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No Smoking Indoors? It's Up to St. Charles County Voters

St. Charles County Council approved placing a smoking ban on the Nov. 6 ballot. County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he planned to sign it.

Voters will have the chance to vote on a county-wide smoking ban at all indoor establishments Nov. 6. 

The ballot will ask voters to consider in all enclosed indoor places. Then voters would be asked to vote on providing an exemption for private clubs, veterans organizations and establishments that serve and employ people age 21 and up. 

The bill passed on a 4-2 vote, with members Joe Cronin, Nancy Matheny, Terry Hollander and Joe White voting in favor of the bill. Councilman Jerry Daugherty and Joe Brazil voted against the bill. Councilman Paul Wynn was present by phone and unable to vote. 

Matheny has changed her mind on the smoking ban bill in the three times it has come before the council. In the past, she's voted against a proposal to bring the issue before the voters when it did not include any exclusions. She said she supported this one because it provided a level playing field for bar owners. 

County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he would sign bill because this is a charter amendment as opposed to a health ordinance. Ehlmann vetoed a  in June 2011 because he felt if it were a health issue, it should be a ban across the board. 

"If people want a complete ban, they can vote for it and vote no on the second part," he said. "Even if you vote against it, if it passes, we're going to have exceptions, and we're going to except everything. We're not going to give the boat an exception but not the bar owner." 

Cronin initially brought this proposal forward to give voters an opportunity to vote for a smoking ban not backed by .

Councilman Joe Brazil said government should not be involved in this issue. He said it's not right for the council to pick on smokers. "Who are we going to pick on next?" he said. 

Several people spoke out against the proposal at the meeting, including Carol Gold, owner of South 94 Bistro Pub and Grill. She said she fears that a smoking ban would lead to a reduction in business. She said she knows of nine O'Fallon businesses that have had to shut down after the city enacted a smoking ban. 

"As a small business owner, we cannot afford to take that 30 percent loss in sales," she said. "The playing field should be made fair for all throughout Missouri."

Heidi L. August 28, 2012 at 03:28 PM
If smoking ban (indoor) is universal- will it really cause a loss of business?
Elizabeth August 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Let's pretend for a minute that it is drinking soda instead of smoking. If you were required to go outside to drink your soda would you continue to go to businesses to do it or would you stay home where you can drink your soda in the comfort of your own home? Businesses will still lose money because some smokers will stop going out to bars or restaurants. They will stay home where they can smoke when and where they want. It may not make a difference when the weather is nice, but when it is too hot, too cold, or too wet business will see a difference.
Heidi L. August 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Disagree- you can't smoke in a movie theater or mall, even Disney World and The St. Louis Zoo and Six Flags have designated smoking areas--- smokers still patronize them. Also- I did smoke for 27 years and was at times inconveniently made to smoke outside or in a designated area- I simply complied.
Elizabeth August 28, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Disney world, Six Flags and the Zoo are already outdoor activities, so those examples aren't really relevant. Some people (those who might be called "regulars") might normally spend more time at the bar if they get to smoke. If they are required to go outside, they may only go for a beer and then leave taking their money with them. It's not that smokers aren't willing to comply, it is that not allowing them some place that they can congregate socially and engage in a legal activity is bound to influence how much time and money they spend if they are made to feel uncomfortable. Here is an example of my point. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2010/08/18/survey-on-smoking-ban-shows-decrease-in-sales/ http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv33n2/regv33n2-4.pdf As far as movie theaters are concerned, you're point is not lost on me, although I maintain that those who go to the theater don't plan on spending more time there than required to see the show and technically patrons aren't supposed to be socializing during the movie so it isn't the same as going to a bar. On another note, I didn't find a legal ban of smoking in theaters with the exception of local municipalities. There is no federal ban in place and MO allows for smoking sections. Theater owners have chosen to prohibit smoking on their property. Shouldn't a bar owner also be allowed the choice to have it on theirs?
Elizabeth August 28, 2012 at 06:53 PM
@Heidi L. - a quick question for you. Since you have given up smoking do you frequent bars or other places that allow smoking more or less than before when you smoked? Just wanting to know your personal perspective since you have the experience of being both a non-smoker and a smoker.

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