Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010/12/31 P-D: “Smoking ban puts the heat on bars”

Reporters David Hunn and Margaret Gillerman, with contributions from reporter Phil Sutin, wrote a comprehensive story about how affected businesses are reacting to the imminent implementation of the smoke-free air ordinances in St. Louis City and County.

They have also provided a good review of the main elements of the two ordinances and how to report violations. It’s a pity some businesses are scrambling to find ways around these laws, which are primarily to protect public health and welfare, but it’s driven by probably exaggerated concerns of losing smoking customers’ business which will not be offset by nonsmokers taking up the slack.

To what extent that is true remains to be seen, but this is undoubtedly an historic day for metro St. Louis, and many individuals and elected officials can take credit for it.

Will Angermann III builds a collection of fake cigarettes from cardboard tubing and plastic sheeting on Wednesday at the Soulard Bastille Bar. Owner Bob Hiscox plans to hand the cigarettes outside his bar. Photo: Erik M. Lunsford elunsford@post-dispatch.com

As smoking bans approach, some bars change their ways

Image (4)
BY DAVID HUNN • dhunn@post-dispatch.com > 314-436-2239 and MARGARET GILLERMAN • mgillerman@post-dispatch.com > 314-725-6758 | (148) Comments as of December 31, 2010, 8:32 pm|     Story posted: Friday, December 31, 2010 7:30 am

         Related Stories
Smoking bans will take effect soon
Springfield, Mo. residents could see smoking ban on ballot
RJ Reynolds’ ads urge tobacco pouches for smokers
Market growing for smokeless tobacco
O’Fallon smoking ban headed to voters
Cape Girardeau leaders seek April smoking ban vote

At Pepper’s Bar & Grill on Gravois Avenue, owners are thinking of tearing the roof off an enclosed walkway.
         At Blueberry Hill in University City, owner Joe Edwards is cutting a door into an exterior wall to connect to an outdoor ‘smoking porch.”
         And at Riley’s Pub on Arsenal Street, everyone is resigned to the fact that as of Sunday, families with children will not be coming in for pizza.
         Bars, restaurants and public places in St. Louis and St. Louis County go smoke-free Sunday, much to the delight of anti-smoking advocates.
         And while some bar owners welcome the new laws, others feel left in the lurch. They are convinced their businesses will be irreparably harmed if forced to air out their bars’ hazy hue. Now they’re wading through complex rules, and scrambling to find ways around the ban.
         “There’s a lot of places out here that are going to lose a lot of business. It’s not fair,” said Jim Mackiewicz, owner of Jimmy Mack’s on Southwest Avenue. “If they wanted it done, they should have done the whole state.”
         Of the nearly 1,750 bars in the city and county, about 245 — 15 percent — have sought exemptions, with more applications expected. The county has already granted 95 exemptions. The city applications are pending.
         “I’m getting tons of questions,” said Pat Mahoney, a supervisor in St. Louis’ Health Department. “It’ll get done. It will get done.”
         The ban affects adult care centers, the smoking lounges at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, some parking garages and even certain private organizations, such as the Missouri Athletic Club downtown, which hosts periodic cigar-smoking events.
         “We feel grossly discriminated against,” said James Godfrey, Jr., a member of the MAC’s “Stogie Club” and an attorney at Evans & Dixon. “It’s a very simple pleasure, and something that really doesn’t harm anybody.”
         Godfrey said fellow cigar buffs were hoping the MAC could find a way to keep a smoking section in the club — maybe even a whole floor devoted “to delinquents like us.”

HEALTHY LIVING
         Officials, however, say the ban will save lives and promote healthy living.
         “This law is the single most effective thing we have done to improve public health in the last 50 years,” said Pam Walker, city health director.
         Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, who championed the bill in the city, feels the same way.
         “I think most look forward to the day when Missouri joins the rest of the world,” she said. “The newsworthy thing about it is that we’re just now getting there.”
         And some bar owners agree.
         “It’s never nice to get out of work at night reeking of an ashtray,” said Adrian Glass, owner of the Post Sports Bar and Grill at 7372 Manchester Road in Maplewood. “And if anything, it will increase business.”
         Give the ban a week, he said, and watch: Everybody’s going to love it.
         Plenty of patrons — even some smokers — already do.
         “I always want to quit,” said Matt Schindler, 33, of St. Louis, who stopped for a drink last week at Llywelyn’s Pub in Webster Groves. Schindler smokes only when he is having a drink. “I don’t see dragging myself outside to smoke,” he said.
         The new laws outline what is exempt from the ban, including private residences, some private clubs, casino gambling floors, tobacco stores and 20 percent of a hotel’s rooms.
         Bars have to apply for an exemption. And not all qualify. Sports bars, for example, will be hard-pressed to qualify, as the businesses can earn no more than 25 percent of their revenues from food. In the city, they also cannot be larger than 2,000 square feet, or allow anyone under 21 inside. Even then, they can get exemptions only until 2016, when all bars must go smoke-free.

