2011-04-26 P-D: “City blocks second vote on O’Fallon, Mo., smoking ban”

This article by reporter Mark Schlinkmann, published in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch on page A3, appears to signal the end of the effort by smoke-free air opponents to overturn O’Fallon’s recently-approved ordinance via a petition drive.

I received this comment on the article from a smoke-free air supporter which he permitted me to share:

“… I thought Pepper actually had helped our cause. You’ve got to admit, the guy is so wacko that I suspect some voters voted for the ordinance in reaction to him.

He has become a sideshow, kinda like Hannegan. Maybe the voters will put him out of his misery next time he’s up…

The idea that voters didn’t know what they were voting on is also specious. There was lots of publicity, and Pepper had been howling like an old yellow dog for a month or more.”

Readers comments on-line include the following from some opponents and supporters:

Bill Hannegan said on: April 26, 2011, 2:36 am
The O’Fallon smoking ban conflicts with definition of public places established by Missouri state law. I hope Councilman Pepper brings that up to the Council. … Most St. Charles County residents favor exemptions for smoking in bars and cocktail lounges, which this law does not allow.
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Shrill Flanagan said on: April 26, 2011, 8:51 am
Hey ClydesdaleFan and Wandering Hebrew, me and Bill Hannigan (sic) don’t care what the voters think or what the science says. We want to smoke where we want to smoke. We will use the “business’ right to choose” argument until the very end. Second hand smoke is a myth. Anyone can fake being sick. We can’t help it if we are addicted to tobacco. After all, nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man – so don’t blame us! When you see us smoking, have a heart.
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harleyrider1978 said on: April 26, 2011, 10:12 am
The Myth of second hand smoke

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA
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edantes1701 said on: April 26, 2011, 11:06 am
Harleyrider… apparently the Surgeon General disagrees with the acting head of OSHA. Does the acting head of OSHA have a medical degree?
In 1986, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that exposure to SHS can cause disease, including lung cancer, in non-smokers; simple separation of smoker and nonsmoker within the same air space does not eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke. (3)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Health Promotion and Education, Office on Smoking and Health, 1986. DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 87-8398.

————————————————————–

I’d personally be interested in seeing a copy of the letter from Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, quoted by harleyrider1978 above.


City blocks second vote on O’Fallon, Mo., smoking ban

BY MARK SCHLINKMANN • mschlinkmann@post-dispatch.com > 636-255-7203 | Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:20 am | Comments (27 as of April 26, 2011, 11:09 am)

O’FALLON, Mo. • City officials Monday blocked an attempt to spur a second election on a smoking ban passed by voters three weeks ago.
         City Clerk Pam Clement said the city charter and ordinances don’t allow gathering of signatures for a referendum on a law passed through the initiative petition process, such as the smoking ban.
         “The power of referendum … encompasses only ordinances enacted by the City Council.” Clement said in a letter to Carrie Ellis of a group called Repeal the Ban. “It does not extend to ordinances enacted directly by the people of the city through initiative.”
         Clement issued her decision after consulting with City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe.
         Ellis said last week that many residents weren’t aware how far-reaching the ban was before this month’s election. The ban passed with almost 73 percent support.
         Ellis on Monday said “we will review our options and decide at that point how best to proceed.”
         However, Jim Mueller, a leader in a Veterans of Foreign Wars post who planned to work on the referendum effort, said, “We feel we’re kind of dead in the water.”
         The ban takes effect June 16.
         City Councilman Jim Pepper, an outspoken critic of the ban, repeated that he’ll try to get the council to make changes. He said it’s possible that critics would mount an initiative drive to amend it.

8 responses to “2011-04-26 P-D: “City blocks second vote on O’Fallon, Mo., smoking ban”

  1. Harleyrider’s quote was a letter from Greg Watchman, Acting Ass’t Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997, it is reiterated in their policy statement.

    Because the organic material in tobacco doesn’t burn completely, cigarette smoke contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds. Although OSHA has no regulation that addresses tobacco smoke as a whole, 29 CFR 1910.1000 Air contaminants, limits employee exposure to several of the main chemical components found in tobacco smoke. In normal situations, exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs), and, as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, OSHA will not apply the General Duty Clause to ETS.
    http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: Thanks for providing a link to the General Duty Clause re. ETS. I’d still like a reference to the actual letter cited by harleyrider1978.

