2012-01-27 STL Beacon: “Areas with most smoking-related illness have most exemptions to smoking ban”

My thanks to Pat Lindsey, director of Tobacco-Free St. Louis, for suggesting I take a closer look at this good article in the on-line Beacon describing yesterday’s press event at which Dr. Slavin was a key speaker.

One can conclude from the article that it doesn’t necessarily reduce smoking but that smoke-free air extended to bars would certainly protect employees from exposure to secondhand smoke, while also ensuring a smoke-free public venue.

Areas with most smoking-related illness have most exemptions to smoking ban
By Robert Joiner, Beacon health reporter
Posted 10:23 am Fri., 1.27.12

Many establishments that are exempted from St. Louis County’s public-smoking ban are in areas with the highest incidences of smoking-related illnesses, according to an analysis by Tobacco-Free St. Louis. It also argues that the exemptions could undo the health benefits of the Clean Air Act and that they are unfair to the majority of county establishments that have banned smoking.
         According to an analysis by Tobacco-Free St. Louis, 56 of the exempted establishments are in north county. Another 41 are in south county, 29 are in west county and the remaining 20 are in the mid-county region, including the smoke-free communities of Clayton, Brentwood and Kirkwood.

Dr. Stuart Slavin shown on November 4th wearing a YES on Prop N lapel pin during a victory party the day after passage of Proposition N by a 2:1 margin. This ushered in sweeping smoke-free air laws on January 2, 2011, in both St. Louis City and County.
Photo: Martin Pion

Dr. Stuart Slavin, a member of Tobacco-Free St. Louis, stressed that the group isn’t arguing that illnesses related to smoking would vanish without the exemptions.
         “But what’s striking to me is that if you look at illnesses that may be smoking related, whether it is heart attacks or hospitalization for chronic lung diseases, you will find significantly greater risks and rates in north county,” Slavin said.
         He also said that many residents of north county may lack adequate access to health care and “can least afford to suffer from these problems.”
         He added, “We aren’t saying this is the cause of health disparity. But it certainly is one that’s contributing, and it’s easy to fix. It simply requires an act of the County Council, and these exemptions would disappear.”
         No council members were available to comment on the analysis, which shows that the 56 exemptions are in districts represented by Democrats Hazel Erby of University City, Kathleen Kelly of Overland, and Council Chair Michael O’Mara of Florissant. Kelly and O’Mara have raised questions over the years about the ban.
         In any case, Slavin says ending the exemptions would level the playing field by “making all the casinos, bars and restaurants smoke-free so that everybody is playing by the same rules.”
         In addition, he says, the Clean Air Act would do much to protect residents in St. Louis and St. Louis County while the exemptions undermine the benefits.
         “These exemptions allow people who work in these bars and casinos to continue to be exposed to what we know is a dangerous substance: second-hand smoke. We feel that that should not be allowed to continue,” Slavin says.
         Those who support a right to smoke continue to say that bans ignore individual freedom and should be modified to account for filtration and other systems they say can address health issues.

TO GET AN EXEMPTION
The “Indoor Clean Air Code” allows smoking in drinking establishments with a valid liquor license that have applied for and met the qualifications for exemption.

St. Louis County Ordinance 605.030 defines the term “Drinking Establishment” as follows:

Any business with a valid license issued by the St. Louis County Department of Revenue (pursuant to Chapter 801, Title VIII SLCRO 1974 as amended, “Alcoholic Beverages”) to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink or to sell beer and light wine by the drink whose on-site sales of food for consumption on the premises comprises no more than 25% of gross sales of food and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on an annual basis.

–St. Louis County Department of Revenue

14 responses to “2012-01-27 STL Beacon: “Areas with most smoking-related illness have most exemptions to smoking ban”

  1. Er, mogasp, wouldn’t it make sense that:

    1) The areas with the most smokers would have the most “smoking related illnesses”?

    and

    2) The areas with the most smokers would be the areas that would have fought to get the most exemptions.?

