Monday, December 31, 2007

Casino Queen tour prior to Illinois smoking ban

My wife, a lifelong neversmoker, and I, a minimal smoker, toured the Casino Queen tonight to establish just what things are like at the Queen prior to the Illinois smoking ban. This what we found.

Over 75 percent of the Casino Queen's slots were in play. Over half of the patrons were smoking. My wife and I both agreed that the Queen's air filtration system almost entirely cleared the air of tobacco smoke. My wife thought the air might still have a slight haze overall. At eye level, I saw no haze. We both saw haze near the ceiling as the smoke entered the filtration ducts. Yet we both found the air nothing like the air of an ordinary bar that allows smoking. We both agreed that the air in the casino smelled cleaner than the East St. Louis air outside. Yet we both could smell a tobacco scent in the casino air and could smell smoke on our clothes when we left. Was the casino air filtration system on full blast at the time? We don't know.

A big surprise was the presence of atleast one new smoking lounge. A sign indicated that smoking lounges would be available to casino patrons when the Illinois smoking ban began. A casino worker told me the lounges would accomodate 30 - 40 people. The option of such indoor smoking facilities could greatly lessen the impact of the Illinois smoking ban on the Casino Queen. But is a smoking ban that still allows indoor smoking a true ban at all? Will Illinois bar and restaurants be allowed such smoker friendly rooms?

I played a 25 cent slot and won 3 dollars on my first quarter. That paid for our gas to the Queen.

My wife and I will return to the Casino Queen to view the effects of the smoking ban later this week.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

American Cancer Society 16 Cigarette Claim challenged in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch today bravely printed my challenge of the American Cancer Society's 16 Cigarette Claim. I admire the Post for printing it. The ACS gave the Post a lot of money when the ACS took out its full page "Thank you!" ad a while back. Letters editor Jamie Riley seems willing to print both sides of any issue, despite the editorial stance of the paper or the wishes of advertizers. This is the letter as it appeared today:

Smoky numbers

The American Cancer Society promoted a smoking ban to the public and pressured the Illinois General Assembly to enact it with an entirely misleading claim, which it used again in a recent letter: "One eight-hour shift in a smoke-filled workplace is the equivalent of smoking 16 cigarettes."

Sixteen cigarettes is a deceptive number, and the ACS knows it. The ACS is saying that the chemical NDMA (N-nitroso-dimethylamine) is more present in secondhand smoke than in actively inhaled smoke. It takes 16 cigarettes actively smoked to equal the NDMA exposure a bartender receives after eight hours at work in a smoky bar. Does this mean that a nonsmoker becomes almost a-pack-a-day passive smoker by taking a job in a smoky bar? Hardly. The actual smoke a bartender breathes in the smokiest bar as measured by total tobacco-specific particles inhaled equals about one-fifth of a cigarette per eight-hour shift, or one cigarette per 40-hour week.

Public health laws such as the Illinois smoking ban should be based on accurately stated science, not trick formulations meant to scare the public and fool lawmakers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Smoke-Free St. Louis City touts junk heart attack study.

Smoke-Free St. Louis City is touting an Indiana heart attack study that has been debunked by Dr. Michael Siegel as junk science.

Here is what Dr. Siegel has to say about the study:

"To be blunt, this study is crappy and its conclusions are completely invalid. This study would never have passed scrutiny with me had I been asked to review it."

Dr. Siegel continues:

"In fact, the results of the study fail to support the paper's conclusion.

While the press release sounds quite impressive, if you take the time to read the actual study, you'll find that the sweeping conclusion that a smoking ban reduced heart attacks among nonsmokers by 70% is based on a total of only 22 heart attacks. That's right. There were only 22 heart attacks among nonsmoking patients in Monroe County in this study between August 2001 and May 2005. And there were only 15 heart attacks among smoking patients in Monroe county during the study period.

The sample size of the study is so small that it is ridiculous to conclude that the observed decline from 17 heart attacks (2001-2003) to 5 heart attacks (2003-2005) was attributable to the smoking ban. With sample sizes this small, the variation in the number of annual heart attacks is expected to be enormous. There is no way that the study can determine that the observed decline was due to the smoking ban, rather than simply to random variation in the number of heart attacks in this small
geographic area (only one hospital was included in the study)."

