Monthly Archives: February 2011

2011/02/17 P-D: “Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban”

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The purpose of the legislators filing this bill is not to make it more bearable for those incarcerated: it’s to save money on healthcare costs. However, being imprisoned and subjected to secondhand smoke when you’re smoke-sensitive must make incarceration practically intolerable to bear.

                                             AN ACT

To amend chapter 191, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to use of tobacco products in state correctional facilities.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

         Section A. Chapter 191, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 191.774, to read as follows:
         191.774. No person shall smoke or otherwise use tobacco products in any area of a state correctional center or the grounds thereof. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction.

Comment from MoGASP on St. Louis Post-Dispatch web site:

Martin Pion said on: February 18, 2011, 7:21 am
This measure deserves support, but not merely to save the state money on healthcare costs. Especially when incarcerated, you should not be forced to breathe other’s secondhand smoke (SHS).
Likewise, prison guards should not have to be exposed to SHS: it’s not part of the job description.
Martin Pion, President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc. NFP 501(c)(3) since 1986. www.mogasp.wordpress.com

Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:03 am | Comments (60 at 11:38 pm on 2/18/11)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Some Missouri lawmakers want to snuff out cigarettes at state prisons.
         Bills filed recently in both the Missouri House and Senate would prohibit smoking or the use of tobacco products anywhere on the grounds of state correctional facilities.

Sen. Jim Lembke (R - S. St. Louis County)

         One of the sponsors is Republican Sen. Jim Lembke of St. Louis, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says the proposed tobacco ban is a financial issue.
         Lembke says the cost of medical care for prisoners has risen significantly. And he says two chief causes are cardiac problems and cancer, which are associated with tobacco use.
         According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 13 states currently prohibit the use of all tobacco products both indoors and outdoors on the grounds of correctional facilities.
___
Tobacco bills are SB289 and HB445.

Sen. Jim Lembke represents District 01 in SW St. Louis County, primarily just south of St. Louis City.

Rep. Chris Molendorp (R)

Sponsor of HB445 is Rep. Chris Molendorp (R – District 123) in Cass County, south of Kansas City, Mo.

2011/02/17 P-D: “Ritz-Carlton pays fine, says it won’t violate Clayton smoking ban again”

It’s good to see the City of Clayton treat all violators of its comprehensive smoke-free air law equally, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and its high rolling cigar smokers. (Well, not quite that high! They don’t have to smoke out on a window ledge.)

Ritz-Carlton pays fine, says it won’t violate Clayton smoking ban again

BY MARGARET GILLERMAN • mgillerman@post-dispatch.com > 314-725-6758 | Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 12:05 am | Comments (12 at 12:28 am on 2011/2/17))

Related Stories
         Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban
         Brentwood smoking ban may force American Legion post to close
         County smoking ban proves a burden for nursing homes
         Workplaces turning to tobacco-free hiring

CLAYTON • The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis on Wednesday agreed to pay a fine of $300 and court costs of $26.50 for violating Clayton’s smoking ban by proceeding with the hotel’s annual Cigar Club ball.
         The Ritz also agreed to comply with the city’s ordinance in the future, said Clayton Police Chief Tom Byrne.
         That apparently means the end of the Cigar Club’s annual black-tie ball in the hotel’s ballroom.
         More than 300 people attended the ball on Jan. 22, and smoking was common. The hotel’s lawyers had interpreted a section of the Clayton ordinance — a clause allowing smoking in 20 percent of a hotel’s rooms — to cover the ballroom. (The Ritz does have an exemption for the Cigar Club lounge, but that was too small for the ball.)
         Clayton held that the ballroom was not exempt, and police ticketed Ritz general manager Patrick Franssen that night.
         Neither he nor anyone else in Ritz management could be reached for comment Wednesday.
         But the mood Wednesday afternoon in the Cigar Club lounge was decidedly pro-cigar.
         One customer, who asked not to be identified, lamented the loss of the ball.
         “It’s a very fun event and wonderful evening for members of a private club,” the man said. “As long as hotel guests don’t complain, I think the privacy of the club ought to be respected.” Smoking bans went into effect in both St. Louis and St. Louis County on Jan. 2. Clayton’s smoke-free ordinance went into effect on July 1.
         Mayor Linda Goldstein said last month after the incident that the Clayton Board of Aldermen would review and consider amending the smoking ban ordinance to clarify the wording. She said the management at the Ritz was “very apologetic.”
         The maximum penalties for violating Clayton’s ordinance are a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

