P-D 2/2/2010: “Bill calls for statewide smoking ban in Missouri”

This story appeared in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well as the St. Louis Business Journal. The possibility of comprehensive statewide smoke-free air legislation to greatly strengthen the existing Missouri Clean Indoor Air Act of 1993 has been in the works for awhile but is only now receiving some publicity as the new session in the Missouri legislature gets underway and bills are being filed.

Rep. Jill Schupp (D),
Creve Coeur

Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, was at a Tobacco Free Missouri St. Louis awards luncheon on December 10, 2009 in St. Louis. She is a local co-sponsor of this legislation, House Bill (HB) 1766. Rep. Walt Bivins, R-S. St. Louis County, is the sponsor.

A blog about that luncheon with photos. of Rep. Schupp, noting her mention of the intention to introduce this bill, can be found by clicking here.

To learn where the bill stands currently click here. The same web page has a link to the text of the bill as introduced.

Bill calls for statewide smoking ban in Missouri
By Juana Summers

JEFFERSON CITY — Smoking would be banned in many public places statewide under legislation proposed Monday by two St. Louis-area legislators.

The bill, which has not yet been assigned to a committee, would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, shopping malls and gambling facilities, among other public places.

Rep. Walt Bivins (R)
St. Louis

“We’re on three sides surrounded by no smoking states,” said Rep. Walt Bivins, R-St. Louis, the bill’s primary sponsor. “I just think it’s time we pass this for the health of all of us.”

Bivins and Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, hammered out the specifics of the legislation with support from the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society, who have, in the past, opposed bans at the city and county level because they were too lax for the groups’ liking.

Both are optimistic that the bill has a strong chance of moving through the legislative process. However, critics, including Senate leadership, say the proposal is unlikely to pick up much steam.

“I’m still not convinced this is the year that happens,” said Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields, who said restaurant owners in the state, already facing challenges, would likely oppose the bill because of an expected hit to their business.

Sen. Joan Bray (D)
St. Louis County

Last year, Sen. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis, sponsored a smoking ban bill, but it received little support from other lawmakers and was never heard in committee.

The current version comes at a time when key parts of the state have already approved some form of clean-air legislation, potentially making a statewide ban more politically palatable.

Three of Missouri’s largest cities — Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia — already have some form of indoor smoking ban. Last November, St. Louis County voters approved an anti-smoking measure that will trigger a ban in the city of St. Louis as well.

Barbara Fraser (D)
St. Louis County Councillor

“Those are all population centers in our state,” said St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, who led the county push for a smoking ban. “If one connects the dots, you can see that this is certainly an important issue to many, many people in this state.”

Both the St. Louis and St. Louis County bans take effect next year.

The state measure would contain fewer exemptions, which helped it garner the support of groups such as the American Cancer Society, which did not endorse the county and city bans.


Jake Wagman of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.font>

16 responses to “P-D 2/2/2010: “Bill calls for statewide smoking ban in Missouri”

  1. If one connects the dots, you can see that this is certainly an important issue to Big Pharma and the ACS, not We The People! You will be voted out!

    • Since I’m not an elected official this makes no sense. Can you explain to what you’re referring. This conspiracy theory about Big Pharma is so much nonsense, as far as I can tell, and I’ve been involved in this issue for over 25 years.

  2. harleyrider1978

    Statewide smoking ban to die in the Senate

    INDIANAPOLIS – A House-passed bill to ban smoking in most Hoosier restaurants and workplaces will die in the Senate this year because its leader believes Indiana is “not ready for it right now.”

    But Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Wednesday he expects the state will eventually adopt a ban.
    “As you see more and more counties and cities passing smoking bans, the opportunity for a statewide ban increases and will gain momentum,” Long said. “I just don’t think we’re there yet.”
    House Bill 1131 passed the House 73-26 late Tuesday. It imposes a statewide smoking ban that exempts bars, private clubs, casinos and tobacco businesses. It also allows smoking in the private areas of small businesses where all employees are family members.
    Originally, the bill would have imposed a comprehensive ban – with exemptions only for casinos and horse tracks. But the House expanded the exceptions.
    Even with all those holes, Long said his members – and Hoosiers – probably won’t support it.
    “It’s a tough environment in a short session and a tough economy for doing it,” Long said. “I fault no one for voting for that. I just don’t think we’re ready to consider that in the Senate right now.”
    But the bill’s author, Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said he believes Hoosiers support a comprehensive, statewide ban and he intends to keep working toward that goal.
    A poll released nearly a year ago by the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air found that 64 percent of Hoosiers support a law prohibiting smoking “in indoor public places, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, casinos, restaurants and bars.” Nearly half of all voters — 49 percent – strongly favor such a law, the poll showed.
    Thirty-four states have smoke-free laws in place, but their exemptions vary.
    A number of Indiana communities have passed smoke-free laws. Many exempt bars, including the one in Jeffersonville. But others – including the one in Bloomington – ban smoking in all public places.


