MoGASP smokefree Lambert Airport demo. 7/13/1996


The following transcript and video clips are of a KMOV-TV [CBS] St. Louis News Channel 4 segment broadcast Saturday, July 13, 1996, at around 6:00 pm. Length: 1 min. 58 sec.

Missouri GASP [Group Against Smoking Pollution] protest outside St. Louis City Hall organized in support of a smoke-free Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, containing interviews with protesters and airport smokers.

Larry Connors and Julius Hunter, local news co-anchors
Wendy Roylance, local reporter
Martin Pion, president, Missouri GASP, interviewed outside City Hall wearing a disposable white coverall and industrial safety respirator with dual purple cannisters
Candy McCandliss, GASP supporter, intervieweed outside City Hall wearing the same coverall but blue face mask. [Also pictured was similarly clad GASP member Jim Elliot, and GASP supporter Pat Obrist.]
Two smokers, Steve Newman and Shirley Delmas, were interviewed at Lambert Airport.

Anchors Julius Hunter (L) and Larry Connors

Connors: The question of public smoking is sparking some new controversy in St. Louis.

Hunter: At issue this time: Should Lambert International be smoke-free? Wendy Roylance shows us some protesters choosing a rather dramatic way of voicing their opinions.

Roylance: [off camera]
These white jump suits and masks look like something you’d see at a dioxin cleanup site. Instead, anti-smoking protesters are wearing them in front of St. Louis City Hall. 

[Shot of GASP protesters on sidewalk outside city hall holding placards. Closeup of Pion wearing suit and respirator.]

They want Lambert International Airport smoke-free.

[Closeup of sign on back of protester with GASP logo and words “Smoke Busters.” Smoker sitting in airport in front of “Smoking Area” sign]

Pion: [In interview with Roylance while holding respirator down to speak]

I wear this in an airport, I’ve worn this in an airport. It’s got a HEPA filter for taking out particulates, and its got a, an activated charcoal filter for taking out gases, but it doesn’t, it’s not a 100%. A lot of it still gets through.

Roylance: [off camera]
 Right now, open smoking is allowed in 7 areas of the airport, but protesters say there should be no smoking anywhere.

[Shot of wall sign titled SMOKING PERMITTED IN DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS; shot of smokers smoking in designated smoking area.]

McCandliss: [in interview with Roylance with face mask pulled down around neck]

Many, many buildings are now smokefree. It can be done and, er, er and I think the aiport should do it.

Roylance: [moving to stand in front of “Smoking Area” sign in airport]

Lambert airport officials tell News 4 there are no plans to make the airport smoke-free, but they are considering adding smoking lounges to isolate the smokers. Smoker Steve Newman says he shouldn’t have to go to a smoking lounge to smoke.

Newman: [in interview with Roylance while standing in airport concourse]

It ain’t really right, but I, I can respect someone that don’t want to smell it, but they oughta respect somebody that does want to have one too.

Roylance: [shot of Delmas seated next to Roylance (with back to camera), then in closeup ]

Shirley Delmas says she would use a smoking lounge only if she has to.

Delmas: If the smoking lounges would be, er, close to each concourse, er, I think that might work alright and that would satisfy everybody.

Roylance: [off camera]
Seven smoking lounges will be built at the airport by November.

[Smoker shown lighting up, followed by shot of baggage]

Protesters say that’s still not right. They say they won’t stop until Lambert Airport is smoke-free.

[Shot of Pion holding respirator, followed by closeup of GASP banner draped over seat in front of city hall.]

McCandliss: [in interview with Roylance with face mask pulled down around neck]

I would like to think that St. Louis would be up to that kind of progress, yes.

Roylance: [off camera, over closeup of Delmas lighting cigarette in designated smoking area.]

At Lambert Airport, Wendy Roylance, News 4.

Hunter: The Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution plans to present an airport smoking petition to St. Louis City officials in the near future.