2011/2/15 KMOV TV: “Missouri lawmakers called ‘hypocritical’ for allowing smoking in House”

A Republican member of the House was left fumbling for words to defend smoking in House member’s offices when interviewed by reporter Maggie Crane in this recent KMOV News Channel 4 TV report.

Some good quotes by both asthmatic Rossie Judd and Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, also an asthmatic, have been bolded in the transcript below, which also includes screen shots.

Missouri lawmakers called ‘hypocritical’ for allowing smoking in House
KMOV.com
Posted on February 15, 2011 at 9:24 PM
Updated Tuesday, Feb 15 at 10:36 PM

KMOV News Channel 4 – Anchor Larry Connners and co-anchor Vickie Newton in the studio:

KMOV anchors Vickie Newton & Larry Connors

Larry Connners: In other news tonight, one woman taking on Big Government, and losing. Missouri lawmakers are firing back at a Fenton woman who wants the Capitol to go smoke-free.

Vickie Newton: We first told you about her complaint, filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, two weeks ago. Well tonight, News 4’s Maggie Crane went to the Capitol to find out why lawmakers refuse to budge.

Rossie Judd (being interviewed by reporter Maggie Crane in a parking lot):
Wherever I go it’s just the right to breathe. It’s just like somebody having the right to work.

Rossie Judd being interviewed by reporter Maggie Crane

Maggie Crane (off camera):          Wherever she goes, Rossie Judd carries an inhaler and says smoking allowed inside the state Capitol stops her from visiting because of chronic breathing problems.

Close-up of Rossie Judd's inhaler


         She filed a complaint hoping to ban smoking in the statehouse once and for all.
         But the House says there are plenty of nonsmoking areas, like hallways, rotundas, and meeting rooms.
         But not inside lawmakers’ offices, and the House refuses to change.
         Republican Rep. Darrell Pollack voted down the smoking ban. He doesn’t smoke, but says it’s a matter of personal choice.


Reporter Maggie Crane interviewing Rep. Darrell Pollack in his House office

Maggie Crane (interviewing Rep. Darrell Pollack in his Capitol office): “All Missouri state buildings are smoke-free. Why should the Capitol be different?

Rep. Darrell Pollack, chair of the Committee on Utilities, but not in the Republican leadership


Rep. Darrell Pollack: “Well, um, again, I think if you have individual offices they are, er, that Representative can be held accountable one way or the other. And I don’t have to tell him whether or not he can or cannot do in that office.”

Rossie Judd (being interviewed in parking lot): “They’re not private offices, they belong to the public. We put them in there; we pay them salaries.

Reporter Maggie Crane outside door leading from House chamber to private Member's Lounge


Maggie Crane: “For the first time in history Representatives voted as one — unanimously approving the House rules. With it came a change to not allow smoking in the House Lounge just behind the chamber. Still — not good enough for some.”

Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford being interviewed in Capitol


Rep. Jeanette Mott-Oxford: “There aren’t Republican lungs and Democrat lungs. There are only human lungs, and all of us are in danger from second-hand smoke.

Maggie Crane (off-camera): St. Louis Democrat Jeanette Mott-Oxford says the air is shared, subjecting anyone in the Capitol to other lawmakers’ smoke.

Maggie Crane (interviewing Rep. Oxford in state Capitol): “Do you think this sends a message that lawmakers are above the law?

Rep. Oxford: “Unfortunately, I do. I think it’s hypocritical of us to, um, have rules for others that we don’t put ourselves under.”

Maggie Crane: “She hopes for change, but knows that, like any law, it won’t happen overnight. In Jefferson City, Maggie Crane, News 4.”

