Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kudos to Five Mayors Willing to Stand Up to Smoking Bullies

Monday, Jan. 26 2009
From the Riverfront Times . . .

Congratulations to the mayors of Clayton, Creve Coeur, Olivette, Overland and University City. Last month they sent a letter to the St. Louis County Council and other municipal mayors asking for a county-wide ban on smoking in public places. These five mayors did so despite the loud and vitriolic protests of the smoking minority and the real threat of losing votes to business owners who say a smoking ban would cost them customers. The latter concern has some merit should the ban take place only in St. Louis County, but efforts are also afoot to prohibit smoking in public places in St. Louis City. As I wrote a few weeks back, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has suggested he'd pursue a regional smoking ban that included St. Louis County. Still, smoking opponents face one possible -- and very significant -- roadblock.

Dooley, I say to you: Butt out!I'm not sure if St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is still a cigarette smoker, but he was back in 2005 when former council member Kurt Odenwald suggested a bill that would ban smoking in public places in the county. Dooley snuffed out Odenwald's proposal like a stale Pall Mall, and non-smoking bar patrons and employees in the county have been paying the price ever since.

Let's hope that this time around Dooley is more receptive to the majority of his constituents. Having to step outside to smoke a cigarette is not persecution.

1 comment:

  1. Do St. Louisans want a smoking ban? A 2007 survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found that only 24.5 percent of St. Louis City residents favor banning smoking in bars and cocktail lounges. Support for such a ban in St. Louis County and St. Charles County is only slightly stronger at 30 and 31.2 percent. A ban on smoking in bars is favored by only 27.5 percent of Missourians overall. These local numbers line up with the latest Gallup Poll, which found that only 29 percent of Americans support a smoking ban in bars. This is pretty slim popular support for such a Draconian restriction of freedom and property rights.