    This leads, in a VERY simple fashion, to the conclusion that the areas with the most exemptions would also be the areas with the most ‘smoking related illnesses.”

    This wasn’t actually an analysis that anyone actually got paid for or did as part of their official duties as staff in an organization, was it? Does Tobacco Free St. Louis actually have funding or a staff or are they all volunteer? I noticed the “level playing field comment” above and was wondering: If TFStL has a budget/staff for working on these bans, do you know how it compares to the budget/staff of the opposition?

    – MJM

    mogasp reply: I believe the only person getting funded is Pat Lindsey, and she helps coordinate the volunteer efforts of Tobacco Free St. Louis. But that’s something you’d have to check with them, since MoGASP is independent of TFSL.

  2. I am a self employed nail stylist. Let’s say you call me for an appt and I do not wish to have you as a client. It is my right to deny you an appt. I choose who I cater to. The smoking ban takes that right away from an owner. Now the mob gets to dictate their smoke free preference on an owner. Tobacco is a legal product, may be sold in any bar, yet use of it will not be allowed. If you were to feel threatened by smoke, you could choose to enter or not, a sign would be all that’s needed. A sign in braille if needed. You alone would be “jeapardizing your health” if that’s how you see it. I work for myself and by myself. I have no other employees. I don’t want the nanny state protecting me from myself or my smoking clientele. My non-smoking clientele’s air is cleaned by air filtration. The un-payed for science shows a very different conclusion. “Science” payed for by those who profit is cherry picked data put into one “study” to show what they want it to. Even the CDC has finally admitted this. So, please explain why the government feels they must enact a law to ban smoking? There was never a law that smoking must be allowed, there shouldn’t be one banning it!

    mogasp comment: 1,175 characters in your comment compared to the permitted 1,000 character limit, but I’ll allow it since you don’t post often.
    As regards your point, I would draw a distinction between regular private business premises, such as a bar, restaurant, store, or office, and working in your own home.

  3. Tobacco Free St. Louis (TFSTL) is a volunteer organization. Many members are paid, but not by TFSTL, for their normal, daytime jobs. There has been some confusion that the St. Louis University School of Public Health, which employs Pat Lindsey, is synonymous with TFSTL since she is the Executive Director, but they are separate entities. TFSTL is composed of members of the public that are interested in improving public health by reducing the impact of tobacco (on all three hands). Money comes from dues and fund-raising, such as the annual Trivia Night event. It IS NOT funded by the CDC grant.

    mogasp comment: Thanks for clarifying.

  4. Then how about a complete listing of its funding sources!

    Like where ever they keep theyre declaration at of funding and paid out sources.

  5. Pat Lindsey is employed at the School, and the School gets grants for tobacco control including the grant to form the “grassroots” Tobacco Free group. Let’s not cloud the facts here. I HAVE a copy of the pro ban handbook, and the illusion of having grassroots volunteers is vital to the agenda. This muddying the source of the funding for pro ban is not fooling a whole lot of people anymore. Second hand smoke bans do nothing and are meant to do nothing but sell NRT for the pharma who markets it. And those products are useless.

  6. For her part, Lindsey acknowledged being hesitant to criticize county leadership. “I’m in a kind of tough spot because they are paying my salary,” she said. “But I have to think of the greater good.” Lindsey’s annual salary is about $61,000. She oversees a staff of four, two of whom are paid $45,000 a year, another $40,000, and another $13 an hour.

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/woman-heading-anti-smoking-effort-finds-fault-with-county-council/article_769e9b78-6b72-544a-9422-c689fc69cd63.html#ixzz1kmwWZD73

    Pat Lindsey says St. Louis County pays her salary. That would be from the CDC grant right? Who pays for her Tobacco Free St. Louis staff? Tax payers have a right to know what has happened to all that Obama stimulus money.

  7. Charles Gatton wrote, “There has been some confusion that the St. Louis University School of Public Health, which employs Pat Lindsey, is synonymous with TFSTL since she is the Executive Director, but they are separate entities.”

