KSDK TV 3/16/2010: “Lake St. Louis Board of Alderman approves smoking ban”

KSDK-TV Channel 5 did a good story featuring the owner of “The Pub” in Lake St. Louis. According to the interview, owner John Bagwell specifically caters to smokers, whom he claims are “90 to 95%” of his customers.

John Bagwell, owner The Pub, Lake St. Louis

Interestingly, not all of his customers were unhappy about the prospect of The Pub going smoke-free in the future. Juli Good, acknowledging that smoking was bad, added she’d go outside if she needed to smoke.

Kitty Harrison, manager of BC’s Kitchen restaurant in Lake St. Louis, which opened as a smoke-free establishment, listed the advantages of operating smoke-free, including it being a healthier environment, no secondhand smoke odor in fabric and carpeting, no cigarette burns, and less cleaning, quite apart from attracting customers.

Ald. John Pellerito, Lake St. Louis

Alderman John Pellerito was also interviewed after the council vote, stressing it was a health and safety issue.

The full transcript, courtesy of ksdk.com, follows:

Lake Saint Louis approves smoking ban

By Mike Garrity, KSDK

A big decision Monday night in Lake St. Louis. With a 4-2 vote, the Board of Alderman has approved a citywide smoking ban in all restaurants, bars, and enclosed areas.

The board’s approval means Lake St. Louis is the first city in St. Charles County to go smoke free. As you might imagine, not everyone is happy about it.

“I’m going to say at least 90 to 95 percent of people come down here to smoke. I mean it’s a big smoking bar,” says John Bagwell.

Bagwell owns “The Pub” in Lake St. Louis, where operating a bar with an atmosphere that’s friendly to smokers is his niche. By law he does not serve food and has posted a large sign alerting all who enter that the pub is a “full smoking” establishment.

Bagwell, many of his customers, and Lake St. Louis’ Mayor, feel a citywide smoking ban will infringe on the independence of Lake St. Louis business owners and that it will drive business over into neighboring O’Fallon.

“I think they need to let the people have their own choice – the owners. Not make a vote, but the owners make their own choice,” says Bagwell.

One of Bagwell’s customers, Amy George, says when the ban goes into effect she’ll patronize businesses where she is able to smoke.

“I won’t spend my money here – I’d go somewhere where you could smoke. I don’t go to places over the river cause you can’t smoke anywhere. I come here because you can smoke and feel comfortable,” says George.

But not all Bagwell’s customers are against banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and enclosed areas.

Juli Good is one smoker who supports the ban.

Juli Good, smoker, favors smoke-free air law

“Stop the smoking. It’s bad, it stinks, it’s overwhelming, and we can go outside if we need to smoke,” says Good.

And the Alderman who sponsored the bill behind the ban, John Pellerito, says it’s all about public safety and health.

“This is about public health, public welfare. This is about the safety of the citizens and the people who work here,” says Pellerito.

Meanwhile the manager of the popular Lake St. Louis restaurant “BC’s Kitchen” says her restaurant has been smoke-free indoors and on its patio since it opened in August 2008.

And she feels that’s helped attract customers.

“Yeah, I think it’s a healthier environment,” says Kitty Harrison, who manages BC’s Kitchen. “The smoke in fabric, carpeting, cigarette burns on wood, really does make an unclean, maybe, a little less clean environment, harder to take care of.”

The new smoking ban in Lake St. Louis will go into effect in six months time.


3 responses to “KSDK TV 3/16/2010: “Lake St. Louis Board of Alderman approves smoking ban”

  1. Government gone wild

    The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling from sea to sea has nothing to do with protecting people from the “threat of second-hand smoke” but are themselves symptoms of a far more grievous threat: a cancer that has been spreading for decades throughout the body politic, reaching even the tiniest organs of local government. This cancer is the only real hazard involved – the cancer of unlimited government power.

    The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom menace but rather, if it were harmful, what would be the proper reaction? Should anti-smoking activists satisfy themselves with educating people about the potential danger and allow them to make their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force people to make the “right” decision?

    It seems they’ve made their choice. Loudly billed as measures that only affect “public places,” they have actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and offices – places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose customers are free to go elsewhere if they don’t like the smoke. Some local bans even harass smokers outdoors.

    The decision to smoke or to avoid “second-hand” smoke, should be made by each individual according to his own values and assessment of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend or love, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married or divorced, and so on.

    All these decisions involve risks; some may have harmful consequences or invite disapproval from others. But the individual must be free to make these decisions because his life belongs to him, not to others, and only his own judgment can guide him through it.

    Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Smokers are a minority, practicing a habit often considered annoying and unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.

    That is why these bans are far more threatening than few stray whiffs of tobacco smoke while waiting for a table at your favourite restaurant. The anti-smoking crusaders point in exaggerated alarm at those tiny wisps while they unleash the systematic and unlimited intrusion of government into our lives.

    • This is a long and somewhat rambling comment, factually inaccurate on secondhand smoke, but I’ve allowed it. However, as received it was weirdly formatted, each line being shortened by a line break so I spent time reformatting it. If this happens again I will simply reject your comment since I don’t have time for this.

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