18-FOOT-LONG CIGARETTE
         In south St. Louis, Pepper’s is trying to figure out how to cut out a few hundred square feet of bar space. The enclosed walkway adds just enough to push it over the 2,000-square-foot threshold, making the bar ineligible for an exemption.
         Removing the roof might change that.
         “It’s been a neighborhood place for 30 years,” said Sam Orlando, an owner of Pepper’s. “It’s always been a bucket-of-beer and a smoking bar.”
         In the Delmar Loop, Joe Edwards is building a small outdoor smoking porch onto the east side of his iconic Blueberry Hill bar and restaurant. “Dart board number seven no longer exists,” Edwards said. In its place is now a door to the covered porch, where smoking will be allowed.
         In Tower Grove South, bars are scrutinizing their revenue figures to see how they match city requirements, said Denny Domachowski, manager of Friendly’s Sports Bar & Grill, on Roger Place. Friendly’s is OK, he said. It sells plenty of $1.50 brats, but many more $10 buckets.
         In Breckenridge Hills, GB Field Old Timers Saloon closed most of its kitchen and laid off four employees in order to cut its food revenue to 25 percent. Yet it’s still unclear if it will fit the law. Bar manager Debi Sloan has written protest letters to Gov. Jay Nixon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan.
         At the Bastille in Soulard, owner Bob Hiscox said he also shut down his kitchen to retain smoking. He’s also building an 18-foot-long cigarette out of an old carpet tube, to serve as one of the warning signs required by the law. “My doorway is going to be full of signs, so why not have a great big cigarette attached to my awning?” he said.

NO MORE PIZZA
         But, in some places, the effects of the smoking ban will be more subtle.
         Bill Kapes, the owner of Riley’s, on Arsenal, has applied for an exemption. But the consequence is that Kapes will lose another group of patrons this weekend: families.
         Locals have long brought their children in for inexpensive, hand-made pizzas. They sit in the back room, where the kids can play darts or video games.
         Kapes built that side of the bar to accommodate them. It’s got high-backed booths, cut glass windows, hanging lamps and five tables he put together himself from salvaged Italian marble. Patrons and employees like seeing the families come in. It adds to the neighborhood feel.
         “We’ll probably be just fine,” said Ron Kittrell, 61, who works at the bar, lives above it and was drinking there earlier this week. “But I hate to see us lose the neighbors bringing their kiddos in for pizza and root beer.”
         And, at that moment, a family of five walked in, three kids in tow. For the last time for a while.

Phil Sutin of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

City, county Smoking bans
Exemptions

• Most private residences.
• Casino gambling floors.
• 20 percent of a hotel’s rooms.
• Most tobacco stores.
• Bars making 25 percent or less of their income from food, and, in the city, that are no larger than 2,000 square feet and do not allow anyone under 21 inside.
• Private clubs. (In the city, clubs must have no employees in order to get an exemption.)
• Private and semiprivate rooms in St. Louis County nursing homes, provided all residents of the room are smokers.

         Creve Coeur, Brentwood
• Brentwood’s ban takes effect Saturday; Creve Coeur’s on Sunday.
• Neither city’s ban allows exemptions for bars or nursing homes.
• Creve Coeur’s allows smoking in private clubs in existence as of Sunday.
• Brentwood’s exempts tobacco shops.

         Obtaining exemptions
• In the city, applications are available at the Department of Health, 1520 Market Street, Room 4051, or by calling 314-657-1539.
• In the county, applications are available at the licensing office on the 4th Floor of the County Administration Building, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, and online at bit.ly/ggp3wh.

         Complaints
• In the city, call the Citizens Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.
• In the county, call the Health Department at 314-615-8900.

         Penalties
• Same in city and county: An individual smoker faces a fine of up to $50 for each occurrence, and an owner of an establishment faces a fine of up to $100 for the first violation, up to $200 for the second in a year and up to $500 for each additional violation in a year.

         More Info
• In the city, call the Health Department at 314-622-4800 or post to Twitter at @stlcsb.
• In the county, call the Health Department at 314-615-8900 or go online to stlouisco.com/doh/IndoorCleanAirCode/

The Finalists in Dr. Siegel’s 2010 “Lie of the Year Award”

Dr. Michael Siegel

Dr. Michael Siegel is a professor in the Community Health Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health. He has just released his list of 10 finalists for this year’s “Lie of the Year Award” and invites readers to vote for their favorites.

Missouri GASP is not among them so we’re happy to list those who are!

Click on 2010 Lie of the Year Award Finalists for details. Below are descriptions, quoting from Dr. Siegel’s more extensive blog.
1. Free & Clear

The Lie: The Quit for Life Program produces a 45% smoking employee quit rate.

