Monthly Archives: September 2010

KMOV 9/8/2010: “Wash U study on secondhand smoke finds surprising results”

Note: For your comments to be considered for publication on this blog you MUST provide your full name. Pseudonyms and first names only are not acceptable. Thank you.

Wash U. has now posted a description of its nicotine study of numerous bars and restaurants in the metro St. Louis area on its website, as reported below by The results confirm more limited unpublished nicotine monitor test results in the metro area conducted independently for Missouri GASP several years ago.

Wash U study on secondhand smoke finds surprising results
Posted on September 8, 2010 at 7:54 AM
Updated today at 5:20 PM

(KMOV) — The results of a study about secondhand smoke in St. Louis bars and restaurants has been released.

This is the first study specifically looking at secondhand smoke in St. Louis area bars and restaurants.

Researchers from Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital used airborne nicotine monitors to determine the level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Researchers used airborne nicotine monitors at ten bars and ten restaurants. The study found that ventilation systems do not do a good enough job of cleaning the air for harmful smoke.

In one of the most surprising findings, businesses with ventilation systems that allowed smoking had higher nicotine concentrations in the air than businesses who did not filter the air.

The above linked to the following article on the Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom:

Secondhand smoke: Ventilation systems are not the answer, says new study
September 8, 2010
By Lee Phillion

Some of the effects of secondhand smoke on the cardiovascular system in nonsmokers are comparable to the effects of active smoking and occur within a half hour of exposure, says Joaquin Barnoya, MD, a research assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

In a scientific study of secondhand smoke exposure in St. Louis bars and restaurants, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that ventilation systems and “voluntary” smoke-free policies do not protect employees and customers from exposure to nicotine in the air.

Exposure to secondhand smoke is an established cause of cancer, heart disease and serious lung ailments, according to the U.S. surgeon general.

Researchers from the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work and at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine analyzed nicotine levels in randomly selected bars and restaurants in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, and in hair samples from employees of the monitored venues.

Ten bars and 10 restaurants participated in the study. Sixteen of the venues allowed smoking indoors, and four were smoke-free. Seventy-eight employees at the bars and restaurants provided hair samples and answered survey questions.

Passive sampling devices collected nicotine in each venue for seven working days during June, July and August 2009. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which has expertise in this type of monitoring, analyzed the samples using gas chromatography with nitrogen-selective detection. Concentration of airborne nicotine was calculated by dividing the amount of nicotine collected by the sampling device by the effective volume of air sampled.

Since airborne nicotine can only come from cigarette smoke, it is a reliable, scientifically accepted marker for assessing secondhand smoke exposure. While concentrations do not directly translate to health risk, a finding of nicotine indicates the presence of a carcinogenic and toxic mixture.

Although none of the restaurant or bar venues in the study were below level of detection, median airborne nicotine levels were 31 times higher in venues where smoking is allowed, compared with those that are voluntarily smoke-free. And, not surprisingly, as the percentage of smoking clients rose, so did the nicotine concentrations.

An interesting finding was that ventilation systems, a topic of debate in St. Louis, were not only ineffective, but restaurants and bars that had them actually had higher nicotine concentrations in the air than restaurants that didn’t have them, but where the number of patrons who smoked was similar.

This confirms the U.S. surgeon general’s statement that “cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.”

Hair nicotine was found in all bar and restaurant employees tested, both nonsmokers and smokers alike, although the concentration was higher for employees who smoke.

Employees in both smoke and smoke-free venues, however, reported smoking-related symptoms despite their smoking status, including coughing, shortness of breath and excess phlegm. Sensory health concerns for both smoking and non-smoking employees included red or irritated eyes, scratchy throat and runny nose.

Study author Joaquin Barnoya, MD, research assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, says that the cardiovascular system is very sensitive to even low doses of tobacco smoke.

“Some of the effects of secondhand smoke on the cardiovascular system in nonsmokers are comparable to the effects of active smoking,” Barnoya says. “These effects occur within a half hour of exposure.”

In response to a questionnaire given to employees as part of the study, 62 percent of respondents stated a preference for working in a smoke-free environment. More than half of non-smoking employees questioned said that all restaurants, bars and nightclubs should be smoke-free, with a third of smoking employees in agreement.