Text of Missouri GASP press release:

[The following is based on the text of a press release sent to the main St. Louis area media, including all four major TV stations, KMOX and KWMU [NPR] radio stations, the Associated Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Riverfront Times [main alternative newspaper], and the Suburban Journals. All TV stations covered the event, as did KMOX and its rival WIBV.

The print media were totally absent. The Post-Dispatch could not even be persuaded to send a photographer for a “photo-op,” despite GASP members returning in the afternoon, suitably garbed, to provide one for the newspaper, which is just a few blocks away.]

*** EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. Friday, July 12, 1996. ***

Missouri GASP volunteers dressed in decontamination suits and masks will mount a protest outside St. Louis City Hall. The suits are to emphasize that permitting the low temperature burning of tobacco leaves in Lambert-St. Louis International airport is as appropriate as locating a dioxin incinerator there.

BACKGROUND: In April 1993, the tobacco lobby, working behind the scenes with then-County Councilman John Shear, was instrumental in killing a proposed St. Louis County Council ordinance to make Lambert-St. Louis airport essentially smoke-free. [Shear subsequently received a $1,000 donation from the Tobacco Institute, Washington, DC, for his unsuccessful Missouri Senate campaign.] Since then Missouri GASP, together with Ms. Vivian Dietemann, a smoke-sensitive asthmatic, have been working to rid the airport of tobacco smoke.

In 1993 and 1994 respectively, Ms. Dietemann and GASP filed separate complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice. The complaints alleged denial of access to the airport for breathing disabled individuals with sensitivity to tobacco smoke, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. (The ADA went into effect on January 26, 1992.) Cited in our complaints were the City of St. Louis [airport owner], the Airport Commission [airport governing body], and St. Louis County Council [which has jurisdiction due to the airport’s location].

The airport authority tacitly acknowledged that Ms. Dietemann is being denied access when it provided a police car to take her from the sidewalk outside the main terminal around the outside of the airport to her departing flight on the tarmac on November 4, 1995 (see photos. overpage). (Ironically, the occasion was an event featuring tobacco industry victims [both living and deceased] to which she had been invited, taking place in Washington, DC. The invitation came from INFACT, an advocacy group which has launched an international boycott of tobacco subsidiary products as part of its campaign against the industry’s continued marketing of tobacco products to children, and their intervention in legislative efforts to protect the public from the harmful effects of their products.)

The airport maintains that it does accommodate non-smokers and is not in violation of the ADA. However, it has never conducted a self-evaluation involving those with breathing disabilities, such as Ms. Dietemann, in concert with Missouri GASP which represents such individuals, as required by the ADA, despite having done so for other covered groups, such as paraplegics.

The recent response of the airport that it would install smoking lounges and then declare the rest of the airport non-smoking is unacceptable. The proposed rooms, with makeup air entering through an open doorway, will not prevent back-streaming of tobacco smoke toxins and carcinogens into the adjoining parts of the airport. In addition, the airport should go smoke-free immediately, to provide access for those whose lives are currently disrupted by their present policy, and thus come into ADA compliance.

[Here the original press release showed photos taken outside the airport in November 1995 featuring Ms. Dietemann wearing a safety respirator while waiting to board her flight. It also showed GASP volunteers dressed as “Smoke Busters” gathering petition signatures in favor of a smoke-free airport in November and December, 1995]

GASP’s ADA claim, originally submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice on July 13, 1994, named Ms. Dietemann, St. Louis, MO, and Ms. Patricia L. Young, a flight attendant from Dallas, TX. In May of this year GASP added Mr. Don Young from St. Charles, MO, to its list of those claiming denial of access to the airport. He is a laryngectomy survivor who cannot tolerate tobacco smoke. GASP’s claim has been in the hands of the regional office of the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Civil Rights [DOCR], Kansas City, MO, since late 1994/early 1995. That office has shown itself incompetent and foot-dragging. Following a recent Freedom of Information Act request from Missouri GASP the DOCR was unable to provide us with the original request from its Washington, DC, office requesting that they investigate this complaint.

