globe took this a step further in January of 2015 with an online poll for the following question.

“Republicans in the Missouri Legislature this past week voted to allow their members to smoke in their offices, even though the Capitol is a public building where smoking is not permitted. Do you care if they smoke in their offices?”

The response was 73% did care if legislators smoked in their office, 27% did not care.[ix]

Two years ago, when attempting to testify before this same committee, I was cut short by Chairman Engler’s quick interruption of two main points:

  • Could I name any other job where people put in as long hours as do the legislators when in session?

Actually, there are 41 examples of exactly the same jobs where smokefree policies are the norm. These are for the legislators, staff and other workers in the state capitol buildings in Topeka, Little Rock, Des Moines, Springfield, etc. for a total of 41 state capitol buildings with smokefree policies. These include 7 of Missouri’s 8 bordering states.[x] Missouri is in the minority in not providing this simple and basic courtesy toward protecting people from this known health risk. A smokefree policy has worked in these other 41 state capitols, it can work in Missouri, too.
There are more legislators and staff that do not smoke, and thus should be protected from the entirely preventable risk to their health presented by secondhand smoke. Legislators addicted to nicotine have a wide variety of non-combustible nicotine products to satisfy their craving without polluting the air. In fact, some of these nicotine products, such as orbs and gelatin strips, can be used away from the legislator’s office, meaning the legislator would not be compelled to return to his/her office for a smoke when the nicotine craving occurs away from the office.

  • “Ice cream served in the Capitol Rotunda kills more people in this House than nicotine.”[xi]

Since 1965, every package of tobacco products have been required to carry a Surgeon General’s warning on the health impact. No such health warning is required for containers of ice cream. Ice cream, consumed in moderation, is not a health risk to most people (there is even a special ice cream safe for consumption by diabetics). Tobacco, even for light or occasional users, is not safe. Every single cigarette causes harm; every exposure to secondhand smoke causes harm.
A person consuming ice cream will not cause a health risk to people nearby. A person smoking tobacco does not only impact his/her own health, but also the health of everyone in the area.
After my attempted testimony before that committee two years ago, I was approached by a legislative aide who informed me the real air quality problem in the capitol building was mold and intimated I should direct my concerns to that issue.
The legislature responded to the mold problem and appropriated of funding for remediation work. However, the elimination of air pollution from secondhand smoke can be accomplished with no appropriation of any tax dollars whatsoever. It merely takes the political will to do what is right.

Let’s take to heart an inscription on our state seal which is engraved in one of the walls of the Capitol – Salus populi suprema lex esto – “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” A smoke-free policy for “the people’s house” honors the welfare of the people; the status quo does not.

(For References, please see bottom of this blog.)

In the past, Missouri GASP has worked with other individuals to promote a smoke-free State Capitol, with varying degrees of success.


Vivian Dietemann

Ms. Vivian Dietemann of the City of St. Louis is owed a large debt of gratitude for taking action leading to a substantial reduction in smoking in the State Capitol. She initially wrote to then-Attorney General Jay Nixon in October 1993, and followed up with a detailed formal four page discrimination complaint dated January 9th, 1994.
The complaint alleged that allowing smoking in the State Capitol prevented her from accessing the building due to her severe asthma, exacerbated by exposure to secondhand smoke, in violation of both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Ms. Dietemann’s complaint was forwarded to the three entities controlling the building: the House, the Senate, and the Office of Administration (OA). After some discussion and delay, it resulted in a major change from no smoking restrictions to a sweeping smoking policy being formally adopted in December 1994.
The House Smoking Policy, for example, made all public areas smoke-free, as well as House Hearing Rooms, the House Chamber, and the House Lounge. This was reported in a January 9, 1995, AP story (reproduced below) by David A. Lieb headlined “Ash Canned: Lawmakers Set No-Smoking Policy.”
To view an enlarged version of the above story please click the following link:

An additional complaint was filed by Missouri GASP in January 1995 on behalf of Vivian Dietemann and two other smoke-sensitive individuals, Sr. Luella Dames and Don Young, a laryngectomy survivor and former smoker, seeking an entirely smoke-free building and requesting a Self-Evaluation, as required by the ADA. Mr. Ted Wedel,  General Counsel, House Research in the House of Representatives, was charged with overseeing the Self-Evaluation. As part of that process, Dietemann, Dames and Young each completed a survey in my home in Ferguson on September 8th, 1997, overseen by Mr. Wedel. The event was captured in the accompanying photo.


Standing are Vivian Dietemann and Don Young, with a neck scarf covering the stoma in his neck through which he breathes. Seated are Sr. Luella Dames, with an inhaler on her lap, and Ted Wedel, General Counsel, House Research.

