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Smoking ban passes county committee

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A controversial bill banning indoor smoking in most public places in St. Louis County has cleared a key hurdle towards becoming law.

A three-member county committee unanimously approved the bill, which outlaws smoking in workplaces and most restaurants.

But it also exempts places like designated smoking rooms in private clubs and small bars that generate at least 60 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales. Councilman Kurt Odenwald says the compromises won't be popular with everyone.

"I know that this proposed ordinance achieves a balance that's not going to please the strong advocates on either side," Odenwald said. "But what I feel this ordinance does is come up with a good balance, and it's an important first step for St. Louis County and our region."

If the full county council approves the bill August 23, the ban will take effect 60 days from then.