Following goes to KMOV Channel 4 web page with story:
http://www.kmov.com/outbound-feeds/yahoo-news/Missouri-lawmakers-called-hypocritical-for-allowing-smoking-in-House-114624514.html

Following goes directly to KMOV Channel 4 video report:
http://www.kmov.com/v/?i=114624514

2011/2/15: Are St. Louis County businesses abiding by new smoke-free air law signage requirement?

While checking out Steve Patterson’s insightful St. Louis City blog, Urban Review STL, I came across this one he’d posted on January 5th, 2011:

Readers: Businesses Will Think They Are Grandfathered On New Smoke-Free Laws

In it Steve described going to a restaurant which lacked the required “No Smoking” symbol on the door which prompted him to run a reader’s poll on the subject, and follow up by surveying businesses on Washington Avenue for compliance. He found none displaying the requisite signage. That prompted me to do a quick spot check of a few businesses in downtown Ferguson on Florissant Rd. in North St. Louis County.

St. Louis County "No Smoking" sign with additional verbiage relating to ordinance added at bottom.

Just to recap, both St. Louis City’s and St. Louis County’s smoke-free air laws were approved after Proposition N received more than 65% of the vote on November 2, 2009, but didn’t take effect until January 2, 2010. It was said that the delay was to give bars time to seek and obtain an exemption.

All affected businesses are now expected to display either the internationally recognized “No Smoking” symbol or one like that approved by the St. Louis County Health Department, shown above.

I checked out two businesses in downtown Ferguson where I knew smoking had previously been allowed plus one that I knew to be smokefree. None complied with the law.

Cohen's Upholstery, 17 S. Florissant Rd. 63135
Photo: Jan. 5, 2011. Still no sign on Feb. 14.

The two businesses where smoking has been allowed in the past – Cohen’s Upholstery and Vincenzo’s Italian Ristorante – displayed no signage. The smoke-free restaurant had a small “No Smoking” sign on the inner door predating the ordinance but not one on the outer entry door as the ordinance requires.

It’s clearly more important for formerly smoking-permitted businesses to put up signage and remove ashtrays to comply with the law, since those with a history of being smoke-free aren’t going to deliberately flout the law.

Cohen’s Upholstery has a good reputation for its work. Unfortunately, both owners and employees smoke, and two pieces of furniture re-upholstered for me by Cohen’s smelled of tobacco smoke for months after taking them home.

Vincenzo's Italian Ristorante, 242 S. Florissant Rd. 63135.
Photo: Jan. 5, 2011. Still no sign Feb. 14.

I visited Vincenzo’s years ago to check it out when it first opened and discovered that as soon as you enter, there’s a bar on the right where smoking is allowed, just across the hall from the entrance to the restaurant.

It’s potentially a restaurant I’d like to patronize on occasions if it were smoke-free, so once I’m sure it is abiding by the new St. Louis County rules I hope to sample its cuisine.

The Thyme Table Cafe, 304 S. Florissant Rd. 63135

The Thyme Table Cafe offers reasonably priced and well-prepared midday meals with waitress service.

The Thyme Table inner door No Smoking sign

Owner Farzad Faramarzi, who regrettably passed away recently, also ran the Savoy Banquet Center nearby. He was an early booster of the City of Ferguson and his loss was mourned by many.

The Thyme Table started in a much smaller venue on Church Street about a mile further north. While in that location Mr. Faramarzi polled his patrons and found they overwhelmingly supported a smoke-free environment. That’s when his cafe went smoke-free, well before the smoke-free movement started to take hold in St. Louis.
On Thursday, January 27th, 2011, I was pleased to attend Ferguson City Council’s Annual Boards and Commissions Dinner as a member of the Traffic Commission, held at the Savoy. My concern with such events is always: will they be posted “No Smoking” on the entry door and will ashtrays be removed to alert attendees and ensure it’s a smoke-free event?

