St. Louis County’s pathetic anti-smoking plan

Kansas City took about four years to finally pass a strong, effective smoke-free law. But St. Louis County — the biggest in Missouri with 1 million people — is still far, far behind us.

On Nov. 3, voters in the county will go to the polls to decide the fate of a proposed smoking ban. But it’s an absurdly weak one, because it would allow smoking in many bars plus parts of the airport.

In fact, groups that usually support smoke-free laws, such as the American Cancer Society, have said they oppose the county’s plan. The groups figure that passing a sham of a law would make it tougher to approve a stronger one in the future.

But County Executive Charlie Dooley refused requests to veto the proposed ordinance. Dooley, who said he supports a statewide ban, said he wanted to give voters a chance to back a law that would be better than the status quo.

The machinations in St. Louis County show — once again — how foolish it is to have cities pass piecemeal attempts to protect the health of millions of Missouri residents.

A statewide, wholesale smoke-free law that would prohibit smoking in all public places is needed.

The General Assembly show approve that kind of law in 2010, and end the time-consuming waste of energy on passing patchwork laws throughout the state.


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