Of employee responders who smoke, more than half said that smoke-free legislation would help them quit, while 70 percent of former smokers said that smoke-free workplace legislation would help them remain nonsmokers.

Results of the study were presented Sept. 8 at a conference held at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

The study, conducted by Barnoya along with Sarah Moreland-Russell, research manager for the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at the Brown School, was funded by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.

The Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health collaborated on the study.

P-D 9/8/2010: “Clayton notches another first in restricting smoking”

Note: For your comments to be considered for publication on this blog you MUST provide your full name. Pseudonyms and first names only are not acceptable. Thank you.

More stories affirming that smoke-free outdoor air is a good thing too! And contrary to the naysayers, it can be a significant source of air pollution, irritation, annoyance, and for hyper-sensitive individuals, including those with with asthma exacerbated by SHS exposure, a serious risk to health.

In line with Missouri GASP’s third stated goal:

Smoking should be between consenting adults in private,

and only when it harms no one else but the smokers.

Clayton notches another first in restricting smoking

BY MARGARET GILLERMAN 314-725-6758 | Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 12:00 am | (32) Comments

MIAMI – JUNE 22: Dorothy Baker smokes one of the Newport cigarettes she purchased at the Quick Stop store on June 22, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Today the Food and Drug Administration law banning the use of terms “light,” “mild” and “low” tar goes into affect in the marketing and sale of cigarettes. The new boxes have replaced those terms with lighter-colored packaging for light brands and switched to terms such as “gold” and “silver” to replace “light” and “ultra-light”. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Related Stories

Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke
Medicare expands coverage to help smokers quit

CLAYTON • Clayton is once again ahead of the pack on a smoking ban, becoming the first in the St. Louis area and one of the first in the state to enact an ordinance banning smoking throughout its park system.

While new here, about 400 cities across the country already have such bans, says Patty DeForrest, Clayton director of parks and recreation.

Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein, who led the effort last year for a ban on smoking in most public buildings, said that many residents wanted to go further than that ban.

“Not only have I received no complaints or criticism from any residents,” Goldstein said in an interview, “I have had several parents tell me how happy they are that their children can enjoy a healthy afternoon at a playground breathing fresh, smoke-free air.

The ban on smoking in most public buildings went into effect July 1. The parks ban goes into effect Jan. 1.

It will bar lighting up in city-owned parks, on playgrounds and all other city-owned or leased facilities. That includes city-owned parking garages and lots.

The law will allow smoking on sidewalks, streets and alleys. Outdoor smoking is also allowed at privately owned restaurants or bars but not indoors.

On some recent visits to Shaw Park, the largest and busiest of Clayton’s 10 parks, no smokers could be found. One person eating her lunch said she smoked but had rarely seen other smokers lighting up in the park. The woman, who did not want to be identified, said that smokers typically stayed in their cars and smoked in the parking lot — “maybe to protect the children,” she said.

Several nonsmoking park visitors welcomed the ban.

Mike and Renee Solverud of St. Charles, who were picnicking Friday at Shaw Park with their daughters, 2 and 4, said a ban in the parks would be good for the children’s sake. Mike Solverud’s grandmother and grandfather both developed emphysema about 20 years after they had stopped smoking. His grandmother died of it.

“People can smoke in their own house or car,” he said. “I’ve seen the results of smoking. It’s not good for the public health.”

One afternoon, members of the Clayton High School’s cross country team stretched and warmed up in the park.

Bianca Vannucci, 16, a junior at Clayton High, said she knew that some students smoked in the park — but no one on the cross country team. She likes the ban.

“The principle is good,” Bianca said. “A park is definitely not the place to smoke. Plus a lot of kids are on the playgrounds.”


The ban is not without critics. Bill Hannegan, a longtime opponent of local government-imposed smoking bans in bars and restaurants, said Clayton is more concerned with its public image than public health.

“It’s more like a societal vendetta against smoking,” he said. “It’s very hard to get these lawmakers to talk about public health. A lot of the time it’s about personal reasons, like, ‘yeah, my dad died of cancer.'”