My experience is that without doing those two things, now required by law, smoking is likely to occur, especially in the bar area. I’ve even seen attendees pop outside to smoke while holding the emergency exit open with a foot, which results in secondhand smoke still migrating inside. With the signage on both the main entry door and the emergency exit and no ashtrays. no smoking occurred at this event.

Click either image below repeatedly to enlarge:

Close-up of No Smoking sign on Savoy main entry door

The Savoy Banquet & Entertainment Center, 119 S. Florissant Rd.


Immediately below is the link to St. Louis County’s Indoor Clean Air Code on the web and below that is reproduced the section listing both where smoking is now prohibited and where it is still allowed.

(Note: Not bolded in the original text but blue bolded here are the sections dealing with the removal of ashtrays and required “No Smoking” signage.)

http://www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/IndoorCleanAirCode/

605.040 Prohibition of smoking in enclosed places of employment and other public places. —
1. It shall be unlawful for any person within an enclosed place of employment to possess lighted or heated smoking materials in any form, including but not limited to the possession of lighted or heated cigarettes, cigars, pipes or other tobacco products.
2. It shall be unlawful for any person within an enclosed public place, or within any other places hereinafter specified, to possess lighted or heated smoking materials in any form, including but not limited to the possession of lighted or heated cigarettes, cigars, pipes or other tobacco products, including but not limited to the following places:
a. Elevators in public buildings;
b. Restrooms in public buildings;
c. Libraries, educational facilities, childcare and adult day care facilities, museums, auditoriums, aquariums and art galleries;
d. Any health care facility, health clinic or ambulatory care facilities, including, but not limited to: laboratories associated with the rendition of health care treatment, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and dentists’ offices;
e. Any indoor place of entertainment or recreation, including, but not limited to gymnasiums, theaters, concert halls, bingo halls, arenas and swimming pools;
f. Service lines;
g. Facilities primarily used for exhibiting a motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical recital or other similar performance;
h. Shopping malls or retail establishments;
i. Indoor and outdoor sports arenas;
j. Restaurants, including lounge and bar areas, except outdoor dining areas;
k. Convention facilities;
l. All indoor public areas and waiting rooms of public transportation facilities, including, but not limited to bus and mass transportation facilities;
m. Any other area used by the public or serving as a place of work;
n. Every room, chamber, place of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings under the control of any board, council, commission, committee, including, but not limited to joint committees, or agencies of the County or any political subdivision of the state during such time as a public meeting is in progress, to the extent such place is subject to the jurisdiction of the County;
o. All enclosed areas owned by the County;
p. Rooms in which meetings or hearings open to the public are held, except where such rooms are in a private residence;
q. Sidewalks, driveways and other open areas within fifteen (15) feet of the entry to any building owned or occupied by any governmental entity, or within fifteen (15) feet of the entry to any building open to the public; provided, however, that this entryway prohibition shall not apply within outside dining areas where smoking is permitted or to entries that are located less than fifty (50) feet from another public entry.
3. It shall be unlawful to dispose of smoking waste, or to place or maintain a receptacle for smoking waste, in an area in which smoking is prohibited under this chapter.
(O. No. 24105, 8-25-09)

605.050 Responsibilities of proprietors, owners and managers. —
1. It shall be unlawful for any person having control of a place listed in this chapter knowingly to permit, cause, suffer or allow any person to violate the provisions of this chapter. It shall be an affirmative defense to an alleged violation of this subsection that the person having control of a place has asked that the lighted or heated cigarette, cigar, pipe or other tobacco product be extinguished and asked the person to leave the establishment if that person has failed or refused to extinguish the lighted or heated cigarette, cigar, pipe or other tobacco product.

