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Dooley says people have right to vote on smoking ban

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley

By Adam Allington, KWMU

Clayton, MO – St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley signed a bill today that puts a controversial smoking ban on a November 3rd ballot.

The bill has been criticized by anti-smoking groups for having too many loopholes and exemptions.

Stacey Reliford of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Cancer Society says watered-down bills like this one have a way of spreading to other municipalities.

"You know, what St. Louis County passes other places are going to look to to duplicate," says Reliford. "So, once you have a poor law on the books its very difficult to stop that snowball effect of using it for other things."

The current proposal exempts casino gaming floors and some bars.

Dooley, a former smoker, said he would prefer a state-wide ban with no exemptions. But, ultimately he felt the issue was too important not to put before voters.

"I would prefer a state ban, where all counties are on the same level," says Dooley.

"But at the same time I recognize that people in St. Louis County want to be heard on this very important health issue. They want to come to the polls and vote on this."

If the measure passes it would pave the way for a similar ban currently being discussed in St. Louis City.