Urban Review STL says “Vote Yes on Prop N”

I just learned of the post below on Urban Review STL, an influential blog dealing with St. Louis City issues, written by Steve Patterson, whom I’m pleased to know personally. He is writing in support of Prop N from the same vantage point as Missouri GASP: that it has loopholes which shouldn’t exist but it’s still strong enough to vote for it.

Vote Yes on Prop N
Author: Steve Patterson October 30th, 2009

This Tuesday voters in St. Louis County will determine how soon much of the Missouri side of the region goes smoke-free. Well, mostly smoke-free.

If passed, Prop N would prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces, including bars, restaurants, concert venues and indoor and outdoor sports facilities. It would also ban smoking on sidewalks and other outdoor spaces within 15 feet of an entrance to a public building.

The ordinance would exempt casino gaming floors; cigar and tobacco stores; hotel and long-term care rooms that have been designated for smokers; designated smoking areas of Lambert St. Louis International Airport; and bars that receive 25 percent or less of their gross sales from food. (Source: West End Word)

I think many on both sides of the issue can agree the county and the city’s bill have too many exemptions and the wider a smoke-free policy is the less disadvantage any business may be. That is where agreement ends.

Despite the flaws I hope that voters in St. Louis County support Prop N so our region takes another step closer to being totally smoke-free in establishments open to the public. The pro-smoking groups will tell you the smoking rate in St. Louis is higher than in other parts of the country. That is about all I’ll believe from them. The fact is many places want to go smoke free but are afraid to do so on their own. They need the law to make it so competing restaurants in their immediate vicinity are also smoke-free.

Secondhand smoke is a public health threat, just like unsanitary restaurant kitchens or unsafe stores.
For workers who spend their days and nights in smoke-filled bars and restaurants, the danger is magnified.

They include many young people working at their first jobs. Often, those workers aren’t offered health insurance and aren’t in an economic position to quit.

People shouldn’t be forced to risk their health just to earn a living. (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial)

I agree, this is about the health of our community. To me this is an important step in the right direction.

– Steve Patterson

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