2. A person having control of a place shall clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) near all entrances where smoking is prohibited pursuant to this chapter. Such signage shall consist of letters not less than one inch in height.
3. It shall be the responsibility of employers to provide smoke-free workplaces for all employees.
4. All employers shall supply a written copy of the smoking policy upon request to any existing or prospective employee.
(O. No. 24105, 8-25-09)

605.060 Exceptions.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the following shall not be subject to the smoking restrictions of this chapter:

a. Private residences, not serving as enclosed places of employment or enclosed public places;
b. Private clubs;
c. Performers on stage in a theatrical production, where smoking is required as part of the production;
d. Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the residents of which are all smokers and have all requested the management of the facility to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted;
e. Retail establishments in which food is not prepared on the premises and where more than 60% of the volume of trade or business carried on is the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products;
f. Permanently designated smoking rooms, not to exceed twenty percent of the guest rooms;
g. Cigar bars, provided such entity is in operation on or before the effective date of this chapter and provided that smoke does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is otherwise prohibited;
h. Casino gaming areas;
i. Drinking establishments which are in operation on or before the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that no smoke infiltrates into areas where smoking is otherwise prohibited, and further provided that each such drinking establishment has posted in a place visible to the public from its exterior a certificate of exemption issued by the Department of Revenue pursuant to Section 605.076;
j. Areas designated and posted as smoking areas by the Airport Authority of Lambert St. Louis International Airport pursuant to Section 721.045, Title VII SLCRO 1974 as amended.
(O. No. 24105, 8-25-09)

2011/02/11: Celebrating smoke-free air in formerly smokey O’Connell’s Pub, St. Louis City

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County Citizens for Cleaner Air co-chairs, Jane Suozzi and Charles Gatton, at the kickoff meeting on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009.

On Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, a group of citizens came together to form County Citizens for Cleaner Air to support Proposition-N, the ballot initiative to approve St. Louis County’s smoke-free air ordinance. It kicked off a hectic few weeks before the successful vote on Tuesday, November 3rd which eventually ushered in smoke-free air in most public places and workplaces in St. Louis City and County on January 2, 2011.

That original meeting was reported in the mogasp blog Post-Dispatch 10/14/2009: “Push to derail smoking ban begins” which also described opposition efforts to defeat Proposition-N.

Some of the individuals involved in the successful grass-roots campaign finally got to savor that victory.

To mark the law going into effect in the City of St. Louis on January 2, 2011, several members of County Citizens for Cleaner Air (CCCAir) gathered on Friday night, February 11th, 2011, at O’Connell’s Pub, a popular watering hole on Shaw Ave. just off of Kingshighway.

It was chosen because it offered good pub grub with specialties such as a massive roast beef sandwich, which I sampled. Before the law took effect the pub required a gas mask to enter for anyone who was smoke-sensitive.

On Friday night at 6 pm it was already crowded with a line of patrons waiting to be seated in the dining area but not a whiff of tobacco smoke.

What a difference a law can make!

Members of the CCCAir party were already holding a spot at the front of the waiting line when I arrived at 6 pm but it was 7 pm before the group was seated, and 7:45 pm before food was served, so if you arrive with an appetite, as I did, be patient! But it’s worth the wait and the quantity is so generous you’ll have plenty of leftovers to take home with you.

Some members of the original CCCAir group, such as Dr. Stuart Slavin of St. Louis University School of Public Health, Jean Loemker who helped set up the first of several meetings, and Ernie Wolf, former owner of a smoke-free St. Louis business, didn’t make it, but go to Prop-N passes by large majority! Supporters buoyed by success to see some photos taken at Pi Pizzeria on Manchester Rd. near Kirkwood the night the Prop-N votes were tallied.

Charles Gatton, co-chair of Prop-N, his spouse, and Jane Suozzi, the other co-chair, waiting at the head of the line in O'Connell's Pub.


Leann Chilton, BJC Healthcare, dropped by and treated Charles Gatton & spouse, Jane Suozzi and others to a drink.


Pat Lindsey from St. Louis University, Executive Director of Tobacco Free St. Louis, and Jane Suozzi in conversation


Marc Hartstein, Hart Communications, in conversation with former County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, whose bill led to the Prop-N vote. Marc provided invaluable analysis that helped focus limited resources prior to the vote.


Mrs. Gatton talking to Martha Bhattacharya, PhD, a postgraduate researcher at Washington University St. Louis, who was CCCAir Treasurer.


Marc Hartstein presenting framed memento of campaign to Martin Pion, president of MoGASP, which actively supported Prop-N.

