Monthly Archives: July 2010

NPR 7/16/2010: “Death Saves You Money”

Hot on the heels of Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan’s unwise observations on how smoking might save Social Security by inducing premature death comes an NPR look into the same general subject (see below). Again, it refers back to Philip Morris’s ill-fated Czech study which concluded that smoking is good for society because it kills people off early so they don’t strain social services, etc.

The Friday Podcast: Death Saves You Money

July 16, 2010 06:24 pm

Photo: Mel Evans/AP
You can listen to the podcast at:

A decade ago, Philip Morris commissioned a study that found smokers in the Czech Republic were actually saving society money.

A big part of the savings: Smoking tends to kill people while they’re still young, saving society the long-term costs of caring for them as they get older.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this finding blew up in the company’s face.

Newspapers around the world picked up the story: “Smoking Cuts Elderly Costs, and Elderly

The company furiously backtracked: “We understand the outrage that has been expressed and we sincerely regret this extraordinarily unfortunate incident.”

Activists used the study’s findings against the industry — and, paradoxically, sought to undermine the study’s conclusions.

On today’s Planet Money, we tell the story of the study. And we look more broadly at the economics of this stuff.

For more on the story of the Czech smoking study, listen to our piece on this weekend’s This American Life. (Find out when the show airs on your local station.)

For further reading: Here’s the Philip Morris 2001 Czech study. Here’s a frequently cited study from the mid-’90s comparing cigarette taxes to the costs smoking imposes on society. Here’s another study on the subject from the Congressional Research Service.

Shadow FDA Panel Wants Menthol Out of Cigarettes

To coincide with a two-day meeting of the government-appointed FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Panel, which includes representatives from the tobacco industry, a Shadow Panel set up earlier this year issued a consensus statement today, which is appended in its entirety below.

The Shadow Panel is the brainchild of Dr. Michael Siegel and Dr. Alan Blum, two leaders in the tobacco control field, and both controversial in their own ways. Dr. Siegel, for example, maintains a blog in which he has often criticized the movement for stretching or exaggerating the science underpinning tobacco control, thereby opening it up to charges of deceit from critics.

Dr. Alan Blum has also been a pioneer in the field and has many credits to his name, including starting Doctors Ought to Care, and editing the New England Journal of Medicine which devoted several issues entirely to the smoking pandemic, an unprecedented action.

Further background information can be found following the press release immediately below:

The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Shadow Panel today released the following statement, issued with the unanimous support of its members:

“The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Shadow Panel supports the elimination of the use of menthol in cigarettes. There is strong evidence that menthol acts as an anesthetic agent that makes cigarette smoking more appealing by masking the harshness of burning tobacco. The addition of menthol deceives consumers into thinking that cigarettes are less harsh and therefore safer. Furthermore, for more than half a century, menthol cigarette brands have been disproportionately targeted to African Americans.

The FDA Shadow Panel wishes to emphasize two additional points. First, we believe that the FDA is digging a hole for itself by trying to provide a scientific argument for increased addiction, morbidity, or mortality attributable to menthol cigarettes. The central question is not a scientific one, but a marketing matter.

Second, there is no evidence that any safer cigarette exists. Congress chose to ban flavored cigarettes not because they are more harmful or addictive, but because it believed that candy and fruit flavors were a significant factor in the marketing of cigarettes. The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee has no choice but to use the same criteria to evaluate menthol. The central question is whether menthol plays a role in marketing cigarettes to consumers. The FDA Shadow Panel believes it is undeniable that menthol is used to increase the appeal of cigarettes.”

The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Shadow Panel was formed to monitor the FDA’s new agency on tobacco and its Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Panel, as well as to issue alternative or parallel consensus statements and recommendations. Each of the members of the Shadow Panel has worked for at least a decade to counteract the tobacco pandemic, and none has a conflict of interest with regard to the tobacco industry or pharmaceutical industry.