Such tiny studies only serve deceive the public and lawmakers. The Illinois Licensed Beverage Association has an accurate take on what these studies are worth:

"The integrity of the studies cited by these groups is questionable. For example, anti-smoking advocacy groups boast of recent statistics from Pueblo, Colorado citing a dramatic decrease in heart attacks since the inception of their ban. These groups consistently point to the reduction in heart attacks in Pueblo, Colorado and Helena, Montana as incontrovertible proof that secondhand smoke is doubling the heart attack rate among non-smokers.

These two studies comprise a population base of roughly 200,000 people. However, when you look at the 70 million people that comprise the non-smoking states of California, New York, Florida and Oregon-the heart attack rate has either not decreased at all or decreased such a small amount as to be statistically insignificant.

Researchers can deliberately sift through enough small local jurisdictions with smoking bans to find a few aberrations in heart attack rates and then claim that elimination of exposure to secondhand smoke will dramatically reduce incidents of heart attacks. Please don't be taken in by misleading claims based on very select data samples."

Local secondhand smoke researcher David Kuneman and associate researcher Michael McFadden did the huge study the the ILBA relies on. McFadden comments on their huge heart attack study:

"Using a database of fully verifiable public data and covering a subject base literally 1,000 times as large as that covered by a previous and heavily publicized study in Helena, Montana (2), the new study showed clearly that claims -- ostensibly bolstered by that Helena study -- of drastic and instant reductions in heart attacks upon the implementation of smoking bans simply do not occur in larger populations."

It is clear a smoking ban would not cause the heart attack rate in St. Louis to plummet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

ACS repeats 16 Cigarette Claim in Post-Dispatch letter

This letter from the ACS just appeared in the Post-Dispatch:

"For those employees who have worked in traditionally smoke-filled environments — bars, restaurants and casinos — this law is particularly important. One eight-hour shift in a smoke-filled workplace is the equivalent of smoking 16 cigarettes. That kind of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks, pneumonia, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, emphysema, acute respiratory infections, ear disease and asthma."

Obviously, this Illinois smoking ban has been worked for and passed under the delusion and deception of all but a very few. It has no real validity or authority. I hope it will be ignored from day one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I have had it with the ACS!

This is what I am up against in St. Louis.

I am going to start picketing the ACS office on Lindell. Would anyone care to join me?

Contact Bill Hannegan at and I will supply a beautiful hand-painted sign for you to hold. Beer and smokes at my place on Lindell just down the street after any protest. I have had it with the ACS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Open Letter to the American Cancer Society

This open letter to the American Cancer Society from Illinois Smokers Rights head Garnet Dawn Scheur was sent to ACS officials and the Illinois press tonight. I hope Garnet gets some real answers and not just more ACS BS!

December 12, 2007

Open Letter to the American Cancer Society Requesting Documentation for Smoke Free Illinois Health Claims

Dear American Cancer Society, a.k.a. Smoke Free Illinois (Addressee list attached);

cc: Senators and Representative for Illinois General Assembly, Illinois News Media

The Smoke Free Illinois Act (SB500) for Illinois has been based upon health claims from the American Cancer Society. On behalf of Illinois Smokers Rights, the two million eight hundred thousand smokers and the thousands of small businesses who will be affected, I am requesting clarification and validation for those health claims. To institute this invasive and extreme smoking ban, the public needs to learn if any concrete evidence can be provided to validate these claims. A law of this magnitude, with wide-spread social impact and based upon ACS epidemiological studies, needs to be documented for public review and shared in understandable format.

Reports containing computer generated statistics of mortalities and illness are not sufficient. Also insufficient are the previous Surgeon General Carmona's 2006 Press Release, Executive Summary, or quotes which did not reflect the contents of his 700-plus page smoking report. Dr. Carmona's report simply rehashed previous Surgeon General claims and republished previous Tobacco Control studies which had never been able to document any conclusions more definite than finding a "casual relationship"between Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and health threats.

One particular abuse example for this fully justifiable request to require accuratedocumentation for Illinois tobacco-smoke-health-threats, claimed by the ACS, tobacco control agencies and our Illinois elected representatives, is the currentlydistorted Sixteen Cigarettes claim: Smoke Free Illinois at "One eight hour shift in a smokyworkplace is the equivalent of smoking 16 cigarettes." (In actuality, the equivalent is approximately 1/5 cigarette.) Why the need to be deceptive?

An in-depth study analyzing the dangers from ETS was published to help fuel the promotion of smoking bans in all enclosed establishments, including bars and restaurants. That study proved that measurable amounts of n-Nitrosodimethylamine(NDMA) could be found in side stream smoke from cigarettes and was published, not identifying the offending carcinogen or placing it in proportion with similar amounts also contained in our water, food, and other common substances. "The poison is in the dose"!