2011/02/12 P-D: “Nursing homes find smoking ban a burden”

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The reaction of some nursing home operators to the new county and city smoke-free air laws creates a dilemma. An addicted smoker in a nursing home is likely to have a problem with being denied smoking privileges that formerly were taken for granted. At the same time, employees should not have to be exposed to secondhand smoke while on the job.

There’s also the issue of “Enabling behavior.” That’s the term used for someone who assists an alcoholic, for example, by denying that it’s a problem. The first priority from a health standpoint is instead to try and help that person to quit.

When it comes to smoking, though, enabling behavior seems to be the norm, at least in a nursing home! There’s something of a disconnect there, but clearly people are blind to it. It bears a striking similarity to what happened just last week when four Brentwood aldermen voted to allow smoking back in a VFW post.

And it wasn’t all THAT long ago that I recall smoking being allowed in hospitals, on the oncology floor with cancer patients no less. I visited Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, some years ago to speak to a person in public relations. I entered past a guard who was smoking, and waited in the visitor’s lobby where there was a smoking section.

The hospital gift shop also sold cigarettes and I asked about that too.

I was told it was unreasonable to expect patients (or their visitors) to smoke outside the hospital. And as for the gift shop, it was manned by volunteers raising money for the hospital and selling cigarettes was for the convenience of the patients.

Rather than set an example, ALL local hospitals – not just BJC – lagged behind in providing a smoke-free environment. Hospitals didn’t want to turn away their best customers: smokers suffering from smoking-induced illnesses. It all came down to money.

County smoking ban proves a burden for nursing homes

BY PAUL HAMPEL • phampel@post-dispatch.com > 314-727-6234 | Posted: Saturday, February 12, 2011 12:05 am | Comments (53 @ 2:42 pm 2/12/11)

CLAYTON • St. Louis County’s new smoking ban is proving to be a great inconvenience for nursing homes, operators say.
         The ban included an exemption that allows smoking in residents’ rooms if all occupants agree. But state law requires that all smoking be supervised in nursing homes.
         That was not a problem when smoking was permitted in common areas. But nursing home operators say they do not have enough personnel to supervise smoking in individual rooms.
         Last week, Cheryl Wilson, director of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in Brentwood, wrote to members of the County Council to ask them to revise the ordinance to allow smoking in designated areas of the facilities. The ombudsman program is federally funded and oversees long-term care facilities.
         “We’ve been getting calls from facilities asking ‘What do we do?'” Wilson said. “What this (ban) has done is effectively outlaw smoking in all nursing homes because it’s just impossible for them to supervise smoking in each and every room.”
         Wilson cited a state regulation that allows smoking “only in designated areas.”
         County Counselor Patricia Redington said the county’s ban, which took effect Jan. 2, is consistent with the state regulation, though she concedes that allowing smoking in individual rooms may prove inconvenient for nursing homes.
         “The ban was crafted to have very minimal exceptions and I suspect the County Council did not want smoking in lounges where workers might be exposed,” Redington said.
         A smoking ban that took effect in the city of St. Louis at the same time as the county’s prohibits smoking in all “private and semi-private rooms” of nursing homes and does not include an exemption for residents’ rooms.
         Wilson said that nursing home operators have told her that, by and large, they have been ignoring the law and allowing residents to continue smoking as they had before, though not in their rooms, as that is considered a fire hazard.
         “You can’t expect older people to go outside and smoke right after we’ve had an ice storm,” Wilson said. “One nursing home has a 100-year-old man who has been smoking since he was 10 years old. How can you tell him he can’t smoke anymore?”

County Council Chairman Steve Stenger, at swearing in ceremony, St. Louis County Government Center, January 1, 2011

         County Council Chairman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, said the smoking ban included an exemption to allow people to smoke inside their homes, and the council wanted nursing home residents to be included in that exemption.
         “Any time that you legislate for the public health, and particularly with a smoking ban, there are going to be ramifications,” Stenger said.
         He said the council is willing to meet with nursing home operators and residents.
         “We want to do anything we can for nursing homes to protect the rights of the residents and do that in the least-restrictive way possible,” Stenger said. “We’ll figure out something that is mutually agreeable.”

