Clayton aldermen unanimously approve smoke-free air law

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!

6 responses to “Clayton aldermen unanimously approve smoke-free air law

  1. Mr. Pion, Mayor Goldstein and the Clayton aldermen, in violation of even basic courtesy, refused to receive any presentation by the manufacturers of the air filtration systems 5 Clayton venues have installed to remove secondhand smoke. You claim to be a rigorous scientist. On what basis do you claim that “The mayor and aldermen looked at the evidence on secondhand smoke and whether there was any good alternative to smoke-free air”. I expect a rigorous answer to this question.

    • Mr. Hannegan, Missouri GASP had offered at considerable expense to bring in Mr. James Repace, an internationally recognized expert on SHS, to testify during the hearings. Mayor Goldstein replied that it wouldn’t be necessary because she and her fellow aldermen had carefully reviewed the scientific evidence and concluded what you quoted above. I assume that one scientific reference source would have been the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on SHS. In the preface to that Report USSG Dr. Richard H. Carmona wrote:

      “Restrictions on smoking can control exposures effectively, but technical approaches involving air cleaning or a greater exchange of indoor with outdoor air cannot.”

      This is echoed in the following conclusions from that report on page 649, Chapter 10: Control of Secondhand Smoke Exposure, on-line here.

      “3. Establishing smoke-free workplaces is the only effective way to ensure that secondhand smoke exposure does not occur in the workplace.

      10. Exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by air cleaning or mechanical air exchange.”

  2. Congratulations to Mayor Goldstein and the Clayton alderpersons. They have shown the way for St. louis County. Perhaps when the other communities see that the sky isn’t falling on Clayton they too will get busy and pass legislation to protect the health of their citizens.

  3. Way to go, this is a wonderful thing. I hope more follow suit.

  4. Mr. Pion, I believe that Mayor Goldstein and the Clayton Aldermen claimed to you that they have done research on this issue. Yet when they spoke at the hearing, I heard no indication that they had examined both sides of this issue.

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