The members of the Shadow Panel are:

Alan Blum, MD – Co-Chair
Director, Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society
University of Alabama

K.H. (Heinz) Ginzel, MD
Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Edward Anselm, MD
Medical Director, Americhoice
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

John R. Polito, JD
Founder and Director of
Co-Founder of Freedom from Nicotine

Eric Solberg, MS
Associate Dean, University of Texas Health Sciences Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH – Co-Chair
Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health

Martin Pion, BSc
President and Founder, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.

Michael S. Givel, PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Oklahoma

John O’Hara, BS, MS, PhD
President and Founder, Maryland GASP

For more information, see the FDA Shadow Panel web site at:

Bio for Michael Siegel, M.D.

Dr. Michael Siegel is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. He has more than 24 years of experience in tobacco control research and advocacy, having begun his career in the anti-tobacco field as a college student who wrote and successfully lobbied for smoke-free workplace legislation in Rhode Island.

After graduating from Brown University with a degree in environmental studies and receiving his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Siegel completed a residency in preventive medicine at the University of California, Berkeley.

He then served as a medical epidemiologist in the EIS program at the Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he conducted research on secondhand smoke, tobacco advertising, and the effects of tobacco control policies.

At Boston University School of Public Health, he conducts research on a wide range of tobacco control issues, focusing on the evaluation of national, state, and local policies. He is the author of the book Marketing Public Health: Strategies to Promote Social Change, and the developer and author of the most widely-read tobacco policy blog:
The Rest of the Story — Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary.

Bio for Alan Blum, M.D.

Dr. Alan Blum is a family physician and Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa. He is the first holder of the Gerald Leon Wallace Endowed Chair in Family Medicine at the University’s College of Community Health Sciences.

One of the foremost authorities on tobacco problems, Dr. Blum is the Director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, which he established in 1999. He devotes much of his time at the Center to creating museum exhibitions on tobacco-related issues through the Center, which holds the largest archive of original tobacco marketing and tobacco industry materials in the world.

From 1977 to 2002, he directed DOC (Doctors Ought to Care), a national nonprofit organization that created pioneering strategies in the clinic, classroom and community to counteract tobacco use and promotion. He served on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine from 1987 to 1999.

Dr. Blum has given more than 1,700 invited lectures in all 50 states, and has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. As editor of the New York State Journal of Medicine and the Medical Journal of Australia in the 1980’s, he published the first-ever theme issues of any medical journal devoted entirely to a consideration for ending the world tobacco pandemic.

For his work, Dr. Blum has received the Surgeon General’s Medallion, presented by Dr. C. Everett Koop, the National Public Health Award of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Gleitsman Foundation Award for health activism, the annual McGovern Achievement Award from the American School Health Association, and the Washington Monthly Journalism Award.

P-D 7/16/2010 Bill McClellan: “Could smoking save Social Security?”

Bill McClellan is a Libertarian in his views, especially when he starts writing about smoking. But his column today lauding smokers because they save the country so much on Social Security and Medicare is an argument I’ve seen before. It is also badly flawed.

Back in 2001, Philip Morris caused an international outcry after their Czech operation, which controlled 80% of the market, released a study concluding that smoking was a money maker for the government when balancing cigarette tax revenues against the costs to society of people living longer.

A quick Google search turned up an article from the Czechoslovak Prague Post titled Report says smoking has benefits that describes the Philip Morris-inspired report and notes fallacies in the argument. It’s reproduced in its entirety following McClellan’s piece below.

Just one more thought: A productive member of society, hopefully including you, can contribute long after retirement. My wife is now retired from teaching French but is not only an important part of my life, but has also become an innovative fiber artist, and is active in the local arts community in Ferguson.

It’s sad whenever anyone dies but suggesting it’s a good thing for society if people die earlier? That is crass and illogical. We want people to live long, healthy and productive lives, which is why I’m opposed to secondhand smoke and promote bicycling for local transportation.

Could smoking save Social Security?

Bill McClellan •, 314-340-8143 Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:00 am | (28) Comments

Medicare is going broke. There are disagreements about when it will be completely broke and how it can be fixed — really, if it can be fixed — but everybody agrees it’s going broke.

Same thing with Social Security. Private pensions, too. More and more companies are opting out of the pension business. 401(k) plans are the new thing.

For the most part, only public employees enjoy “defined benefit” pension plans, and that burden is becoming too much for state and local governments.

