St. Louis Area Residents Want Real Smokefree Workplace Laws
November 7, 2018
In a clear sign that St. Louis area voters view secondhand smoke as a serious health and quality of life issue, St. Louis County and St. Charles County voters approved smoking section measures.
Unfortunately, these were just weak smoking section laws that won’t do anything to protect people from secondhand smoke. They will work about as well as smoking sections on airplanes once did, which is not at all. Voters did not have the opportunity this election cycle to endorse strong smokefree indoor air protections that would have cleared the air in bowling alleys, bars, casinos, and all other workplaces.
After years of inaction by local lawmakers, more than 80,000 St. Louis area voters signed petitions in support of strong smokefree workplace laws. Legal challenges from big money special interests unfortunately kept those measures off the ballot this time. Had voters been given the option to support real smokefree policies, it is anticipated they would have handily won.
The legal challenges around these measures create additional delay in achieving the right to breathe clean air on the job for thousands of casino and bar workers and millions of residents who continue to be exposed to toxic secondhand smoke. The silver lining is widespread awareness of the issue, thousands of supporters coming forward, and recognition from a broad range of stakeholders that the time has come to address the problem of secondhand smoke. Everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air at their job and in public places – including casino workers.
On the issue of smokefree casinos, ANR strongly supports efforts that would bring smokefree air to the entire St. Louis region – to achieve health parity for hospitality workers and entertainers while also supporting regional regulatory parity for the local casino operators and host communities.
ANR and our partners remain committed to achieving strong smokefree protections for everyone in the St. Louis Region, across Missouri, and across the U.S. Strong smokefree indoor air laws support livability and quality of life for residents and a healthier, more competitive workforce for the region. Most importantly, smokefree indoor air laws save lives.
We encourage lawmakers to show leadership by enacting strong smokefree protections rather than waiting for future ballot measures to do it for them.
We encourage casino operators to support regional smokefree laws – for the health and safety of their workforce, customers, and host communities.
We encourage supporters to continue to make smokefree a priority by talking with decision makers, leaving online reviews on sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Facebook letting businesses know their preferences for 100% smokefree, and volunteering for the local coalition to keep the fight going until all are breathing easier. Another great way to help is by making a donation to ANR as we continue working to protect nonsmokers’ rights in Missouri and beyond.
What You Can Do To Help
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 keep smokefree air at the forefront for everyone that lives, works, and plays in St. Louis.
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.
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!