Smoking Ban Opponents Join Forces Against Current County Bill

CLAYTON, MO - The St. Louis County smoking ban battle is heating up once again with enemies on the issue standing together against the ban. And they’re opposed to it for the same reason: exemptions. When the debate over a County-wide smoking ban started about one month ago, there were plenty of people speaking out for and against a ban. But on Tuesday, even the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and bar owners all agreed that a ban with exemptions is not worth sending to the voters.

Ginsburg spoke with passion about the proposal to ban smoking indoors countywide, with some big exceptions for casinos, smoking rooms at the airport and existing bars that serve little to no food. Ginsburg’s Sports Page Bar and Grill would have to go smoke free while some competing bars could allow patrons to light up inside if the current proposal gets past voters. When Ginsburg started his crusade against a ban about a month ago he had plenty of opposition. Tuesday night, even his enemies on the issue were standing up against the current smoking ban bill.

“While we appreciate the effort,” says the American Cancer Society’s Stacy Reliford, “we need a comprehensive smoking ban that protects all workers and patrons from second hand smoke.”

Despite the opposition in the crowd, by a 4-3 vote the council voted to send a ban with those exemptions to a final vote next week. The thought among those that said “aye” is that this a step to protect most of the public. Going further and becoming completely fair would take action from the State of the Missouri and that’s action that may not come until the county acts says one smoking ban proponent.

“The truth is its very hard to win a statewide law until you set a record of local municipalities passing strong laws first,” says State Representative Jeanette Mott-Oxford.

A majority of the County Council is expected to say yes to the measure, which would send the issue to the voters in November, if County Executive Charlie Dooley doesn’t veto it. While Dooley publicly said no for a ban without exemptions, he remains undecided on the current proposal.

© Copyright: August 18, 2009 Fox2now

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