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Smoking ban passes with exemption

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO. – A smoking ban is on its way to the full St. Louis Board of Aldermen with an alteration.

Before the health committee passed the ban unanimously Wednesday it approved an amendment exempting bars less than 1,500 square feet from the ban for five years.

Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, who is sponsoring the overall ban, says the bill still prevents smoking in most bars, restaurants and indoor public places.

"I would have preferred not to have it, but I think we have a really good broad bill that passed out of committee here, and I think that's a small accommodation for a really very few number of establishments," Krewson said. "So the vast majority of St. Louis bars and restaurants will be smoke free."

But a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, Stacy Reliford, says the city is already behind on the issue.

"Basically, it's pretty ridiculous and shameful that with the piles of scientific evidence we have on how dangerous second-hand smoke is bar workers will have to wait five years to be protected on the job."

Even if the Board of Aldermen passes the bill it would not go into effect unless a similar law is approved in St. Louis County.

County voters will decide whether to establish a smoking ban in the November 3rd election.