2011/01/31 P-D Letters: “St. Louis County should curtail smoking ban exemptions”

A great letter from Marc Hartstein grabbed the top spot on today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letters page. It provides further reinforcement for revisiting and strengthening the current St. Louis County smoke-free air ordinance, and removing undesirable and unfair exemptions.

Councilwomen Colleen Wasinger, Barbara Fraser and Marc Hartstein at a CCCAir (CARE) planning meeting, October 27, 2009, just days before the Prop N vote

Letters to the editor, January 31
Comment | Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 12:00 am

St. Louis County should curtail smoking ban exemptions

Regarding “Tougher rules on smoking sought” (Jan. 24): One year ago last fall, a group of committed volunteers united as the County Citizens for Cleaner Air (CARE) to garner support for our St. Louis County Council’s Clean Indoor Air Act.
         During the course of our campaign, CARE volunteers spoke to literally thousands of area citizens. Each of us found that voters on both sides of the issue and on both sides of the aisle expressed their disdain for the law’s exemptions.
         The heart, lung and cancer associations went so far as to initially and vocally oppose the ballot initiative because of them.
         In spite of the exemptions, when given their voice, St. Louis County voters overwhelmingly supported the ballot initiative, passing it by a decisive two-to-one margin. Post-election analysis showed that the proposition earned majority approval in every single county township.
         Now the St. Louis County Council has expressed an interest in building on the landslide victory by improving the law to even better represent the will of an even greater majority. To do so would further improve the health of citizens and visitors to our St. Louis region.
         I applaud St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley for his expressed interest in curtailing or abolishing its exemptions.
         Simply put, I am confident that our elected St. Louis County officials will do what is best, what is right and what is just.

Marc Hartstein • Creve Coeur Volunteer, County Citizens for Cleaner Air

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