The Rest of the Story: Consumers are not told that the quit rates reported on the site are known to be inaccurate (and likely to be exaggerated). This is a program sponsored jointly by the American Cancer Society and Free & Clear.

2. United States Surgeon General’s Office

The Lie: “Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack.”; (2) “Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”

The Rest of the Story: It’s untrue that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease. Luckily, it takes many years of exposure before the process of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can occur. Fortunately as well, inhaling the smallest amount of tobacco smoke does not lead to cancer.
(See also mogasp’s blog:
https://mogasp.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/is-u-s-surgeon-general-benjamin-exaggerating-1-cigarette-exposure-risk/)

3. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights

The Lie: “there are virtually no health disparities between active and passive smoking.”; (2) “The risks of heart disease associated with secondhand smoke are twice what were previously thought and are virtually indistinguishable from those associated with active smoking.”; (3) “Just thirty minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of habitual smokers.”

The Rest of the Story: ANR’s claim that there are virtually no health disparities between active and passive smoking is a lie. If it were true there would be tens of thousands more deaths from secondhand smoke.

4. Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy, University of Kentucky College of Nursing

The Lie: “Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack. … In 20-30 minutes, fat and blood clots build up in the arteries, increasing the chance of heart attacks and stroke. After 2 hours of secondhand smoke exposure, the heart rate speeds up and leads to abnormal heart rhythms (which can lead to death).”

The Rest of the Story: Both of these statements are outright lies. You don’t get a build up of fat and blood clots in the arteries in just 30 minutes. (Read Dr. Siegel’s blog for a description of what actually does happen.)

5. Florida Department of Health

The Lie: “Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke for just 30 minutes experience hardening of the arteries.”

(Referencing the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001. This is one out of a long list of statements of fact but this one is not.)

The Rest of the Story: Obviously, this claim is a lie. It is impossible for a person (even an active smoker) to develop hardening of the arteries in just 30 minutes.

6. Maricopa County Department of Public Health

The Lie: “Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke for just 30 minutes experience hardening of the arteries.”

The Rest of the Story: Just as with the lie from the Florida Department of Health, the study used to support this claim is also the Otsuka study published in JAMA in 2001. However, once again, that study did not show that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke for just 30 minutes experienced hardening of the arteries.

7. Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails

The Lie: “Smoking kills about 340 young people a day.”

The Rest of the Story: According to Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, then, smoking kills more than 124,000 young people every year. Obviously, this is not true.

8. FDA Center for Tobacco Products

The Lie: “research has found that children are especially attracted to and begin using tobacco products very early because of all kinds of pressures and motivations, including access to cigarettes that have candy-like characterizing flavors, such as mint, chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, and strawberry.”

The Rest of the Story: I challenge the Center for Tobacco Products to name a single brand of (such flavored) cigarettes that was smoked by a significant number of youth during the past four years.

9. FDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Lie: “Almost 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers.”; “Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction. FDA’s ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily.”

The Rest of the Story: It is demonstrably false that flavored cigarettes are a gateway to cigarette smoking, that they contribute significantly to addiction of youths to tobacco, that the tobacco industry uses these flavored cigarettes to hook children, and that the FDA ban on candy-flavored cigarettes will have any impact whatsoever on youth smoking. (This is with the exception of menthol, the one flavoring which is actually used by the tobacco companies to hook kids, but which is exempt from the flavoring ban.)

10. American Cancer Society

The Lie: “The American Cancer Society, along with the broader public health community, fought the tobacco industry for more than a decade to get this historic legislation passed.”

The Rest of the Story: The statement is simply not true. The biggest supporter of the FDA tobacco legislation, and a contributor of enormous lobbying expenditures in support of the bill, was none other than Philip Morris, the nation’s largest tobacco company. Why does the American Cancer Society have to continue to lie like this? Why are they seemingly incapable of telling the American people the truth: that Philip Morris supported this bill?

Dr. Jeremy Richards’ claim 2010/07/07: Airplanes were healthier when smoking was allowed!

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While checking for something else I came across an e-mail I’d sent in response to one on which I was copied by Bill Hannegan, of KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! This is one for the record books and since the end of the year is a time to recap such absurdities, I’ve pasted it below.

Just for identification purposes where it’s not obvious:

Tony Palazzolo is a strong and vocal supporter of Bill Hannegan.

Michael Marth of Marth Bros., local supplier of “smoke-eater” units promoted by Bill Hannegan.

Diana Benanti of the Smoke-Free St. Louis City Coalition.

Mayor Linda Goldstein, City of Clayton
Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, St. Louis County Council
Ald. Lyda Krewson, City of St. Louis

E-m reply From: Martin Pion
Subject: Re: Smoke-Free St. Louis False Claim -> MoGASP begs to disagree
Date: July 7, 2010 9:03:32 PM CDT
To: Jeremy Richards
Cc: Bill Hannegan <keepst.louisfree@gmail.com, Tony Palazzolo, Smoke-Free St. Louis City Coalition , Diana Benanti, Michael Marth, Mayor Linda Goldstein, Barbara Fraser, Ald. Lyda Krewson

Dear Dr. Richards,

You copied me on your e-mail to Bill Hannegan so I’m taking the opportunity to respond. 