Mrs. Helen Jaegers was added to the complaint in January 1998. She was then a Jefferson City resident working for a Representative in the State Capitol. In April 1996 she wrote to the Chief Clerk of the House describing how her severe asthma was exacerbated by workplace smoking, resulting in frequent hospital visits. Following an emergency room visit, she added a P.S.:

I am so ready to wake up from this nightmare.

This time-consuming effort, spanning just over four years, resulted in a February 5, 1999, Memorandum of Agreement between the House, Senate, Office of Administration, and Missouri GASP, identifying areas in the building which would be smoke-free. This included those already so designated and two building entrances. Additionally “all staff offices open to the public are designated as non-smoking.” The Memorandum is reproduced below.

The last small but significant step forward was taken at the beginning of the 2011 session when the Members’ Lounge adjoining the House chamber became smoke-free after a vote of the House Rules Committee. Before that change, smoke would drift into the chamber, especially whenever the door was opened.

Billy Williams FAMRI May 2004 head

Mr. Billy Williams 2004

Judd STL County Health Dept July 2004sh_1528b

Ms. Rossie Judd 2004

This accompanied a major but ultimately unsuccessful effort to make the entire House of Representatives smoke-free, led by former state Rep. Jeanette Mott-Oxford, based on an ADA complaint filed by Mr. Billy Williams, Executive Director of GASP of Texas, on behalf of Ms. Rossie Judd, from Fenton, MO.
Testimony to Consent & House Procedure Committee
January 10, 2017
Stanley R. Cowan – 

[i] RS2013-32, Resolution Supporting the House Majority Caucus Adoption of a Policy to Prohibit Smoking Within the Offices of Its Members, City of Jefferson, December 3, 2013.
[ii] Jason Hancock, Missouri lawmaker pushes to ban alcohol, smoking in Capitol, January 22, 2016, Kansas City Star,
[iii] No-smoking exemption invites public scorn, January 18, 2013, Jefferson City News Tribune, 
[iv] House GOP moves to retain smoking, avoid the heat, February 8, 2013, Jefferson City News Tribune,
[v] Live by the laws, Sunday, January 18, 2015, Joplin globe,
[vi] Missouri Laws Should Apply to Lawmakers, February 21, 2016, Joplin Globe
[vii] Lawmakers have not earned added responsibilities, February 24, 2016, Jefferson City News Tribune,
[viii] Self-interest must play no role in Capitol stewardship, April 24, 2016, Jefferson City News Tribune,
[x] The exception is Kentucky
[xi] Virginia Young, Missouri House rules spread power but won’t ban smoking in offices, 2015-01-13T15:00:00Z 2015-01-13T20:16:09Z Missouri House rules spread power but won’t ban smoking in officesBy Virginia Young 573-556-6181 January 13, 2013, St Louis Post Dispatch,

Smoking killed Princess Leia

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Stan Glantz, PhD, as featured in
the 2014 documentary movie
Merchants of Doubt

Stanton “Stan” Glantz, PhD, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, CA, has been a tireless campaigner for smoke-free air for decades, and bitter opponent of the tobacco industry. His interests more recently include smoking in movies, identified as encouraging smoking initiation.


Dr. Stuart Kreisman

In a  January 5th, 2017, e-mail from Stan Glantz to his list he applauds Stuart H. Kriesman, MD, on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, for an excellent just-published opinion piece titled:
Princess Leia ultimately killed by the real Darth Vader

Dr. Kreisman begins by reminding us of why smoking continues to be such a major health problem, “accounting for 10% of all Canadian deaths, and kills more people than alcohol, drugs, car accidents, murder, suicide, and AIDS combined.” He notes how the tobacco industry has reacted to the need to find new customers, focusing its efforts on addicting teens, with movies being “one of the main legal avenues remaining for the industry to (indirectly) market to children.”


Carrie Fisher in Star Wars

He adds: “Numerous studies have shown that smoking in movies makes teens more likely to try smoking,” accounting for nearly 40% of youth smoking initiation.

Dr. Kriesman notes that Carrie Fisher was a lifelong smoker. “She had also fought mental health and addiction battles, smoking prevalence being disproportionately elevated in both of these groups.” He concludes that smoking was likely the cause of her death on December 27, 2016, at age 60 from a sudden heart attack.

(Stan Glantz notes that “Most people don’t know that smoking causes heart attacks.” There was no such connection made in news reports I saw or read in the case of Carrie Fisher. However, a Google search of “Carrie Fisher’s heart attack due to smoking” did include such mention in a USA Today article, which added that “diabetes, lack of exercise and obesity are more potent risks in women.”)

Dr. Kriesman’s OpEd suggests many opportunities for action against the tobacco industry, such as increasing the age limit for tobacco product purchases to 21. This is something which St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page, M.D. successfully accomplished in September 2016, with bipartisan support. That was followed shortly afterwards by the City of St. Louis approving a similar bill sponsored by Alderwoman Dionne Flowers.