    • It’s a bit of a long post, harleyrider1978, but you’re getting better. It appears you made no attempt to summarize an original article. Please provide more of a summary next time, plus the link to the article.

  3. I am from Ohio. We have had a smoking ban for 3 years. It has been disastrous. More than 360 bars have closed. This does not include veterans clubs, bowling alleys or bingo halls. The ban is unenforceble. In fact 38 of 88 counties have opted out of enforcement. Now the anti-smokers and the state are fighting over 248 million in Master Settlement Agreement funds. Please do not follow the trend and lead your people like sheeple over the cliff of no return.

    • There’s a certain lack of rationality here. On the one hand, you write about all these bars closing, but on the other you argue that the ban is unenforceable. The two things are mutually exclusive, I’d have thought, but in any case, protecting people’s health takes precedence over tobacco industry profits. I suppose the worst economy since the Great Depression couldn’t have been a factor?!

  4. Just in case these Legislators haven’t noticed, every State that has passed a Smoking Ban has gone deeper in the hole than those around them. Ohio is a good example. New York is Bankrupt and going deeper with every ban they institute. If your looking for a real catastrophe look at California.

  5. Mogasp, the bars that went under are where the ban is being inforced. Mutually exclusive?

    As far as protecting people’s health, only one claim has been filed with Ohio’s Bureau of Workmen’s Comp. over second hand smoke. It was denied due to lack of proof. Meanwhile, people who go outside to smoke are being robbed and worse. Which is worse for one’s health?

    • Can you document the connection between bars going under and enforcement? But regardless, this is still about health. Your counter argument isn’t convincing. You make it sound like there’s a robber waiting outside every bar now! Oh well, in this economy what can you expect?

  6. To be more specific, during the first year of the ban when most counties were enforcing, 316 bars closed. One county after another then decided not to enforce the ban either due to the cost or the devastation that it was causing small business owners.

    Here is a letter from one of our senators to the rest of the legislature due to the police reports he has seen.

    Please review the enclosed. The public health benefits of clean indoor air in a smoke free environment need to be balanced against the crimes being committed against smokers forced out into the dark night to be preyed upon by robbers and thieves. Common sense tells me we should give the private clubs and family-owned bar businesses some relief.

    Bill Seitz

    • There are alternatives to being “forced outside to smoke” such as a) not smoking or b) nicotine replacement therapy or c) quitting smoking, which would be best of all for the smoker.
      What you’re basically saying is that we cannot require that any place open to the public or serving as a place of work be smoke-free because the hapless smoker might be mugged while taking a smoking break. Give ME a break!

  7. Many people do not like your alternatives. Forcing your and pharma’s agenda does not set well with a lot of people. Give me a break! Ever heard of private property?

    • Missouri GASP’s “agenda” is encapsulated in the following three primary objectives (posted on our blog at https://mogasp.wordpress.com/about/):

      Smoke-free air for nonsmokers.
      Smoke-free lives for children.
      A society where smoking is done only between consenting adults in private.

      I have no knowledge of pharma’s agenda but you evidently do. I assume it’s this nonsense about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation trying to impose the nicotine patch on everyone.

      As for the “private property” argument, we are talking about private property that is open for business, not private homes in which the public is not invited or used as a place of work. As such, it’s subject to a whole raft of safety and health regulations, of which you cannot seriously be ignorant. Your argument is simply a red herring!

  8. You have lofty anti smoking goals suitable for you and yours only. However, there are more of us out there who disagree wholeheartedly with your progressive eutopian agenda. By the way, children are not welcome in bars – just thought you should know.

  9. This one has me laughing hilariously. “A society where smoking is done only between consenting adults in private.” Are you somehow equating smoking to sex? LOL!!!!

    • Exactly! If we don’t consider that public sex is acceptable behavior, despite it affecting nothing other than our moral sensibilities, then the same should apply to public smoking, which is far more harmful.

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