I’m surprised and disappointed that someone with academic credentials would lower himself to making ad hominem attacks on those with whom he disagrees. 

You also make this astonishing statement: 

“Kinda like airplane air has more fungal growth now than it used to before smoking was banned on flights.” 

The inference is that it was healthier on planes before they became smoke-free because the SHS was suppressing fungal growth (and coincidentally, sickening flight attendants). I don’t know what to say, except perhaps that you should suggest this as a research topic to the tobacco industry. 

I don’t think the airline flight attendants on airplanes would agree with this remark either. 

One flight attendant I know who never exposed herself to secondhand smoke except involuntarily at work, lost a lung to SHS. Her name is Norma Broin. She was the lead plaintiff in Norma R. Broin, Patricia Young, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies, Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., the product liability lawsuit that resulted in a $300 million out-of-court settlement that established the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI), based in Miami, FL. FAMRI now funds a lot of research on the issue of SHS. 

Norma Broin and Patty Young were flight attendants in the successful and historic flight attendants' lawsuit Broin v. Philip Morris Inc.

Sincerely,

Martin Pion, B.Sc. (Physics & Math, London University, UK)
President, Missouri GASP
http://www.mogasp.wordpress.com

On Jul 7, 2010, at 12:49 PM, Jeremy Richards wrote:

Lackeys like Pion and the Big Pharma-backed, Smoke Free St. Louis Nanny Statist crowd will say and do anything to get their doomed, unenforceable, prohibitionist bans.  No matter what they say, in the long run air in bars and restaurants will overall be dirtier than before as such establishments always cheap out on air filtration if they don’t have smoking customers.  Kinda like airplane air has more fungal growth now than it used to before smoking was banned on flights.  The air filtration technology that Bill promotes would be fine to clean the air and end the problem.  Of course the Big Pharma, Carrie Nation-esque prohibitionists will never agree.  You can’t appease a radical.
 
Jeremy Richards, Ph.D.
Southeast Regional Director
and
Director of Historical Research
Citizens Freedom Alliance
 
Associate Professor of History
Gordon College
 
History of smoking ban disasters:
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/23460/History_Shows_Smoking_Bans_Likely_to_Be_Repealed.html

2010/12/26 P-D: “Joe Holleman: ‘Twas the night before a politically correct Christmas ….”

Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who writes a somewhat offbeat and sometimes slightly raunchy column, as well as being a film critic, which was his original gig, takes aim at do-gooders like PETA and GASP, in this imaginary Christmas tale.

He’s quite out-of-date on the GASP acronym, which hasn’t stood for “Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution” for many years.

After getting fed up with the meaningless tobacco industry-promoted “Accommodation” of smokers and nonsmokers in separate sections in restaurants and similar venues, Missouri GASP changed its name to the more appropriate “Group Against Smoking Pollution.” The GASP cartoon below says it all.

Asbestos, or Non-Asbestos? It's YOUR choice!

By the way, I’ve added contact links for the grinch organizations mentioned by Joe Holleman. And I don’t rate Missouri GASP in the same league as PETA. We’ve never done anything remotely illegal or that could be viewed as assault, although I’ve sometimes felt like extinguishing a cigar, cigarette or pipe without the owner’s permission.

Which reminds me of the time I was on my way to visit my late sister in 1988, who was dying from lung cancer in England. I changed at Detroit International Airport, and while there encountered a cigar smoker in a “No Smoking” designated information area. When I approached him and pointed this out he responded by threatening to put his cigar out in my face!

Gather round, kids: ‘Twas the night before a politically correct Christmas Sherpa remembers one of his favorite holidays ever.

LIFE SHERPA JOE HOLLEMAN – jholleman@post-dispatch.com; 314-340-8254 | 1 Comment | Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009 12:00 am

Note: While the Life Sherpa takes some incredibly well-earned vacation time, here is a reprint of a 2007 story about his favorite Christmas ever:

Good thing my favorite Christmas was more than 45 years ago. Had it been more recent, my family would have been in jail.

It was Christmas Eve 1963. I had just turned 6 and was in kindergarten at St. Gabriel the Archangel. My family and their closest friends were together, the food was delicious and plentiful, and I made an incredible haul of toys.

Today, the problems would have begun almost immediately.

With many adults gathered, the egg nog bowl with a bottle of Jim Beam alongside was a busy attraction. After drinking some virgin nog, I pestered long enough for a “grown-up” sample. So my Uncle Red – who always had a cigar in his mouth and several hundred dollars rolled inside a rubber band in his pants pocket – put a drop or two of whiskey in my glass.

The first taste was awful, the second was OK, the third was downright tasty. For me, this is a characteristic of whiskey that still holds true today.