Just as baby boomers are preparing to retire, the whole notion of retirement is getting fuzzy.

Why not have a smoke and think about this?

Yes, a nice calming smoke. Tap that cigarette against the table, put it in your mouth, light it up, inhale, hold that smoke for a few seconds, and now, slowly exhale. You feel better, don’t you? You look cool, too. You really do. Sophisticated.

I am not suggesting that cigarettes will solve all of our problems, but think about Medicare and Social Security and pensions. Why are all these things in trouble? Why is the whole notion of retirement so problematic?

Because people live too long.

Nobody disputes that. When Social Security was founded, few people lived much past 65. Many workers didn’t live long enough to collect any Social Security. Those who did make it to retirement lived only a few years. A system like that will work.

When large numbers of people live 20 years past retirement, the system begins to break down. Obviously, the same thing happens with private pensions.

What if somebody were to devise a product that people could voluntarily take and would cut 10 or 15 years off their life expectancy? What if they would not only voluntarily take the product, but would pay hefty taxes on the product while they took it?

We already have that product. We just don’t appreciate it.

I thought about this when I saw the story last week that St. Louis County is spending $7.6 million from a federal stimulus grant to launch what is being called a “major assault” on smoking.

You don’t have to be a libertarian to think that government ought not concern itself with people’s private habits.

Let’s try to be dispassionate about this. Some personal choices should be discouraged. Drinking and driving, for instance. In the first place, you can kill or maim somebody else. In the second place, you can kill or maim yourself.

Society has legitimate reasons for discouraging this behavior. We do not want people to die in their 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s. Those are their productive years. Those are the years during which they have family responsibilities.

So it makes sense to punish people who drink and drive. It makes sense to spend money to educate people about the dangers of drinking and driving. It makes sense to try to stigmatize this behavior.

But smoking? That behavior involves a long-term health problem. There is no societal purpose served in discouraging smoking. Some people might argue that smoking causes health problems, and those health problems are a drain on society’s resources. To an extent, that is true.

But so is this — everybody eventually will get sick and die. A huge chunk of the health care services you will receive in your lifetime, you will receive in the last weeks, maybe months, of your life. This is true whether you get that care at 65 or at 85.

Perhaps in a more rational society, that argument could be refuted. If we were to decide that death was a natural part of the cycle of life, and that at some point we ought not spend large sums of money merely to prolong the end of life, then one could argue that we spend more money on people who get sick and die than we do on people who simply grow old and die.

But we don’t. We fight death whenever it approaches, and if somebody argues that perhaps we shouldn’t, somebody else will yell about “death panels” and “killing grannie” and we quickly revert to the idea of spending large sums of money to prolong the end of life.

In other words, that end-of-life money is going to be spent no matter what.

So I say that if a person — an adult — wants to engage in behavior that will shorten his or her life span, the rest of us ought to be grateful. Maybe we don’t want to encourage smoking — that might be crass — but we certainly should not discourage it.

St. Louis County could find better ways to spend that stimulus money — maybe fund a campaign about the joys of eating tasty, high-cholesterol foods. Live better, not longer. That’s a message that society ought to be pushing.

Report says smoking has benefits
Report concludes that smoking is good for government finances

By Kate Swoger

Smoking may be bad for your health, but tobacco giant Philip Morris believes it’s good for government coffers.

The Czech arm of the multinational cigarette manufacturer has produced a study that concludes that smoking brought in about 5.8 billion Kc ($145 million) more than it cost the government in 1999.

The controversial report, commissioned last year by Philip Morris from consultants Arthur D. Little, took about six months to prepare.

It calculated the benefit to public finances by comparing the income brought in by taxes and savings from early deaths caused by smoking — 21.46 billion Kc — against the expense of treating smoking-related illnesses, absenteeism and lost income tax due to higher mortality — 15.65 billion Kc.

“These figures are part of the debate about smoking. Smoking is a very controversial thing,” said Marek Hlavica of Philip Morris, which controls about 80 percent of the Czech cigarette market. “To bring something new into the discussion … we initiated this study.”

