Bill Hannegan (KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE!) and Martin Pion (President, Missouri GASP) were interviewed by Charles Jaco, Fox 2 News, on Friday, October 30, 2009, for The Jaco Report, aired on Saturday at 5:33 pm – 5:46 pm, and rebroadcast on Sunday morning between 8 and 9 am.
Following is the program description, taken from Fox 2 News on the web:
(KTVI – FOX2now.com) – On The Jaco Report, putting the smoke out. The debate over indoor smoking bans. On Tuesday, voters in St. Louis County and in Kirkwood vote on some form of indoor smoking ban. Tobacco remains just about the only product that, when used as directed, will kill you. Cities like Chicago and New York have banned indoor public smoking. Illinois has outlawed most indoor public smoking. Missouri has not. Charles reviews the pros and cons of Tuesdays’ vote.
Bill Hannegan has posted the video on his blog KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! at http://keepstlouisfree.blogspot.com/2009/10/jaco-report.html where you can also read his and other comments on the show from pro-smoking advocates.
Charles Jaco kicked off by addressing Bill Hannegan:
Bill Hannegan, basic question: the people who are against this often frame this in the realm of choice or individual rights, but yet if one goes into an establishment, an indoor space, where somebody’s smoking they’re essentially poisoning people near them. That’s doesn’t seem to be an individual rights issue: it seems to be a pretty clear-cut public health issue, isn’t it?
BH: Actually, we have no problem with people banning smoking in private places, we just would ask that those bans be imposed by the business owner and not by the government. We strongly lobbied the county council, for instance, to impose a compromise measure to keep minors away from smoking, and also install modern technology to reduce the exposure of both patrons and staff to secondhand smoke to an absolute minimum.
CJ: But at the end of the day doesn’t this just come down to money? In other words, business owners stand to lose money because of this, are against this and everybody else is for it.
BH: No, a lot of business owners that have voluntarily banned smoking very much oppose this and a lot of nonsmokers. And we’re counting on nonsmokers to show up and vote against this because they see this as a freedom and a property rights issue.
CJ to Martin Pion:
Why not have the free choice, where if I am faced with an array of, say, restaurants in downtown Kirkwood, I can say, alright these two ban smoking, these two don’t, therefore I’m going to give my patronage to these two and that way the consumer votes with his feet. Sooner or later the business owner gets the message and they ban smoking.
MP: So what you have to do is put up signs saying restaurants allow flaking asbestos tiles then. You have to put up signs saying this restaurant doesn’t have good food handling (practices) and you may get food poisoning. And this restaurant isn’t going to abide by any other rules that may be out there concerning public safety.
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