Things keep humming on the smoke-free air front. Could it be that St. Charles County, which has hitherto been an especially tough nut to crack on this issue, is finally seeing the light? Let’s hope so. The folks there certainly deserve it. It’s time we stopped being the Smoke-Me State!
Discussion (51 comments as of September 15, 2010, 10:28 pm)
By Mark Schlinkmann • firstname.lastname@example.org > 636-255-7203 | Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:00 am |
More than two-thirds of St. Charles County voters support a smoking ban in indoor public places, according to a survey released Tuesday by the American Cancer Society.
The random telephone poll of 400 registered voters turned up 68 percent supporting the measure, 28 percent opposed and 4 percent undecided.
The cancer society is part of a coalition of anti-smoking groups supporting an effort to put a smoking ban before voters at a countywide election in April.
The poll results will be used to lobby the County Council to approve a bill scheduling the election. The proposed ban would apply in municipalities and unincorporated areas. Lake Saint Louis on Oct. 1 will become the first St. Charles County community with a ban.
“The voters want protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” Stacy Reliford, a cancer society official, said at a news conference at the SSM St. Joseph Medical Park in St. Peters.
The survey was conducted July 20-22 by Fako and Associates of suburban Chicago. The poll has a margin of error of 4.85 percentage points.
The survey showed 58 percent of respondents strongly supported an indoor smoking ban and 10 percent somewhat supported the idea, for a total of 68 percent.
Meanwhile, 20 percent strongly opposed a ban and 8 percent were somewhat opposed — for a total of 28 percent.
Most respondents — 71 percent — said they would patronize restaurants following enactment of a smoking ban about as often as they do now, while 22 percent said they’d eat out more and 6 percent less.
A leading opponent of smoking bans across the St. Louis area, Bill Hannegan, reacted by saying that a nationwide USA Today/Gallup Poll released last month showed only 31 percent favored a ban on smoking in bars.
The St. Charles County survey didn’t ask separate questions on smoking bans in different types of venues but did mention bars in the general question it posed.
The national USA Today/Gallup survey, conducted by telephone July 8-11, asked 1,020 adults to choose between banning smoking, creating set-aside areas for smoking and having no restrictions on smoking in four types of public places.
The survey showed 59 percent nationally support a total ban on smoking in restaurants, 36 percent prefer set-aside areas for smoking and 4 percent want no restrictions.
That survey showed 31 percent support a total ban on smoking in bars, 43 percent want set-aside areas in bars and 23 percent want no restrictions.
Bans already are in effect in Clayton, Kirkwood, Arnold, Ballwin and Illinois. A countywide ban in St. Louis County and one in St. Louis will take effect Jan. 2, a day after a more restrictive version in Brentwood.
Creve Coeur ban
At Monday’s Creve Coeur City Council meeting, Councilwoman Beth Kistner, 1st Ward, said she would introduce a bill at the next meeting that would close in the city some of the exceptions in the St. Louis County smoking ban.
Mayor Harold Dielmann said 70 percent of the city’s restaurants are smoke free. He said he would support the bill as long it covers only indoor smoking.
One exception in the county ban allows smoking in bars that sell a small amount of food. The city may have one such bar, Kistner and Dielmann said.
She said she would use smoking ban ordinances in Ballwin, Brentwood, Clayton and Kirkwood as models for her bill.
Phil Sutin of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.