But some medical experts question the report’s conclusions, arguing that it greatly underestimates the health-care costs linked to smoking.

Eva Kralikova, a smoking-prevention specialist at Charles University’s First Medical Faculty, estimates that smoking-related health-care costs are about two or three times higher than the Arthur D. Little figure of 12.5 billion Kc.

She also argues that the report’s supposition that lives are shortened by an average of 4.3 years is too low. Czech smokers — who make up almost 30 percent of the adult population — actually shorten their lives by an average of eight to 10 years, she said.

In March, Prime Minister Milos Zeman joked about the morbid financial benefits of smoking during a visit to India. He surprised his hosts by lighting up during a business seminar.

“In the Czech Republic,” he explained, “we have high consumer tax on tobacco products. So by buying cigarettes, I am basically increasing state revenues. It is also known that heavy smokers die younger, and then it is not necessary to pay them pensions.”

The Little report calculates that the state saved 1.19 billion Kc in 1999 on housing for the elderly, pension and social expenses and health-care costs due to smoking-induced deaths.

Kralikova finds the consideration distasteful.

“Following that logic, the best recommendation to government would be to kill all people on the day of their retirement,” she said.

Sicker lives
But she also questions the financial benefits of these truncated lives. Kralikova points to a sweeping study produced by the World Bank last year that countered the popular belief that early deaths of smokers save money, concluding that shortened, often sicker, lives are more expensive than the longer lives of nonsmokers.

Petr Sadilek, head of Prague’s Medical Information Center, is wrapping up his own study of the cost of treating smoking-related illness. He believes smoking accounted for about 22 billion Kc in health-care expenditures in 1999, about 9 billion Kc more than the Little report concluded.

“Philip Morris is starting to feel rising pressure to restrict or control smokers and smoking, which puts its profits directly in danger,” Sadilek said. “That is why they are trying to stress the so-called positive aspects of smoking.”

For its part, Philip Morris, which produces Marlboro, L&M, Petra and Sparta cigarettes, says it realizes the report will be debated. The detailed documentation of the report’s sources make it transparent and allow for such a critique, said Hlavica.

“Probably some people find it quite difficult to accept that smoking can bring anything [positive],” he said, emphasizing that the report is not meant as a comment on the social or ethical aspects of smoking.

“This is purely an economic study … nothing less, nothing more.”

But Sadilek points out that of the country’s 109,537 deaths in 1998, 24,897, or 22.7 percent, were caused by smoking.

“There is a Jewish proverb: He who saves one life saves the entire world,” he said. “Every life that we save is meaningful.”

— Krystof Hilsky contributed to this report.

Kate Swoger’s e-mail address is

SJ 7/13/2010: “Clearing the air: Ballwin businesses adapt to indoor smoking ban”

A good article on how non-smoking in indoor public places, including privately-owned bars, has become the norm, thanks to the groundbreaking legislative effort of former Ballwin Alderman Charles Gatton.

My only beef with the article is the reporter’s constant use of the word “ban” – it appears 21 times! – rather than describing this as what it’s actually doing: promoting smoke-free air in indoor environments open to the public or used as a place of work. If smokers want to harm their health where it doesn’t affect anyone else no one’s stopping them!

Clearing the air: Ballwin businesses adapt to indoor smoking ban

(Photo: Rick graefe/journals) Frank Hines of Ballwin enjoys a cool drink inside smoke-free Bones French Quarter Bar and Grill in Ballwin. The city enacted an indoor smoking ban in January 2006, making it the first municipality in St. Louis County to outlaw indoor smoking.

By Mary Shapiro
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:15 PM CDT

On a recent Friday afternoon at Bones French Quarter Bar and Grill in Ballwin, customers Jim Nunn and pal Steve Schilson of Chesterfield were relaxing, without the wreath of smoke that would have surrounded them in the past.

“Twenty years ago, when I first started coming here, everybody would be smoking in here,” smoker Nunn said. “It doesn’t really bother me that you can’t anymore. The food and drink are good.”

Schilson, a former smoker who quit after coming home from his service in Vietnam, approves of Ballwin’s indoor smoking ban in public places.