Hannegan said the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke in open spaces like parks and parking garages is so minimal, it has no impact on public health. He cautioned that Clayton might be increasing the public risk of second-hand smoke exposure by forcing smokers onto heavily traveled sidewalks.

“I grew up in Clayton and it’s hard for me imagine not being able to light a smoke anyplace in Shaw Park,” he said. “It seems authoritarian.”

Alderman Alex Berger III has led the push to go smoke-free on all city property, including parks, both last year and this year.

“The essence of it is health and safety,” he said.

Berger also said that it made no sense to teach children the dangers of smoking at school and then allow adults to smoke while coaching the children at the park.

The citizens Parks and Recreation Commission recommended the new ban, and a survey of Clayton residents was heavily in favor of it.

Among other cities in Missouri, Kirksville’s strong ordinance bans smoking on all city property including parks. Liberty’s smoke free ordinance bans smoking in parks except on the parking lots. Lee’s Summit, a suburb of Kansas City, recently adopted a policy banning smoking within 50 feet of ball fields and many parks facilities. Ballwin, among others, has signs posted asking people to refrain from smoking. And Columbia’s ban extends to the area around park buildings but not the entire park.

After Clayton enacted its indoor smoking ban ordinance last summer, St. Louis County, the city of St. Louis, Kirkwood, Brentwood and Lake Saint Louis all enacted bans of varying degrees.

Hannegan said he suspects Clayton’s crackdown on open spaces will lead to stricter anti-smoking ordinances in other cities.

Nancy Cambria of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed to this story.

P-D 9/8/2010: “Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke”

Note: For your comments to be considered for publication on this blog you MUST provide your full name. Pseudonyms and first names only are not acceptable. Thank you.

I fortuitously noticed this story on-line earlier this morning (it’s not in the printed version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yet) and after reading it checked out the comments. Sure enough, they’re overwhelmingly negative, panning the researchers’ conclusions even before knowing them, and putting forward spurious reasons why this research will be flawed.

Only one comment at the time I checked supported smoke-free air:

David Hartstein said on: September 8, 2010, 8:40 am

I agree that even with proper ventilation, it seems obvious that second hand smoke would still negatively impact the health of others in the space. I support the smoking ban and personally have stopped going to places that are smokey. To me, when one person’s choices impact the health and well-being of others, it is reasonable to restrict that activity to the privacy of one’s own home.

David Hartstein
JG Visual

The on-line story is pasted below. To read comments please click here. I’ve added a couple of comments (please see below following story) and invite you to do likewise.

Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke

By MICHELE MUNZ 314-340-8263 | Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 5:41 am | (14) Comments

Researchers at Washington University are expected to announce today the results of the first study to monitor secondhand smoke exposure in St. Louis area bars and restaurants and whether ventilation systems work in purifying the air.
The study was a joint effort between the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University. Researchers looked at airborne nicotine levels, nicotine levels in employees’ hair samples, employees’ health, employees’ knowledge about smoke-free policies and the effectiveness of ventilation systems.
Key players are scheduled to discuss the findings at a 1 p.m. press conference. John Postel, marketing and entertainment manager of the Highlands Brewing Co. in Kirkwood, where a smoking ban went into effect over nine months ago, is also on the list to speak.
A smoking ban in public places in St. Louis and St. Louis County takes effect Jan. 2. However, casino floors, some hotel rooms, private clubs (mainly veterans and fraternal organizations) and tobacco stores are exempt. The county also exempts bars where income from food is 25 percent or less of gross receipts.
In the city, small bars — less than 2,000 square feet where food sales are “incidental” to alcohol consumption — have five years to comply with the ban.
Bans are already in effect in Clayton, Kirkwood, Arnold, Ballwin and Lake Saint Louis and throughout the state of Illinois. Some of the municipal laws, such as one that goes into effect Jan. 1 in Brentwood, ban smoking in all bars.