This would mark the first call to the Department of Family Services.
(mogasp: Assumed to be the Missouri Department of Social Services, St. Louis.).

But even whiskey was not enough to keep a 6-year-old from getting antsy, and obnoxious. To burn energy, I ran down the hallway or trampolined on a bed.

No adult threatened to swat my butt when I got caught doing this stuff, they just did it. In those days, any adult relative, or close friend of a relative, could swat you.

At this point, I call the family services department myself.

After drinks, everyone moved into the dining room for capon (a castrated rooster), mashed potatoes and gravy and numerous creamed vegetables.

Protesters from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, show up with picket signs outside the house and throw symbolic chicken testicles on our porch. The Center for Science in the Public Interest alerts the media that serving me rich gravy and vegetables swimming in cholesterol sauce was like pointing an edible gun at my head.

After the meal, my mom decided I needed a nap, so my Uncle Red and I retired to his giant leather recliner and I dozed off curled up next to him while he puffed an after-dinner cigar.

Protesters from GASP, Group to Alleviate Smoke Pollution, start pacing with the PETA folks. (mogasp name correction: Group Against Smoking Pollution.)

Later, we all loaded into several cars and drove to church. I sat between my mom and my aunt, who wore their fur coats and diamonds. I felt safe and warm, squeezed between soft, cuddly furs while I watched the jewels sparkle in the candlelit church.

PETA pickets send for reinforcements with red paint to throw on the furs. They come with Amnesty International, worried about whether the jewelry was conflict-free.

When we got back from church, we found that Santa had snuck in while we were gone and let some amazing stuff.

I got a bunch of cool stuff, including a bicycle and two toy guns. One gun was a rifle modeled after the Winchester that Lucas McCain carried in “The Rifleman”; the other was a Thompson machine gun like Sgt. Saunders carried in “Combat.”

Then, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology issues a study analyzing my family’s blatant disregard for my mental well-being by allowing me to play with violent toys.
(mogasp: It appears it should be “American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry” or AACAP. Close, but no cigar, Joe!)

The bicycle was shiny red with gobs of chrome. It was such an awesome machine that I begged and pleaded to ride it one time on the sidewalk while my uncle watched from inside the door. Family services gets another call, about a 6-year-old riding a bike at 2 a.m – without a helmet.

Finally, under the weight of the media coverage of the protests, my family is taken away in handcuffs – leaving me alone with my “Three Stooges” coloring book.

2010/12/23 P-D: “Smoking ban appears headed to voters in O’Fallon, Mo.”

Although members of O’Fallon’s city council appear to be ducking their responsibilities on this health and safety issue, at least the citizen’s will get a chance to vote on it in April, 2011, thanks to the efforts of supporters of smoke-free air.

I liked this quote from the story, in which I highlighted a remark that hits the bullseye:

Myrtle Chidester, one of the leaders of Smoke-Free O’Fallon, said she and her husband moved to O’Fallon from California about six years ago. “We love the seasons. We love the people,” she said. “The one thing we don’t love is having to deal with the secondhand smoke.

I can relate to that! I also liked the on-line rebuttals from former Ballwin Alderman Charles Gatton to some of Bill Hannegan’s revisionist statements about Ballwin and its smoke-free air law. Mr. Hannegan kicked off:

Bill Hannegan said on: December 23, 2010, 12:54 pm
Got the T-Shirt, you had to enforce it three places who were all terrified of Gatton, Mayor Young and the other aldermanic bullies. One owner sold out, one owner closed, and one establishment suspiciously burnt down. Talk about enforcement without business loss!

And this was the reply:

CGatton said on: December 23, 2010, 4:09 pm
Terrified of me, Bill? Wowsers! I’m friendly with the owners of the French Quarter, and eat there regularly. It is still in the same family ownership, the guy you are referring to was forced out by his family, not me. Frick’s – they were failing long before we started talking about the ordinance. I’m friendly with one of the former owners, who told me I helped him quit smoking. Elsa’s fire? Boy, you really don’t know the buzz in Ballwin about that. See another comment for more…

CGatton said on: December 23, 2010, 4:15 pm
Mayor Young? Well, he may have thought of himself as a bully, but he’s the one who held a “secret” meeting with restaurant owners and pledged to overturn the ban. He forgot he was for it before he was against it. And you think I bullied Belli? He asked for and got a one year hold on the ordinance going into effect. Meantime, he lost his lunch business when a major corporation left the area, and Chesterfield Valley took much of his dinner business. He never seems to remember that. Just facts.

A good letter in support appeared in the St. Charles Suburban Journal the same day as the council meeting:

Letter to the editor
Make O’Fallon smoke-free

I don’t know why it is politicians always worry about businesses when contemplating smoke-free ordinances. Experience has shown businesses are not hurt by smoke-free ordinances.

