2010/11/19 P-D: “Compromise rejected on O’Fallon smoking ban effort”

Proponents of a strong smoke-free air ordinance in O’Fallon dug in their heels and rejected as unreasonable council compromise proposals which would exempt some businesses, like small bars.

Both St. Louis City and County ordinances, effective January 2, 2011, contain such exemptions, as well as an exemption for casino gaming floors, but if smoke-free air proponents in O’Fallon feel they have community support for stronger legislation they should stick to that position. No one should have to be exposed to secondhand smoke in order to hold a job.

Compromise rejected on O’Fallon smoking ban effort

By Mark Schlinkmann • mschlinkmann@post-dispatch.com > 636-255-7203 | (22) Comments | Posted: Friday, November 19, 2010 12:25 am

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O’FALLON, Mo. • A leader of the group that petitioned for an April 5 citywide smoking ban vote says members aren’t interested in negotiating a compromise version with the City Council.

“We’re very comfortable with what we’ve got,” Craig Boring of Smoke-Free O’Fallon said in an interview after he and others presented their plan to the council Thursday night.
He said it would be “disingenuous” to switch to a different measure after more than 1,900 people signed petitions seeking an election on the group’s proposal.

The proposal would ban smoking in most enclosed public places, including all bars and restaurants.

If election officials verify that at least 788 valid signatures of registered voters were submitted, the city charter gives the council the option of allowing the public vote or passing the group’s plan into law without an election.

City officials say a third option also is possible — the council could enact a compromise crafted by the council and the petition group. The petition plan could then be withdrawn from the ballot if at least two of the three people who formally started the drive agreed. Boring is among the three.

During Thursday’s council work session, Councilmen Bob Howell and Jeff Schwentker suggested that all the parties involved get together to work out something. “We ought to try doing it right,” Schwentker said.

More specific was Councilman Mark Perkins, who said the measure should have more detail on enforcement. He said he worried that taxpayers would have to bear that cost.
Boring responded by saying cities with such bans typically have to issue few citations.

The measure calls for city employees to monitor compliance when doing routine inspections and for the city administrator or someone he designates to oversee enforcement.

Smokers violating the ban would face fines of up to $50. Business managers or owners could be fined up to $500 and face a possible suspension or revocation of operating permits.

After the session, Councilman Jim Pepper said in an interview that he would like to exempt bars serving a small amount of food. Such provisions are in a St. Louis ban and a ban in St. Louis County set to take effect Jan. 2.

He also wants to give O’Fallon businesses more time to comply. The petition group’s proposal would take effect in June.

During the council session, supporters emphasized that the ban is aimed at protecting public health.

“Secondhand smoke is essentially involuntary smoking,” said Wendy Prakop, one petition group member. “The danger is real, the science proves it and the solution is simple.”

Pepper argued that the measure would violate the rights of smokers and businesses. He added that tobacco is a legal product and its growers get federal subsidies.
“If you want to stop smoking, stop the subsidies,” he said.

Bans already are in effect in Lake Saint Louis, Clayton, Kirkwood, Arnold and Ballwin and in Illinois statewide. New municipal bans will start Jan. 1 in Brentwood and Jan. 2 in Creve Coeur.

4 responses to “2010/11/19 P-D: “Compromise rejected on O’Fallon smoking ban effort”

  1. The controversy over second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science concerning health information for the purpose of making laws and regulations, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

    I can guarantee the bandwagon of creating fear and hatred aimed at smokers would end overnight and the profiteers would be making self-preserving court deals convicting each other. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake of the last attempt at government health control, are largely being ignored by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism. But those laws are ones we founded after millions died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others when they are based on the convenience of a lie, as we find in the “toxic effect of second hand smoke.”
    Thomas Laprade



  2. I feel that hypnosis is a wonderful way to stop smoking. However, it only helps very few. Many people don’t believe it works and enter the process with this mind-set is not helpful. They feel if its not a sugar pill or something then it won’t work.

  3. If MoGASP wants people to stop smoking WHY isn’t it advocating for it? I find it interesting that MoGASP and the media, who profit prodigiously from pro ban money, and the lobbyists, who also profit handsomely, cannot find the courage to attack the sellers of tobacco, which include Walmart, Kmart, all grocers, all convenience stores, and the State and Federal governments, who ALL profit from the selling of tobacco, but instead attack little businesses. How cowardly!

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