2011/01/02 P-D: “Air clears as smoking ban takes effect in public places”

The headline in the on-line version was different but the message was the same: We can all breathe a little easier this year, thanks to a lot less secondhand smoke pollution in most indoor public places and private workplaces.

But although a great achievement, we can’t rest on our laurels. There are still employees who are expected to put up with tobacco smoke-polluted air as part of their job-description. Chief among them are small bars, which scored a major victory when they won exemptions in the city and county. But leading the pack, of course, is Big Gambling. This seems to have replaced Big Tobacco, at least publicly, when it comes to using its influence to get special treatment, at the expense of both its patrons and employees.

Smoking ban begins to clear air in St. Louis city, county

BY DAVID HUNN • dhunn@post-dispatch.com > 314-436-2239 | Loading… | Posted: Sunday, January 2, 2011 12:05 am
Comments (146, as of January 2, 2011, 5:14 pm)

St. Louis and St. Louis County went smoke-free, as of midnight Saturday.

That means that smoking is prohibited in restaurants, hotel lobbies and all but about 250 of the nearly 1,750 bars in the city and county. (They either have or have applied for exemptions.)

But it also means an odd assortment of “public places.”
Such as Laundromats. And bingo halls.

And elevators, retirement homes and shopping malls.

You can still smoke in your home (unless it’s also a day-care facility), as you can on casino gambling floors, outdoors and in most tobacco stores.

Anti-smoking advocates are cheering. The laws, they say, bring the St. Louis area into line with other metropolitan areas.

Pat Lindsey, TFMo STL

“Everybody I’ve spoken with is very excited about places going smoke-free,” said Pat Lindsey, executive director of Tobacco-Free St. Louis.

Even some bar owners are, she said.

“They’re sick of breathing all that smoke. It’s the case with a lot of them. They weren’t brave enough to do it on their own. But now that they’ve got an excuse, they’d rather be breathing clean air.

“And it’s not their fault. It’s the law.”

Fret not, smokers. One of your neighborhood bars has almost certainly applied for an exemption.

And if they haven’t, there’s still time. City and county officials are still accepting applications for exemptions.

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