However, after 30 years as a respiratory therapist I can tell you I have seen over and over the damage to health which tobacco causes. Innocent bystanders should not be subjected to secondhand smoke. Smoke-free ordinances are about health. Period.

So come on, O’Fallon. Whole countries have enacted clean-air legislation. Some of your surrounding towns have enacted clean-air legislation. O’Fallon City Council, your people have spoken with 1,900 signatures to have this placed on the ballot. Do you hear your people?

Pam Murphy, Lake Saint Louis

My only reservation about this letter: It might have been better to urge the council to act rather than simply ducking the issue and placing it on the ballot instead, but chances are it would have made no difference. We’re dealing with elected officials who cannot conceive of this as an important public health issue on which they should act.

Smoking ban appears headed to voters in O’Fallon, Mo.

BY SHANE ANTHONY • santhony@post-dispatch.com > 636-255-7209 | (52) Comments | Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2010 12:25 am

Related Stories

Petitions seeking O’Fallon, Mo., smoking ban qualify for April ballot
Compromise rejected on O’Fallon smoking ban effort
Petitioners seek smoking ban in O’Fallon

O’FALLON, MO. • A smoking ban proposal appears headed for a vote by O’Fallon residents on April 5.

The City Council, which held a public forum on the issue Wednesday night, would have to have an emergency meeting to approve the petitioners’ measure themselves. If the council does not vote before Jan. 11, the issue automatically will appear on the April 5 ballot.

Most of the 19 speakers at the public forum supported the measure. Proponents said they wanted to protect residents, business employees and patrons from secondhand smoke.

Myrtle Chidester, one of the leaders of Smoke-Free O’Fallon, said she and her husband moved to O’Fallon from California about six years ago. “We love the seasons. We love the people,” she said. “The one thing we don’t love is having to deal with the secondhand smoke.”

James Worman, another ban supporter, said he does not want to be subjected to secondhand smoke when he goes out. He said he would be OK with private clubs allowing smoking.

John Callahan, one of two people who spoke against the proposal, said he believes the measure could hurt businesses and infringe on personal choices. “I think that the individual needs to have the personal freedom to make up their own mind,” he said.

Noal Roos, the other speaker who opposed the ban, said he feared it could cost jobs. “It’s a separation that needs to be looked at, not a complete ban,” he said. “It’s too detrimental to the economy.”

Ban supporters cited statistics saying secondhand smoke causes health risks. They said a ban could increase revenue for local businesses by encouraging nonsmokers to patronize them. They said a ban also could help smokers quit.

One speaker took a relatively neutral position, saying he wanted to see the voters decide the issue.

It appears that is what will happen. The City Council has until Jan. 11 to approve the petitioners’ language or let it appear on the ballot. The next regular meeting isn’t until Jan. 13, and, while council members gave the petition a first reading, no one called for a special session.

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

2010/12/21 P-D OpEd: “Lambert finally quits smoking”

The title of the OpEd in the print version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (below) is “Lambert finally kicks the habit.” It still works, except that for most smokers, smoking is an addiction and not a habit, but why quibble?

I’m grateful to the Post-Dispatch for printing it and allowing me and my coauthor, Dr. Michael Givel, to describe some of the events of the last 17 years, although the 750 word limit meant condensing a lot, and leaving out many details of this battle for smoke-free air in a major transportation venue.

Like the grueling 7 years MoGASP spent pursuing an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint against Lambert airport, omitting details like the 10-page Appeal in August, 1996, prepared by Mr. Billy Williams of GASP of Texas, following the dismissal of the complaint the previous month. The Appeal was finally settled in favor of Lambert airport after their installation of the smoking rooms over GASP’s objections, even though by that time we had obtained scientific evidence that they didn’t work at containing secondhand smoke.

Ms. Dorothy Graham of Oakland, CA, and repeat victim of SHS exposure from Lambert Airport's smoking rooms

Also ignored was testimony from Ms. Dorothy Graham, a highly smoke-sensitive airline passenger from Oakland, California, who had been sickened on two successive years when changing flights at Lambert.

She wrote Missouri GASP about how it had ruined her subsequent vacations in Virginia, saying she would never fly though Lambert airport ever again. Her detailed letter and reminder of our tests of an airport smoking room were faxed to St. Louis City administration on September 6, 2000. Lambert airport director at the time, Col. Leonard Griggs, merely dismissed her complaint in his written reply of September 29, 2000, in which he wrote:

““First, let me assure you that maintaining a tobacco smoke-free environment outside of the smoking lounges at Lambert is a top priority. The number one mission of the Lambert team is to provide for the safety of all users of the Airport.” 

Griggs concluded by stating that the smoking rooms were working as intended, ignoring GASP’s evidence to the contrary.

So following is the print version of the OpEd, titled:

Lambert finally kicks the habit
Clean Air
Ending the anachronistic St. Louis airport smoking lounges shows that healthy progress finally wins.