“If it was the way it was 20 years ago, I wouldn’t come here,” Schilson said.

Ballwin outlawed indoor smoking in January 2006, making it the first city in St. Louis County to enact a ban. Ballwin’s action came not long after a ban was approved in Arnold in Jefferson County.

Similar laws for Kirkwood and Clayton kicked in this year, and St. Louis County’s and St. Louis city’s bans will take effect in January.

Smoking bans in Ballwin and Arnold were vigorously opposed by bar owners and individuals. Since then, eating and drinking establishment owners, and many individuals, seem to have adjusted to the law.

Brian Armstrong, the owner of Bones, 14766 Manchester Road, had feared he’d lose customers to businesses in neighboring communities that didn’t have bans. In response to the ban, he built an outdoor patio and revamped his business.

“We went from a hole-in-the-wall tavern to putting in new TVs and different types of game tables,” Armstrong said. “I’ve changed staff and the menu, and we’re now catering to a different generation, rather than just smokers. People like the new things, and it worked out.”

He’s 35, and admits most people his age and younger don’t smoke inside most places.

“Since the law passed, I feel we have a younger overall crowd, though customers range in age,” he said. “Without blowing it out of proportion, business is better, but that’s not because of a smoking ban, but to us making improvements, thinking outside the box.”

Candicci’s Restaurant and Bar opened about a year ago at 100 Holloway Road. It’s the fourth restaurant in that space since the Ballwin smoking ban took effect.

Owner Bob Candice moved the restaurant there from Clayton, knowing about the ban from the start. Like Bones, Candicci’s has a big patio outside to accommodate smokers.

“People coming anywhere in Ballwin already knew they couldn’t smoke,” Candice said. “There are less and less smokers in West County. Despite our patio, many of our smokers still go out to the parking lot, because nonsmokers on the patio will give them dirty looks.”

Candice is looking forward to the countywide ban next year and “a level playing field.”

“While I’ve heard some restaurants here didn’t make it after the ban, they go out of business for a lot of reasons,” he said. “I’ve been in business since 1980, and our success is based on a lot of factors, like good food, good service and a friendly atmosphere.”

Charles Gatton, a former alderman who spearheaded the smoking ban legislation in Ballwin, said fallout from the ban was a factor in ending his political career in Ballwin. But he bounced back and he became a consultant for cities like Kirkwood, which wanted to outlaw indoor smoking.

“I had people coming in from all over the area to campaign against me,” he said. “But Ballwin wound up being a trend setter.”

Gatton believes some of restaurants and bars went out of business because of the later recession, competition from businesses opening in Chesterfield Valley or other firms’ remodeling and upgrades to attract customers.

Some were in financial trouble and losing money before the law, Gatton said.

“The restaurant business is very competitive,” he said. “Ballwin had had a gradual and small revenue slide for a few years before this ban was even talked about. But hospitality sales tax revenues went up in Ballwin in 2009.”

Tom Aiken, Ballwin’s city planner/assistant city administrator, agreed.

“The most dire predictions of the effects of the ban were probably overblown, with most concerns being exaggerated,” Aiken said.

About a year after the ban became effective, Ballwin traced all its restaurants’ revenues, based on their business license renewal applications, going back five years for a historic perspective.

“We found a mixed bag,” Aiken said. “Some showed declines, some showed increases, but it was all within the individual restaurant revenue variability we saw over the previous five years. The ban didn’t appear to have any dramatically identifiable impact on revenue.”

Bill Hannegan says Smoke-Free St. Louis making false claims, but MoGASP disagrees

Please note: For reader comments to be considered for publication you must provide your full name. Pseudonyms and first names only are not acceptable. Thanks.

Bill Hannegan, a leading St. Louis-based opponent of smoke-free air who maintains the blog KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! recently copied me on an e-mail accusing Smoke-Free St. Louis of making false claims in support of smoke-free air laws.

His e-mail was addressed to Diana Benanti of the Smoke-Free St. Louis City Coalition, and copied to the following local political leaders: Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein, St. Louis Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, City of St. Louis President Ald. Lewis E. Reed, and County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser.

