Battle lines drawn over smoking in St. Louis City

Below is a rough transcript taken from KTVI Fox 2 News on-line featuring St. Louis City Ald. Lyda Krewson’s proposed smoke-free air ordinance, which is due to be introduced in May. The story, which aired on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/cs4ect

Ald. Krewson interview by Fox 2 News reporter, Betsy Bruce

Ald. Krewson interview by Fox 2 News reporter, Betsy Bruce

“The battle lines are being drawn over an effort to prevent smoking in public places in St. Louis City. Critics warn it could hurt the local economy. Supporters say it will clear the air of second hand smoke.

St. Louis City Alderwoman Lyda Krewson (D) 28th Ward is ready to introduce an ordinance to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to ban smoking in public facilities ranging from bars to offices and even outdoor restaurants.

“The science behind second hand smoke is pretty clear. It’s really detrimental to our health,” said Krewson. Opponents argue it should be an individual’s option to go into a business where smoking is allowed. But the alderwoman said many workers do not have the option of leaving a job to avoid second hand smoke.

Under the measure as currently written no smoking would be allowed outdoors within 15 feet of an exit door, an operable window or an outdoor cafe. Bob Fuqua, manager of Hill Cigar Shop complained such laws “tread on the toes of individual liberty.” Although the measure would not stop him from selling cigars, it would prevent patrons from smoking them inside the business. That would also impact “cigar clubs” at local hotels and “cigar dinners” at restaurants.

A section of the bill prohibits its enforcement until St. Louis County has a similar law on the books. “We don’t want to pit one St. Louis business bar, restaurant against a St. Louis County bar or restaurant,” explained Krewson. “We are a region here and hopefully we can tackle some of these issues regionally.”

For a copy of the draft go to http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/?p=5750. Once it is introduced on May 1 you can also find a copy on the St. Louis City web site at http://stlcin.missouri.org/alderman/reports.cfm.

Opponents web site: http://keepstlouisfree.blogspot.com.”

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