Mr. David Genter [tel: 816 426 5006/ fax: 816 426 2261], DBE [Disadvantaged Business Enterprises] Program Manager, DOCR in Kansas City, MO, is handling our complaint. A certified/return receipt request letter asking for a speedy resolution and a response within 20 days has still gone unanswered after having been received by Mr. Genter on May 13. During a subsequent phone call Mr. Genter sidetracked by asking what the airport would be expected to do if a breathing-disabled person complained about jet fumes while in a shuttle bus. [Jet fuel is a necessary part of an airport’s operation, tobacco smoke is not.]

According to the 1995 Airports Council International North America Smoking Policy Survey, a number of major airports are already totally smoke-free, including Chicago-O’Hare International Airport, the nation’s largest, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Kansas City International Airport, MO, is also included in this tally.

5 responses to “MoGASP smokefree Lambert Airport demo. 7/13/1996

  1. I like the comparison of smoking to a dioxin incinerator. One of the 50 or so types of carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco smoke are indeed dioxins, the most toxic chemicals known to science.
    Tobacco should be banned completely, just like DDT, PCB’s and any other toxic chemical.
    Smoke benefits none. Smokers claim nicotine
    “helps them relax” but that’s just the nicotine talking. Nobody “needs” it at all. Iknow, I was a smoker for 20 years and smoke-free for 25. I was infinetely more relaxed after I quit
    There is no constitutional right to smoke.
    It ought to be banned everywhere, public AND private places.

    • I’m not sure if dioxin fits your description but there are certainly some nasty chemicals in secondhand smoke, not just those that are highly irritating, like pyridine.
      I can’t agree with you that “Tobacco should be banned completely.” That would immediately turn 45-50 million American smokers into criminals and wouldn’t help the cause of smoke-free air. We need comprehensive smoke-free air laws and eventually require that, as the third MoGASP goal states, “only permit smoking between consenting adults in private.”

  2. The main factor to consider is that the US surgeon General has declared secondhand smoke as “Toxic and Poisonous”.

    Dioxins have been detected as present amongst the 4000 or so chemical ingredients in tobacco smoke. They stem from the chlorine bleach in cigarette paper and chlorinated pesticides used to grow tobacco. Thus anyone who deliberatley spreads toxic fumes should be regarded as a criminal. Because 50 million americans smoke doesn’t make it right.

    Permitting smoking between consenting adults in private fails to consider that other innocent victims might be present in this “private” space, such as children whose parents smoke, or apartment dwellers living within reach of the toxic poisonous fumes such as I am right now as I type this.

    MOGASP needs to be more agressive and less fearful of “offending” smokers. Smoking is a tragic epidemic especially visible here in Saint Louis. Look at all the cigarette butts littering sidewalks and street curbsides.

    If I lived in an isolated “private” home, shiedled form “consenting smokers” I’d probably be as quiet as a mouse on this issue.

    • Thanks for your comment. I would just answer that Missouri GASP is not fearful of offending smokers but that wouldn’t be productive when our target is the tobacco industry. You are also misinterpreting our third stated goal: smoking should only be done between consenting adults in private. That means no children present, by inference.

  3. Ok, I understand, but if the children are in the same house isn’t there a strong posibility of migration of the fumes into their rooms ? I beleive you demonstrated the phenomena of fume migration at Lambert. The fumes cannot be contained to the particular room where they originate unless the room were hermetically sealed. I’ve observed this phenomena in my apartment where the fumes penetrate with the greatest of ease from neighboring units even though there are no connecting doors or windows.

    I’m all for targeting BigTobacco. Sign me up.
    Putting BigTobacco out of business and prohibiting the sale of their poisonous products will put an end to the problem once and for all.

Leave a Reply to Horacio Prada Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s