2011/02/10 P-D: “Missouri Athletic Club fined for smoking violation”

This is the first known example of a fine being imposed by the City of St. Louis on a scofflaw organization claiming to be exempt from the new smoke-free air law, which went into effect on January 2, 2011. A similar law became effective in St. Louis County on the same day.

Are there any other examples of violations?

Pat Lindsey, Executive Director of Tobacco-Free St. Louis, suggests there are in the article below. That would not be surprising, since no law exists which is 100% effective, but the city and county should do everything possible to ensure compliance.

Missouri Athletic Club fined for smoking violation

BY DAVID HUNN dhunn@post-dispatch.com 314-436-2239 | Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:00 am | Comments (82 by 10:57 am on 2/10/11)

Missouri Athletic Club, St. Louis City

ST. LOUIS • One of the city’s most venerable private organizations, the Missouri Athletic Club, has refused to outlaw smoking in its downtown building and has been cited by the city — touching off a confrontation that, if escalated, could lead to the club’s closure.
         The city’s health department sent a notice of violation earlier this week and fined the club $100.
         If the Missouri Athletic Club continues to allow smoking, the health department can issue two more fines, of up to $700 total, by law. And if that doesn’t clear the air, the city could declare the MAC a public nuisance, which would give the health department the authority to shut it down.
         The violation is the first the city has sent to an establishment since a smoking ban took effect Jan. 2.
         “Nobody’s above the law,” Mayor Francis Slay said on Wednesday. “Hopefully, we can convince them we’re on the right side. If not, we’ll have to take it further. This is about public health.”
         MAC President Chris Lawhorn declined to discuss the issue.
         “Because we’re a private club, we are addressing matters internally,” he said. “And we intend to keep our matters private.”
         Health director Pam Walker said the club administration told one of her inspectors Friday that MAC attorneys believe the club is private and is therefore exempt from the ban. MAC rules, the inspector had been told, allow smoking in the lobby, inside the first floor’s Jack Buck Grille, and in a section of the employee lounge.
         The city disagrees.
         “The ordinance says private clubs who do not have employees are exempt,” Walker said. “Since they have employees, we do not feel we can exempt them.”
         The city’s smoking ban exempts establishments if they meet certain criteria. Bars, for instance, must not make more than 25 percent of their revenue from food sales. And private clubs can’t have employees.
         St. Louis County, which enacted a similar ban on Jan. 2, has not cited any establishments for violations, said county health director Dolores Gunn. She didn’t know of any businesses that have told the county they were going to continue allowing smoking, regardless of the law.
         In Clayton, which has its own ban, managers at the Ritz-Carlton were apologetic late last month after getting ticketed for hosting a cigar club party, according to city officials.
         Walker said no other business or group in the city has told her overtly that they weren’t going to follow the law.
         But others say it’s unclear if the MAC is the only establishment scoffing at the ban, pointing to accounts of bars and restaurants still freely allowing smoking.

Pat Lindsey, TFMo STL

         “I have a feeling things are running amok in the city,” said Pat Lindsey, executive director of Tobacco-Free St. Louis, which pushed for the ban.
         Walker, however, has said that city inspectors would get to each establishment in the city as they could.
         The MAC has been an exclusive athletic, dining and social club for more than 100 years. In January, health inspectors visited the club after receiving complaints about smoking.
         On Jan. 4, an MAC manager admitted to an inspector that the club was letting patrons smoke but claimed he couldn’t change the situation without a decision by the board. Walker gave the club a month to comply.
         On Jan. 19, inspector James Boswell contacted MAC general manager Larry Thompson again, according to the city violation notice sent to the club. Thompson said his attorneys told him the smoking ban “does not impact the MAC.”
         By late January, the MAC was still hosting cigar-puffing happy hours. One Friday night, at least a half-dozen men stood around the club’s first floor bar, tumblers in one hand, stogies in the other.