Martin Pion

Dr. Michael Givel


By Martin Pion and Michael Givel | 7 Comments | Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 12:00 am

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport will become smoke-free on Jan. 2, thanks to smoke-free air ordinances in St. Louis and St. Louis County, which voters overwhelmingly approved with Proposition N in November 2009.

The Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution’s airport campaign began in earnest in 1993 when it supported a bill in the St. Louis County Council to make Lambert smoke-free. It was defeated following behind-the-scenes collusion between then-County Council committee chair, John Shear, and the Tobacco Institute, the tobacco industry’s lobbying arm.

Damning evidence of tobacco industry efforts to ensure continued smoking in major American airports, including Lambert, was detailed in a 1990 document titled “Airport Strategy Plan,” discovered by political science professor Michael Givel during an extensive search of formerly secret Tobacco Institute documents made public following a Minnesota state lawsuit. (The document was featured in a Post-Dispatch editorial “Tobacco: Smoking Gun” on July 16, 2000, and in a 2000 scholarly report by Drs. Michael Givel and Stanton Glantz, “The Public Health Undermined: The Tobacco Industry’s Legacy in Missouri in the 1990s.“)

The Airport Strategy Plan’s primary goal was to accommodate smokers, including a tactic used even today by opponents of smoke-free air laws: “Promote the recognition that effective ventilation, air filtration/cleaning technology is the main issue in indoor air quality, not smoking restrictions or bans.”

After the defeat in the county, GASP pursued a federal Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination complaint against Lambert on behalf of two smoke-sensitive individuals, one an asthmatic from St. Louis. That led to a meeting between GASP and the Lambert Airport director in December 1994. The director said he was leaning toward making the airport smoke-free.

William Fronick, Lambert Airport

However, in a subsequent meeting with Airport Architectural Manager William Fronick, GASP was informed that instead the airport was going to install seven smoking rooms exhausted outside, at a cost reported later as $450,000. GASP warned Fronick that the smoking rooms wouldn’t work because secondhand smoke would diffuse out the open doorway and into adjoining areas, but this was ignored.

After the first smoking lounges were opened in early 1997, Fronick made an astonishing observation to a Post-Dispatch reporter:

You could see the blue haze inside, but nothing came out of the door,” he said. “We assume if you can’t see it, it’s not there.

Fronick’s logic, that toxins and carcinogens that are invisible don’t exist, is patently absurd.

In late 1993 and early 1994, GASP conducted a covert nicotine monitor test near a smoking room in Lambert and had similar tests conducted in smoke-free Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for comparison. The Lambert test proved significant amounts of secondhand smoke were escaping out the open doorway, and that smoking around airport entrances also was contributing.

Colin Nichols, Lambert airport passenger, July 1998

The following year, those results were featured in a News Channel 5 Cover Story, which included a comment by a British passenger waiting near a smoking room:

I call it a death box. It looks like a sort of living coffin.

Exposure to the secondhand smoke near the smoking lounges increased the risk of heart disease and lung cancer.

The estimated risk for lung cancer from the secondhand smoke one of the smoking lounges, based on nicotine level, was 60 times greater than for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulated human carcinogens, GASP president Martin Pion then told the television interviewer.

Reporter Linton Johnson (L) & James Repace

James Repace, a former EPA indoor-air quality scientist and now an internationally recognized consultant on secondhand smoke, told the reporter that chronic exposure to secondhand smoke levels outside the smoking lounges posed a heart disease mortality risk to nearby airport workers that was 600 times greater than federal “acceptable” risk level of 1 death per 1 million exposed population per working lifetime.

Repace concluded, “If I were working there I would make a complaint to my management that I was being exposed to toxic waste.

In March 2004, our peer-reviewed paper “Airport smoking rooms don’t work” was published in the scientific journal, Tobacco Control. The paper included a nicotine-monitor smoking room measurement by Environmental Solutions in St. Louis, confirming GASP’s earlier result.

In response, Lambert quietly removed the smoking room tested in the paper but continued to defend the rest whenever threatened by legislation.

Now, the new ordinances will bring this sorry chapter to a close. They are a major victory for everyone who frequents Lambert and shows how persistent activism in the public interest can prevail against Big Tobacco.

Martin Pion, B.Sc., is president of the Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution (GASP) Inc. and Michael Givel, Ph.D., is an associate professor of political science, Policy Studies Organization, at the University of Oklahoma.

Is U.S. Surgeon General Benjamin exaggerating 1 cigarette exposure risk?

Dr. Regina Benjamin, US Surgeon General

The thirtieth tobacco-related report of the U.S. Surgeon General has just been released by Dr. Regina Benjamin, the current USSG, titled:

How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease

Including references and index, it’s an impressive 706 pages long.

By necessity, the synthesis of the report and media reviews of it focus on its highlights. The one that seems to have caught public attention though is due to one aspect of the report which USSG Dr. Regina Benjamin has apparently emphasized: the risk to a smoker of inhaling just one cigarette or to which a nonsmoker is exposed.

