2012-01-26 P-D: “Group wants St. Louis County to end smoking ban exemptions”

I didn’t spot this in yesterday’s print version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch so I have to thank Mr. Bill Hannegan for alerting me to it! In his on-line comments following the story Mr. Hannegan posted this:

Bill Hannegan said on: January 26, 2012, 10:52 am

This is a last ditch effort on the part of Tobacco Free St. Louis. Their Obama Stimulus money runs out in March.
“The grant for the project runs out in March 2012.”

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/4c3pwb9


The story aroused a LOT of reader response on-line. Some were from familiar names, such as “harleyrider1978” who uses a helmeted GI with a cigarette drooping from his lips as his logo. There were the usual arguments that private property rights trump public health, which is nonsense on its face, but that doesn’t stop incessant repetition by opponents of smoke-free air. Here’s the story by Post-Dispatch reporter, Margaret Gillerman.

Group wants St. Louis County to end smoking ban exemptions

BY MARGARET GILLERMAN • mgillerman@post-dispatch.com > 314-725-6758 | Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:59 am | Comments (141 as of January 27, 2012, 2:10 pm)

Frank Davenport smokes while visiting with friends and watching NFL games at GB Field Old Timers Saloon in Breckenridge Hills on Jan 2, 2011. The establishment is one of many in St. Louis County impacted by the smoking ban, which went into affect in both St. Louis city and county that day. According to manager Debi Sloan the bar has applied to an exemption to the ban. “People come here expecting to smoke and have a drink,” said Davenport, a Vietnam Veteran from Breckenridge Hills. “If you don’t want to smoke, it’s simple, just don’t come in.”
Photo by Sid Hastings

UNIVERSITY CITY • A group of community leaders working with the Tobacco-Free St. Louis Coalition called on the St. Louis County Council to get rid of the 145 exemptions to the smoking ban that they say allow some businesses to benefit at the expense of others.
         A physician with St. Louis University, a representative of a North County church group and a business owner in University City were among those who spoke at a news conference this morning. They said that the smoking ban exemptions endangered the health of patrons and employees. They also presented an analysis showing that the largest number of exemptions are in communities including North County, where the incidence of heart attacks and respiratory diseases is high.
         “The rate of exemptions is higher in the districts where health disparities are highest – making a bad health situation worse,” said Dr. Stuart Slavin, who is a board member of Tobacco-Free St. Louis and associate dean of the medical school St. Louis University. “The Clean Air Act was a positive and necessary first step to creating a less toxic environment for St. Louisans. But we’re failing those who need it most.”
         The news conference was at Three Kings Public House in University City.
         Derek Deaver, owner of Three Kings Public House, said, “To have some establishments playing by one set of rules and others by a different set of rules has created confusion, and an unlevel playing field. The exemptions have to go.”
         Tobacco-Free St. Louis is a grassroots coalition that educates citizens, provides resources, and supports policies to eliminate the use of tobacco.

3 responses to “2012-01-26 P-D: “Group wants St. Louis County to end smoking ban exemptions”

  1. I would partially agree with Derek Deaver: an unlevel playing field is not a good thing. HOWEVER… since ban advocates consistently claim that bans are GOOD for businesses since 80% of the people want them and will come pouring out of their homes to support smoke-free businesses, then it would appear that the the REAL “unlevel playing field” must be biased against those poor bars that are still allowing smoking.

    Are THEY the ones protesting? I fail to see why… after all, they can simply join all the happy and successful businesses thriving under the ban.

    So someone, somewhere, either must be or must have been lying.

    Is it possible that the Post-Dispatch was lying in its story? Or could it be that Tobacco Free St. Louis was lying about the effects of the ban? It would seem that either one or the other must be true.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

    mogasp comment: I don’t agree with your initial premise about smoke-free air proponents, and the purported exaggerated claims they make. Certainly, MoGASP tries to avoid arguing this on the basis of economics, because to us it’s primarily a health and welfare issue. However, over time it’s reasonable to expect any negative economic impact on businesses to fade away, and there are associated economic benefits with smoke-free air, just as there are for mitigating or removing any air pollutant.

  2. MoGasp, I agree that not all of those favoring bans make extreme claims, but I think a fair look around the net would indicate that most do. The repetition about the “80%” that will come out to play after a ban is in place is almost universal.

    And while the PERCEIVED negative impact on businesses such as bars may “fade away” that does not mean the REAL negative impact on those businesses does. If you walk into a NY neighborhood right now you might find a ten happy, full, money-making bars filled with 1,000 people enjoying themselves. Without the ban you might find 15 such bars and 1,500 people (Yes, I’m aware we disagree on the likelihoods of such things, but for that particular “industry” those are the sorts of longer term effects I believe happen.) My point is that to the casual observer ten years after a ban, all might look fine. But withOUT the ban it might actually look a lot BETTER.

    See the Kuneman/McFadden research at top:


    – MJM

    mogasp character count: 993! You evidently can count up to 1,000.

  3. Personally I simply avoid areas where people are allowed to smoke; I’ll simply get my food to go or go somewhere else. I prefer places where smoking is banned as I can’t stand the fumes.

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