St. Louis County smoking ban faces opposition from both sides

tobacco The St. Louis County Council is another step closer to snuffing out cigarettes online buy in most public places. But now the bill is facing opposition from both sides of the smoke-free issue.

Of the roughly 25 or so people who addressed the County Council Tuesday night, no one urged the council to pass the bill.

But in a 4-3 vote the ordinance did move forward. The final vote on the St. Louis County smoking ban will come next Tuesday.

Those against a smoking ban now find themselves aligned with groups like the American Cancer Society when it comes to this bill because of the exceptions it contains. Businesses with 75 percent of their sales coming from alcohol would be exempt under the proposed ban.

That’s different than council woman Barbara Frazier’s original intent, but said meeting the bill is “pragmatic” and called it a compromise that is better than nothing.

“Unfortunately, with smoke free policy what we see is something is never better than nothing,” said Staci Reliford with the American Cancer Society. “What we’ve seen is it takes a long time to go back and fix a weak law. And that’s something we are trying to avoid.”

Marty Ginsburg, owner of The Sports Page Bar and Grill, calls the current proposal unfair to his business and others like it.

“There are too many exemptions,” said Ginsburg. “If it’s supposed to be about health and safety then why exempt the casinos where people probably spend more time around second hand smoke than they do in my establishment?”

If the bill passes in the final vote on August 25, County Executive Charlie Dooley could still veto the bill.

If not, and voters then pass the bill, the law would go into effect in 2011.


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