    Mr. Gatton, I don’t think anyone would think the entire School is synonymous with TFSTL, just that Pat Lindsey’s pay itself from them is for her duties with TFSTL. The gist of your comment gives the impression that she is NOT paid from them for her TFSTL work. Can you confirm that: i.e. that she could quit her work with TFSTL activities in every way tomorrow and it would not have any effect on her job description/activities/pay with the School or with money given to her by TFSTL?

    And if you cannot confirm that, and since you “opened the can of worms” by getting as seemingly specific as you did, can you then officially clarify exactly what IS the situation vis-a-vis Ms. Lindsey, TFSTL, and the School?

    – MJM
    P.S. And what ARE her other job duties then btw?

  8. “mogasp comment: I admit to not having been curious as to what Pat Lindsey is paid. It seems to be exercising opponents of smoke-free air though.”
    We could care less what she is paid. Its the fact that she is paid with public money to lobby against private interest. I want my tax dollars building bridges and fixing roads. I don’t want it paying somebody to wag their finger and tell me what I can and can’t do.

  9. “mogasp comment: I admit to not having been curious as to what Pat Lindsey is paid. It seems to be exercising opponents of smoke-free air though.”

    Play fair MoGasp! Would YOU be “exercised” if you found that

    A) Bill Hannegan or Tony Palazzo was being paid $60,000 a year to fight smoiking bans, and

    B) that the information was known to very few of the public?

    I’m sure you’ll have to agree with me on A, but B is true as well: What percentage of the public do you think is honestly aware of the fact that the main figures behind pushing these bans are being paid by tax or public dollars to do so? What percentage are aware that if that money were taken away that 90% of those organizations, those people, and that effort would disappear — leaving only a very few active idealists like yourself in the fight?

    I’d guess less than 10%.

    mogasp response: I certainly have no hesitation agreeing with you on A above! That’s pretty obvious, I would think. B is conjecture.
    Since I view this as a health and welfare issue I don’t find anything objectionable to professionals being paid to further those goals. It would be nice if I was one of them, but I do this to support the public good, and extend protections which help me and others like me. I assume you’re motivation is similar, even if our goals are polar opposites.

  10. I would venture to say that since there has never been a worker’s comp claim for SHS that succeeded and that the World Health Organization’s study showing that SHS may even have a protective effect and not the least harmful was withheld because it didn’t promote the tobacco control agenda, that there is no health and welfare issue and that smoking bans are nothing more that stripping property rights from business owners!
    http://web.archive.org/web/20021128202555/http:/www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1998/03/08/wtob08.html
    An abstract of the study is available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9776409?dopt=Abstract .
    The entire study can be found here. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/90/19/1440.full.pdf
    The WHO’s press release is located here.
    http://www.who.int/inf-pr-1998/en/pr98-29.html

  11. ANd your neighbors in Kansas will LOVE a Missouri casino smoking ban! THen all the Missouri money will come to Kansas for a change!
    Nevada just exempted the small privately owned businesses from the statewide ban, due to BUSINESS losses. And in Illinois, where they passed a casino smoking ban, in the first year, the States’ take was down $80,000,000. I don’t think Missouri is stupid. I am hoping that is does play fair and allow adults only businesses the right to decide and post signs accordingly. Employees APPLY for jobs in smoking allowed businesses. THey are not lured in and chained to a wall. We expect common sense, except from pro ban, of course.

  12. MoGASP, I am still confused about something. Mr. Gatton wrote, “Tobacco Free St. Louis (TFSTL) is a volunteer organization. Many members are paid, but not by TFSTL, for their normal, daytime jobs.”

    Is Pat Lindsey paid by someone to do her TFSTL work? I understand she is employed at the School of Public Health, but is part of her pay for doing TFSTL stuff? If indeed she is getting paid for doing TFSTL stuff, then would you consider that Mr. Gatton is being honest in saying TFSTL “is a volunteer organization”?

    – MJM

    mogasp reply: Not being a member of TFSTL I cannot answer your question. You need to address it directly to that organization. Sorry.

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