  2. What the 2006 Surgeon general actually said in the peer-reviewed part of the report, is that no body of evidence exists to determine if safe levels of smoke exist. this does not mean there is not a safe level, only that nobody knows what it is. of course, I think all commonly found levels are safe because huge cohort studies studies are mostly null.

  3. You pretend to be classy Pion, but you really fight sneaky, mean and dirty. The Double D incident made this clear to me. So many times I could have put it to you publicly, but I never have. Actually I have defended you. More and more I see you as phony.

    mogasp reply: I’ll allow this mean-spirited and baseless public attack, just so that people can judge for themselves.
    The unannounced measurement we did at the Double D Lounge was prompted by your repeated claim that this establishment had better indoor air quality than outdoors thanks to ceiling-mounted air filters, even though smoking was allowed, a claim of which I was highly skeptical.
    Ever since I advised you that we’d finally done the test, you’ve been fuming and threatening a law suit to deter publication of results. If anyone is a fraud here it’s you, Bill.
    And just keep this up: it helps to motivate me to publish the results.

  4. Was the test at the DD a true air quality test or did you just test for particulates. The reason I asked is here is a study done by NIOSH and if you notice all of those un-filterable gases where well within safe limits?
    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2005-0201-3080.pdf

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: Particulates and airborne nicotine concentration, the latter being an unequivocal test, since particulates in the size range of SHS can, in theory, be due to other sources.

    t

  5. mogasp reply: Particulates and airborne nicotine concentration, the latter being an unequivocal test, since particulates in the size range of SHS can, in theory, be due to other sources. It is more then theory. The vast majority of indoor airborne particulates is dead skin cells, so the more patrons a business has the more particulates there will be.
    http://www.air-purifiers-online.com/dust.html

    mogasp comment: This is a commercial site with numerous disclaimers.
    Is there any reason to treat it as a definitive source of information on the subject of SHS?
    I’d rather use the US Surgeon General’s Reports. I have found them to be generally reliable, apart from some occasional lapses which have been seized on by critics, with some justification, e.g. the 1 cigarette smoked or to which you’re exposed will inevitable kill you.

  6. Tony Palazzolo

    MoGASP,
    There is a reason that we have latched onto these crazy ideas such as the most recent Surgeon Generals Report. Its not like these are buried in a report. Its what they are pushing on the public. I listened to a radio interview with the SG after the release of the report. She said in the interview that a completly healthy young man could suffer a heart attack from one whiff. Hence the “One whiff can kill”. Quite frankly we should push that more. You should be concerned because the more they stretch the science the less credible all it becomes. Remember that they made the same mistake during prohibition.

    mogasp reply: Like Dr. Mike Siegel I have been critical of public health authorities when they stretch the truth. It’s unnecessary and merely serves to undermine public confidence in the need for protection from secondhand smoke.
    I have no idea as to whether the same was true for prohibition.

  7. mogasp comment: “This is a commercial site with numerous disclaimers. Is there any reason to treat it as a definitive source of information on the subject of SHS?. . .I’d rather use the US Surgeon General’s Reports. “
    I would hardly call The politically appointed USSG a legitimate scientific source. Especially since three of the key players are well known anti-smoking activist including the key author, Sammet, all disgraced when they released the fraudulent 1992 EPA report. On page 21 of the 2006 SG report they admit using the same questionable methodology that got them into trouble in the first place … “because they deemed it useful.”
http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/fullreport.pdf
    So I would hardly call the USSG report definitive on particulate matter. Perhaps this is a better resource: it clearly shows that the air we breath could be the equivilant of actively smoking a weeks worth of cigarettes every day.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/18/health/webmd/main4358665.shtml
    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp note: I edited down your comment to 1,037 characters from the original 1,159 but next time it will simply be returned. Otherwise it’s unfair to other commenters who abide by the 1,000 character limit.

  8. mogasp note: “I edited down your comment to 1,037 characters from the original 1,159 but next time it will simply be returned. Otherwise it’s unfair to other commenters who abide by the 1,000 character limit.”

    I was unaware you counted spaces. My word processor had the character count at 997. Sorry I will keep that in mind.

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