My comments posted to date on the Post-Dispatch:

Martin Pion said on: September 8, 2010, 9:34 am

I wasn’t aware of this study but I’m delighted to learn of it.
MoGASP has funded independent studies in Ballwin and Arnold restaurants and bars in the past but those results have not been published in peer-reviewed journals. These new studies of smoke-free environments vs. ventilation solutions would probably be a spur to submitting our result for publication.
In research, it’s important to obtain more than one set of data.
Martin Pion, B.Sc. President, MoGASP

Martin Pion said on: September 8, 2010, 10:05 am

Tony Palazzolo wrote: “You already know that nicotine levels are higher in places that allow smoking than not …. nicotine sticks to clothing … which is not harmful in anyway.”
I’m baffled by your logic. Nicotine in the air is a unique surrogate for SHS. What research can you point to showing that the nicotine being measured in smoking-permitted environments is mainly or even partially due to clothing?
This is a red herring.
Martin Pion, B.Sc., President, Missouri GASP
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Larry Fiquette, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reader’s Advocate

Columnist, Bill McClellan, writes a sometimes sage, and frequently humorous column several times a week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I often read it and generally agree with him, except when it has to do with smoking. Then Mr. McClellan reveals his Libertarian tendencies, and often writes what I feel are rather biased and ill-founded columns.

Today’s column is about Larry Fiquette who was St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reader’s Advocate for several years. According to the column, Mr. Fiquette is seriously ill with pneumonia in De Paul Health Center surrounded by his family, and his prognosis is poor.

I wrote to Mr. Fiquette after the newspaper published an article featuring complaints from smokers about workplace smoking restrictions. I pointed out that smokers are actually privileged, being allowed smoking breaks for example. He wrote a column on the subject, which I reproduce below.

Some years later I was invited to give a pre-service presentation about Missouri GASP at the Ethical Society of St Louis on Clayton Road. Mr. Fiquette attended and came up to talk to me afterwards to thank me, noting that he supported ASH (Action on Smoking & Health).

I thought he provided a valuable service to readers of the Post-Dispatch and I was sorry when he retired and was not replaced.

(Please CLICK image below to enlarge.)

SLPD Readers Advocate column: 1994_2_27

P-D 9/2/2010: Matson Cartoon “No Smoking Clayton Parks”

I couldn’t find any associated story to prompt this cartoon. It shows a cardinal and sickly-looking squirrel smoking dejectedly on the sidewalk alongside a Clayton park with prominent “No Smoking” signs plastered on every tree. In the distance is a Clayton policeman writing on a pad and evidently noting details of a miscreant in a tree, judging by the swirl of smoke coming from just above his head.

I think this is one case where, in reality, animals exhibit more intelligence than humans. Very few of them smoke, to my knowledge, and those that do have probably been introduced to the addiction by humans.

R.J. Matson 314-340-8381

After posting the above I was alerted to a Riverfront Times article providing some background and taking issue with this new Clayton ordinance. I have to disagree but here’s the article FYI:

Smoking Bans
Clayton Approves Draconian Smoking Ban: No Cigarettes in Parks

By Chad Garrison, Wed., Aug. 25 2010 @ 8:54AM Comments (25)
Categories: Smoking Bans

Mickey Mantle shilling for Viceroy cigarettes

RFT photo caption: Mickey will have to stub out that cig if he wants to play softball at Shaw Park.

​We here at Daily RFT have (for the most part) championed the many smoking bans voted in last year by various city councils and voters in St. Louis, Kirkwood, St. Louis County and other municipalities.

But the enhanced ban that Clayton’s board of aldermen approved last night goes a little too far — in our humble opinion. The law bans smoking in city parks as well as all city-owned outdoor properties, such as parking lots.

Last year Clayton became one of the first area suburbs to approve a smoking ban. The ban went into effect this past July and is generally more restrictive than the ones passed in St. Louis and St. Louis County that exempt certain bars due to size or liquor sales.

Last summer one Clayton alderman held out for a smoking ban that would include public parks, but his measure was defeated only to resurface in last night’s 6-0 vote.

The ban on smoking in parks and other outdoor areas begins January 1. Smoking will still be permitted outdoors at privately-owned properties, such as patios at restaurants and bars. Oh, and the new ordinance also exempts sidewalks. So, no, you won’t get cuffed and stuffed for enjoying a puff on the curb.