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Things are no longer as bad as implied by this cartoon, produced for Missouri GASP back in 1993 by local artist, Paul Dillon.
Almost all dining places in St. Louis City and County are now required to be smoke-free by ordinance, as of January 2, 2011. However, in adjoining counties there is still strong resistance by some in local government to provide such protections, as we’ve just seen in St. Charles County.
And in St. Louis City and County there are still too many exceptions, as I was reminded by a recent e-mail from “DW,” a smoke-sensitive asthmatic living in California. She sent me a copy of a complaint she’d written following a stage production she’d attended in which actors had lit up cigarettes on stage, in violation of state law. In a subsequent e-mail she wrote:
“…. I checked with the authorities, and it is indeed illegal in California. Unfortunately, the theater employee lied to the officer and told him that “fake cigarettes” were being used. At that point, it was my word against theirs. …. My throat and lungs told me the truth, as did the House Manager who admitted to me (before the officer arrived) that they were lighting up real cigarettes onstage.”
DW reminded me of an unpleasant experience when attending a local amateur dramatic performance in which part of the action took place in a night club. At the start of every such scene most of those on-stage would light up to provide the authentic “smoke-laden air” of a night club of the period. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for that smoke to migrate to the back of the nominally smoke-free auditorium where I was sitting.
Her e-mails also prompted me to review the current exemptions in the ordinances for St. Louis City and County. (While they are similar, the City’s doesn’t permit smoking in stage productions while the County’s does. The City also requires Lambert Airport to be smoke-free.) That leaves 8 exemptions, in addition to private residences, in the County’s ordinance:
[Please see the bottom of this blog for St. Louis City’s list of exceptions.]
St. Louis County Chapter 605 INDOOR CLEAN AIR CODE
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)
This compares to the following local ordinance which has fewer exemptions:
Sec. 13-254. Where smoking is not regulated.
(a) Private residences, except when used as licensed child care facilities, adult daycare facilities, health care facilities or enclosed places of employment.
(b) Private vehicles.
(c) Twenty-five percent (25%) of hotel and motel rooms may be permanently designated as smoking rooms.
(d) Retail tobacco stores that derive more than eighty percent (80%) of their total gross revenue from the sale of loose tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, pipes or other tobacco-related products, and which are not merely a department or subsection of a larger commercial establishment.
(Ord. No. 4243 §§1–2, 8-16-10)
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, based in Berkeley, CA, publishes a Model Smoke-free Air Ordinance. Over the years, the list of exemptions has shrunk as public support for smoke-free air has increased. Visiting ANR’s website today, this is what I found:
Sec. 1010. Where Smoking Not Regulated
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article to the contrary, smoking shall not be prohibited in private residences, unless used as a childcare, adult day care, or health care facility.
Coming back to what started this thread, this lady’s unpleasant experience reminds us of two things:
1) That even when you have strong laws there will always be violators.
But more important is that:
2) While we still have some way to go in that direction. without such laws things would be much worse.
SECTION SEVEN. Where Smoking Not Regulated
1. Private residences, except when used as a licensed childcare, licensed adult day care, or licensed health care facility.
2. Not more than twenty percent (20%) of hotel and motel rooms rented to guests and designated as smoking rooms. All smoking rooms on the same floor must be contiguous and smoke from these rooms must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the provisions of this Ordinance. The status of rooms as smoking or nonsmoking may not be changed, except to add additional nonsmoking rooms.
3. Private clubs that have no employees, except when being used for a function to which the general public is invited; provided that smoke from such clubs does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the provisions of this Ordinance. This exemption shall not apply to any organization that is established for the purpose of avoiding compliance with this Ordinance.
4. Outdoor areas of places of employment.
5. Tobacco retail stores as defined by this Ordinance.
6. Casino gaming areas as defined by this Ordinance.
7. Bars in existence on the effective date of this ordinance in which only persons aged twenty one (21) years old or older are permitted to enter the premises, the square footage of the entire floor area of the level of the building on which the bar establishment is located is two thousand (2000) square feet or less. The square footage shall not include kitchen areas, storage areas and bathrooms. The bar shall prominently displays outside of the premises at each entrance and above the bar the following sign in lettering that is black bold Arial font at (ninety-eight) 98 point size: “WARNING : SMOKING ALLOWED HERE”. This exemption for bars shall expire five (5) years after the effective date of this ordinance.