St. Louis County Court Ruling
October 10, 2018
Recent court rulings over technical issues mean that St. Louis County and St. Charles County voters will not have the opportunity to vote for strong smokefree indoor air laws this November.
More importantly, these legal proceedings will result in a delay in achieving a healthier environment for the region’s large hospitality workforce – including musicians, bar and casino employees.
Smokefree indoor air is an important issue whose time has come – for a more livable community and healthier workforce for generations to come.
Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers who generously donated their time and talents to this effort and to the more than 80,000 voters who signed petitions for smokefree laws to protect all workers. The silver lining of this process has been the strong broad base of community support coming together to take action for this issue. We remain committed to achieving everyone’s right to breathe clean air at work – across the region and the state.
Public health groups urge area voters to VOTE NO on F – the smoking section bill in St. Louis County and VOTE NO on "Smokefree with Exceptions" in St. Charles County. Smoking sections are a tobacco industry gimmick that do not protect against health hazards of secondhand smoke. Smoking sections on a casino floor work like smoking sections did on airplanes –which is to say not at all. In a building, it’s shared air and everyone has to breathe. There is no safe level of exposure of secondhand smoke. Casino ventilation systems do not provide health protection from secondhand smoke.
St. Charles County, Vote No on "Smokefree With Exceptions"
Workers are not exceptions. The measure supported by all major health organizations and ANR will not appear on the November ballot. The St. Charles County election authority did not qualify the question for the ballot.
Instead, a weak measure, referred by the council, will be the only choice for voters.
"Smokefree with Exceptions" is riddled with exemptions including allowing smoking in casinos, establishments that are restricted to age 21 and older, and allow for use of e-cigarettes. People are not exceptions. No worker or patron should be exposed to toxic secondhand smoke. This type of language comes straight from the tobacco industry playbook to normalize smoking in public. We urge voters to VOTE NO on "Smokefree with Exceptions."
St. Louis County, Vote No on Prop F
After a legal challenge, yes votes for Proposition E will not be counted this November. Prop E would have protected all workers in St. Louis county and was supported by the local coalition, all major health organizations and ANR.
A competing measure will be the only binding option on the ballot. Prop F FAILS to protect any workers. All it does is create smoking sections in gaming establishments. Smoking sections are a tobacco industry tactic and a throwback to a time when it seemed like smoking sections on airplanes were a good idea – which we all know DID NOT work at all! The only way to protect workers and patrons is 100% smokefree establishments. This measure is not enforceable and creates winners and losers in business and health.
What You Can Do To Help
We need your support to keep these bad laws off the books. Correcting bad policy is difficult and takes precious time, when workers remain exposed to toxic secondhand smoke.
Please support ANR’s work for the St. Louis region campaign by making a special donation. In the box labeled: "This Donation is In Honor of," please enter St. Louis.
Your donations make it possible for ANR to support the St. Louis campaign with critical resources.
Big Tobacco and its allies have deep pockets, but we have people power. Whether you live in Missouri or elsewhere in the Midwest, your volunteer time is needed and appreciated now through Election Day.
Your efforts will help make public health history and save lives.
It can also be a fun way to also connect with others interested a healthier more livable community.
The science is clear - casino ventilation systems or smoking/non-smoking sections DO NOT address the health hazards of secondhand smoke.
According to a recent poll, more than 70% of voters in the St. Louis region would vote YES on smokefree workplaces and public places.
Breathing at work shouldn’t be a deadly health hazard. Workers in the hospitality industry, in places like bars and casinos, are most at risk for exposure to secondhand smoke and more likely to suffer health consequences such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Smokefree air is good for health and good for business. Thank you for helping us secure Smokefree air for all in STL!