The way it’s been described suggests that one inhalation or exposure may be enough to put in train events that will doom the individual. The science doesn’t support that and such a view ultimately undermines public health, according to Dr. Michael Siegel, author of the popular and insightful blog “The Rest of the Story“. He is a critic of tobacco control advocates who exaggerate the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke, arguing that this erodes public confidence and support in the scientific community and public health advocates.

Dr. Michael Siegel, Boston University School of Public Health

The following e-mail exchange with Dr. Siegel was informative on the subject of exposure and risk that is pertinent:

MoGASP: I watched the new US Surgeon General being interviewed on the PBS Newshour last night and some of her pronouncements seemed possibly overblown. In particular, this one picked up in a USA Today story (pasted in full below):

Just one cigarette can harm DNA, Surgeon General says

It’s evidently being claimed in the latest USSG Report on smoking that one cigarette can harm both a smoker and an exposed nonsmoker. That may be true but how great is the harm? Can it lead irreversibly to cell damage likely to cause lung cancer, for example?

I was exposed to considerable amounts of secondhand smoke in the two workplaces where I worked after emigrating to the U.S. following a job transfer in early 1977. That only stopped after I took early retirement in 1991, but I find it hard to believe that if I’d been exposed to just ONE cigarette, which certainly occurred in my younger days in England, that would lead irrevocably to a smoking-related disease.

Dr. Michael Siegel: I agree with you completely that this is being overblown. While it is technically correct that a single whiff of secondhand smoke could affect one’s DNA, it defies the laws of dose-response relationships to argue that a single whiff of smoke could cause cancer. As you’ll see on Monday, I think this type of exaggeration could actually do damage by undermining the public’s appreciation of the dose-response relationship. If a single cigarette can kill you, then why cut down? Or why quit?

For carcinogenic effects, the dose-response relationship is a linear one. There are numerous studies which show this to be the case. The same holds true for secondhand smoke exposure.

For cardiovascular disease, the relationship is not a linear one. It increases steeply and then levels off, as you say. A good explanation for that phenomenon can be found here: http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/2/462.abstract.

MoGASP: My wife’s mother liked to smoke a cigarette after a meal, which she did during the time she was visiting us one year some time ago. She would sit out in the backyard, at my request, and my wife would sit with her to keep her company and avoid her feeling ostracized. My wife’s mother argued that just three cigarettes a day wasn’t very harmful. She died in her seventies of a heart attack, as I recall. Is it reasonable to assume, as I did at the time, that even that level of smoking could have been responsible?

Dr. Michael Siegel: Absolutely. Because of the dose-response relationship between tobacco smoke and cardiovascular disease, it is very possible that smoking a few cigarettes per day can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Siegel has since written an extensive article on his blog:

Surgeon General’s Office Again Misrepresents and Distorts the Science in Report Press Release; Why the Need to Lie to the American Public?

The USA TODAY article referenced above is pasted below:

Just one cigarette can harm DNA, Surgeon General says

Photo By Darron Cummings, AP #3

By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

Even brief exposure to tobacco smoke causes immediate harm to the body, damaging cells and inflaming tissue in ways that can lead to serious illness and death, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s new report on tobacco, the first such report in four years.

While the report, out today, focuses on the medical effects of smoke on the body, it also sheds light on why cigarettes are so addictive: They are designed to deliver nicotine more quickly and more efficiently than cigarettes did decades ago.

Every exposure to tobacco, from occasional smoking or secondhand smoke, can damage DNA in ways that lead to cancer.

“Tobacco smoke damages almost every organ in your body,” says Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. In someone with underlying heart disease, she says, “One cigarette can cause a heart attack.”

About 40 million Americans smoke — 20% of adults and older teens. Tobacco kills more than 443,000 a year, says the 700-page report, written with contributions from 64 experts.

Cigarette smoking costs the country more than $193 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity.

Recent changes in the design and ingredients in cigarettes have made them more likely to hook first-time users and keep older smokers coming back, Benjamin says. Changes include:

•Ammonia added to tobacco, which converts nicotine into a form that gets to the brain faster.

•Filter holes that allow people to inhale smoke more deeply into the lungs.

•Sugar and “moisture enhancers” to reduce the burning sensation of smoking, making it more pleasant, especially for new cigarette users.

“This is the first report that demonstrates that the industry has consciously redesigned tobacco products in ways that make them even more attractive to young people,” says Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria, parent company of Philip Morris USA, declined to comment until he had time to study the report.

 A Deadly Practice

1 in 5 deaths attributed to tobacco annually.


443,000 Americans killed by tobacco per year.


$193 billion annual cost in health care and lost productivity in the U.S. due to cigarette smoking.


4,100: approximate number of teens who smoke their first cigarette each day.


85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking.



Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services