Actress Debbie Reynolds with daughter Carrie Fisher. Ms Reynolds died from a stroke the day after her daughter’s death, attributed to grief.

Dr. Kriesman’s OpEd concludes:
“Most importantly, recruit Hollywood’s help and take control of smoking’s image — show that it truly is not cool, but instead, a never-ending beauty-and-health-destroying, poverty-inducing, pathophysiological battle against nicotine withdrawal that mostly traps society’s weakest (and least enviable) members.

Maybe Princess Leia can help us defeat true organized evil after all.

Stan Glantz features Dr. Kriesman’s blog on the Smoke Free Movies blog at and @SmokeFreeMovies and @ProfGlantz.

1993-01-14 P-D: “County’s Plan To Curb Smoking Burns Some Workers” & parody


Virgil Tipton, May 2013

On January 14th, 1993, then St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff reporter, Virgil Tipton, wrote a story about smoking employees faced with curbs on smoking in the County Government Center in Clayton, an effort spearheaded by former St. Louis County Councilman Kurt Odenwald. I thought the tone was overly sympathetic to the smokers, and wrote to Mr. Tipton expressing my concerns, to which he was good enough to reply. Subsequently, I wrote a parody, substituting alcohol for cigarettes, and sent it to him.
While tidying up recently, which I do every decade or so, I discovered both the original story on page 3A and the (unpublished) parody in my letter to Mr. Tipton. I reproduce both below for your enjoyment, preceded by part of my letter to him.

Excerpt from Martin Pion’s letter to Virgil Tipton:
“Before you read on, I should say that I don’t think you handled the story any differently from the average reporter, but that’s the problem.
Suppose instead you were doing a story on drunken drivers, and a new county law proposing stiffer regulations. But instead of seeking out the survivors of collisions with drunken drivers, or the families of deceased victims, you instead went into bars looking for drunken drivers, or stopped a drunk about to get into a car and drive off, and interviewed those individuals to gauge the effect of the new law. And the picture you ran was not of the victims of drunken drivers, but drunken drivers themselves knocking back beers in a bar. In fact, the story would more or less focus on drunken drivers, and show them as the victims. It might run something like this:” (Please see below newspaper article.)

County’s Plan To Curb Smoking Burns Some Workers


County Plan Means Trouble Brewing for Drunken Drivers
By Virgin O. N. Tipsy*
Of the Post-Dispatch staff

Two things were coming to a head in the county bar Wednesday. One was Caverne Burpp’s beer. The other was Caverne Burpp because of further restrictions proposed by the county council on drunken driving. Burpp claimed the proposals were nothing short of discriminatory. Burpp said trucks and speeders caused more deaths and accidents than drunken drivers. “All they get is a slap on the hand – and that’s the end of it,” Burpp said. “What will be our next right taken away?”
The proposal, expected to be introduced at today’s council meeting, would ban drunken drivers on county roads, including those around the airport, except on specially designated roads with guard rails to separate them from non-drunken drivers.
Under the county’s current ordinance, drunken drivers can drive only in the outside lane of all county roads, except when passing.
The backdrop to this measure is a report issued last week by the Department of Transportation. The report says that drunken driving is responsible for almost 20,000 road deaths a year.
The idea of the measure is obvious – to keep drunken drivers away from sober drivers, said Councilman Curt S. See, who is proposing the measure.
“When drunken drivers drive on public highways, they are a hazard to those who don’t drive drunk and who don’t want their lives endangered,” said See.
See said drunken drivers would not lose out entirely because the measure allows for some designated drunken driver lanes with guard rails.
“I do think that people who drive drunk have some rights, at least, that’s how I see it” See said.
But if setting up separate lanes for drunken drivers proves impossible, See said he would move ahead with the measure anyway. In that case, drunken drivers would still be permitted to drive drunk, provided they didn’t do it on county roads.
During the happy hour at a tavern near the St. Louis County Council Government Center on Wednesday, drunken drivers put away pints of draught while vowing to put away See’s proposal.
“It’s not fair,” said Tipsy Todd of Florissant. “I don’t tell people not to pass me because I don’t like being passed. If I didn’t drive drunk I’d feel the same way.”
Across from the The Drunken Drivers’ Tavern, in a hospital emergency room, Bev E. Rage quietly celebrated on a soda.
Rage, who quit drunken driving three years ago after being involved in a near-fatal collision, recently ended up in the hospital again after being hit by a drunken driver that morning. She said she had her car reinforced front and back but was hit broadside at a stop light.
“I think they should have a place to drive drunk – but I think it should be separated by a guard rail,” Rage said. “They can drive stoned 200 miles a day if they want, but I don’t want them coming at me.”

*A parody, by Martin Pion