Mr. Hannegan was again claiming that ventilation is an acceptable alternative to comprehensive smoke-free air laws. It is not, as indicated in my reply to Mr. Hannegan below:

Subject: Re: Smoke-Free St. Louis False Claim -> MoGASP begs to disagree
Date: July 2, 2010 4:31:31 PM CDT
Cc: & 9 more…

Dear Bill,

Thank you for copying me on your e-mail to Diana Benanti of the Smoke-Free St. Louis City Coalition.

As a physicist who has spent considerable time studying the effectiveness of ventilation systems at eliminating the risks posed by secondhand smoke I disagree strongly with your conclusion. Ventilation systems may reduce the risk but not to an acceptable level. Only a totally smoke-free environment in a building can do that.

I have the data to back this up, obtained by an independent environmental consulting company for Missouri GASP, but it has never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I hope to get around to submitting it as a paper one day, but I have no doubt as to its validity. 

However, another peer-reviewed paper I coauthored that also relates to the effectiveness of smoking rooms and some of the same basic science was published in March 2004 by the British Medical Journal in it’s international publication Tobacco Control under the title “Airport smoking rooms don’t work” and may be found here:


Martin Pion, B.Sc.
President, Missouri GASP

On Jul 2, 2010, at 1:38 PM, Bill Hannegan wrote:

Smoke-Free St. Louis:

Smoke-Free St. Louis has lobbied the Clayton Board of Aldermen, the St. Louis County Council, and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen with a false claim still present on your website:

“While ventilation systems can help reduce the smell and sight of cigarette smoke, they are not capable of getting rid of all of the carcinogens. Most cancer-causing particles and all cancer-causing gasses are too small to be trapped by filters.”

Air filtration systems have (been) installed in Clayton, St. Louis City and St. Louis County bars and restaurants that are capable of removing all the components of secondhand smoke, including all carcinogens, from the air. No particle of any sort is too small to be captured. Can you provide some documentation of your claim?

Bill Hannegan

P-D 7/1/2010: “Starting today, Clayton goes smoke-free”

A day for which we’ve certainly been waiting! The St. Louis County seat of government and a major business center in the metro area, the City of Clayton finally went smoke-free in most indoor public places and private workplaces today.

Thanks again to the following elected Clayton representatives for their leadership on this issue:

Mayor Linda Goldstein and her fellow Aldermen, Judy R. Goodman, Andrea Maddox-Dallas, Michelle Harris, Cynthia Garnholz, Alex Berger III, and Steven E. Lichtenfeld.

Thank you all!

Mayor Linda Goldstein

Ald. Judy R. Goodman

Ald. Andrea Maddox-Dallas

Ald. Michelle Harris

Ald. Cynthia Garnholz

Ald. Alex Berger III

Ald. Steven E. Lichtenfeld

This story, as it appeared on the front page of the printed St. Louis Post-Dispatch, had the following odd headline, followed by a more innocuous subheading:

Tobacco now taboo in Clayton
Smoking ban in restaurants, most other businesses takes effect today.

It certainly isn’t tobacco, per se, that’s the problem: it’s burning it and the resulting air pollution that’s the issue! Somebody cottoned on to that when it was posted on-line. Whoever that was at the Post-Dispatch: Thank you!!!

A full description of the places which are now smoke-free in Clayton can be found on-line here:

Here are the exceptions:

• Private residences

• Private clubs of non-profit organizations that do not allow
the general public and do not allow “membership” upon
payment of a nominal fee

• Private or semi-private rooms in nursing homes and
long-term care facilities

• Retail establishments where more than 70 percent of sales
includes tobacco and tobacco-related products

• No more than 20 percent of Clayton hotel rooms

• Outdoor public dining areas

• Cigar bars in operation prior to the enactment of the

It would have been nice if outdoor patios had also been made smoke-free, but maybe that level of enlightenment will come later. Current Americans for Nonsmokers Rights model ordinance language is also stricter, exempting only private residences and no more than 10% of hotel/motel rooms.

Last smoke in Clayton pub

Johnny Hultquist of Union smokes in Clayton pub on Wednesday after getting married in courthouse.

