It’s official! On Tuesday, July 14, 2009, the mayor and aldermen of the City of Clayton unanimously approved an historic smoke-free air bill at its second and final reading. It won’t go into effect until July 1, 2010, for existing establishments (effective immediately for new businesses) but it’s very welcome news.
The mayor and aldermen looked at the evidence on secondhand smoke and whether there was any good alternative to smoke-free air, such as the air cleaners being aggressively promoted by Mr. Bill Hannegan. They rightly concluded that only a comprehensive smoke-free air law could provide the protection that citizens and employees need and businesses should provide.
By this action Clayton is reclaiming the leadership role it established when it became only the second municipality in metro St. Louis to enact a limited smoke-free air ordinance in 1988. That followed a successful effort by former Alderman (and later Mayor) Ben Uchitelle, who spent three years pursuing this goal.
This is not welcome news to those opposed to such laws, who have swallowed all the old arguments developed and used by the tobacco lobby over the years, and regurgitate them ad nauseam. Some of those arguments are in the on-line Comments section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch immediately following the story on the vote by reporter Phil Sutin. [Please click here to view.]
Congratulations to all those who made this very important victory possible, Missouri GASP and its members among them!