Starting today, Clayton goes smoke-free

Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:00 am

CLAYTON • After a hectic day in court Wednesday morning, two Clayton lawyers relaxed with Marlboro Lights after lunch at Barrister’s restaurant and bar.

If Charles F. Teschner and Nathan Collins did that today, they would be lawbreakers.
Clayton, the county seat, goes smoke-free today, a year after a smoking ban ordinance got the unanimous approval of the Board of Aldermen.

Smoking will be banned in all restaurants and most other businesses, with some exemptions. Patrons may still light up on outdoor restaurant patios.

Teschner savored his last cigarette at Barrister’s, but he’s taking the new prohibition stoically.

“We live in a republic where people get to choose,” he said, noting that most people in the county favor a ban. “I have a right to smoke, but I don’t have the right to smoke when it bothers other people.”

Besides, he added, “I go to a restaurant to eat, not to smoke.”

Collins said he didn’t like the ban.

“I like to go out for a couple cigarettes, a couple iced teas and then go back to work,” he said.

Collins said he may head to the Central West End for lunch until a St. Louis city ban takes effect Jan. 2.

But Collins broke into a smile on hearing he could smoke on patios in Clayton.
“I’m a little relieved.”

Mayor Linda Goldstein said Wednesday that the city’s most important priority was “protecting the health of our residents, the visitors who patronize our businesses and the employees who work in our community.”

She added that prohibiting smoking in the long run would attract more customers to Clayton restaurants and businesses.

Initially, the city’s proposal for a ban faced staunch resistance from some business owners who said it would harm their revenue, and from some people who believe it’s the right of the individual or business owner to make the decision on smoking.

After Clayton’s move, St. Louis County voters in November approved a countywide ban by a 2-1 ratio. That also triggered a St. Louis city ban that was dependent on county approval. Both bans take effect Jan. 2.

Kirkwood went smoke-free Jan. 2. Chief Administrative Officer Michael G. Brown said Wednesday that Kirkwood had seen no drop in restaurant tax receipts.

On Wednesday at Molly Darcys Celtic Pub in Clayton, manager Mike Watry said that he believed the public was ready for a county ban, based on the strength of the countywide vote.

Some “happy hour regulars” may not like it, he said, but he expects they’ll just step outdoors, where it’s permitted.

“We’ll also have Thursday Night Cigars in the Courtyard,” he said.

Myra Lynch, manager at Barrister’s, said that although some smokers may not like the ban at first, she figures that “people will get used to it.” And it may bring in more customers, she said.

“We do have people who come in and say it’s too smoky in here,” she said. “I think it will be fine.”

Customer Matt Watkins, a nonsmoking lawyer, said he believed the decision should have been up to business owners; another customer, Michelle Lott, welcomed the ban.
“I can’t stand it when someone next to you is smoking and you’ve got your children with you,” she said. She and her husband and two young children were eating lunch outdoors on the sidewalk patio.

John P. Fields is one of the heavier smoking bar and restaurants in Clayton.

Lori and Johnny Hultquist got married at the courthouse Wednesday and headed over to Fields to celebrate. Both smoked Camels and were enjoying tequilas and beer.

Lori Hultquist, of Chicago, said she had gotten accustomed to the ban in Illinois and supported it even though she smoked. She doesn’t like her children around secondhand smoke.

Johnny Hultquist, of Union, said: “If I go to a bar, I like to smoke, but it’s bad for you. I don’t have a problem with going outside for a cigarette.”

Clayton resident and nonsmoker Ed Stoner sat nearby watching the Cardinals game. Stoner said he was eager for the cleaner air.

“It will be nice,” he said.

Most restaurants in Clayton and many elsewhere in the area are already smoke-free. The Pageant theater in St. Louis banned smoking recently.

A violator of the Clayton smoking ban may face a fine of not more than $1,000 or incarceration of 90 days or less. Kirkwood officials report nearly total cooperation. They said only one citation has been written so far.

Clayton Police Chief Tom Byrne said he assumed the restaurants would help enforce the ordinance.

If an individual refuses to stop smoking when asked, police will warn the customer and issue a summons if necessary.