The American Cancer Society has implied through incomplete references that breathing in an environment containing (or that has contained) second hand smoke, is the samething as actively smoking. This leaves 98% of those who have listened to current ETS health dogma misinformed. While the scientific community defends themselves by saying that even attempting to explain the epidemiology of second hand smoke would not be practical for public consumption. (From Dr. Stanton Glantz [ANR]: "...we cannot include the caveats because the public cannot understand them..." )

The bulk of the blame still remains upon the manner in which ETS statistical findings have been originally presented and manipulated. Most were intended to create smoking bans. This distortion has been perpetrated by tobacco control with full intention of deceiving and creating false health claims.

Until a public statement or press release making visible and crystal clear the distortions of "16 cigarette" claims to laymen, elected officials and the newsmedia, the intentionally deceptive damage cannot even begin to be reversed. The public is being terrorized by phony health claims, and needs clarification that n-Nitrosodimethylamine is the referenced element for the "16 cigarette" media blitz,and that NDMA is another common carcinogen and threatens us most seriously in ourdrinking water and food supply.

Solid proof is required for Illinois (or any other US governing body) to justify bending our US Constitutional Republic's governmental framework and dismissing the protected liberties in several of its Amendments. The Smoke Free Illinois Act basically ignores our First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Constitutional Amendments. Considering the serious state-wide repercussions from this law, justification is required, not vague interpretations of "casual association" health threats.

In addition, ACS financial ties with nicotine replacement products manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry, who hope to increase sales because of this ban, should also be published to avoid misrepresentation of charitable interests and to supply full and honest disclosure to interested parties.

Therefore, Illinois Smokers Rights, Illinois residents and the Illinois news media need to be supplied with actual documented identities of those injured or killed for The Smoke Free Illinois Act to be legitimately recognized.


Garnet Dawn Scheuer

Monday, December 10, 2007

Smoke-Free St. Louis City back in Dutch with Dr. Siegel!

Just posted on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch blogs:

"After having backed down from its Friday posting of the American Cancer Society’s 16 Cigarette Claim, Smoke-Free St. Louis City is back in Dutch with Dr. Siegel. And worse this time. Smoke-Free St. Louis City now claims on its website,

“Just thirty minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of habitual smokers.”

Dr. Siegel has led a world-wide campaign to get antismoking groups to retract this fraudulent claim and expunge it from their websites. Smoke-Free St. Louis City has is now likely to find itself on Dr. Siegel’s list of offenders. It’s a rocky start for Smoke-Free St. Louis City."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Smoke Free St. Louis City Removes ACS 16 Cigarette Claim

As quickly as they went up, the claims listed below disappeared from the Smoke-Free St. Louis City website. Smart folks! I had contacted Dr. Micheal Siegel this morning thu his blog comment section and requested that Smoke Free St. Louis City be added to his list of antismoking groups misleading the public with the 16 Cigarette Claim. I doubt that Dr. Siegel had time to take any action, but Smoke Free St. Louis City no doubt got wind that responsible experts were about to take them to task on the claims they had posted. Wisely, the claims were dropped before that could happen.

Smoke Free St. Louis City now pushing American Cancer Society's phony 16 Cigarette Claim!

Smoke Free St. Louis City is now pushing a smoking ban on St. Louis City with the American Cancer Society's phony 16 Cigarette Claim, the same claim Smoke Free Illinois used to help pass the Illinois smoking ban. According to the Smoke Free St. Louis City website:

For patrons & employees, 2 hours in a smoky bar is the same as smoking nearly four cigarettes.
For bar employees, working an 8-hour shift is equivalent to actively smoking nearly a pack a day.

Dr. Michael Siegel, whose many studies concerning secondhand smoke exposure of bar and restaurant workers helped to form the basis of the Surgeon General Carmona's report, has just this week condemned this unqualified claim:

"The smoking ban proponents who are claiming that the nonsmoker exposed for 8 hours will suffer the same health effects as if they smoked 16 cigarettes a day are wrong, and they are being deceptive, probably intentionally."

This is a list of other false or very misleading claims that now appear on Smoke Free St. Louis City website:

HVAC systems re-circulate the contaminated air.

Most cancer-causing particles and all cancer-causing gasses are too small to be trapped by filters.

Ventilation systems start at about $8,000 for a small restaurant; this does not include putting up walls or other physical barriers that are the norm in ventilation-based ordinances.

Studies of sales tax data from 81 cities in 6 states consistently demonstrate that smokefree ordinances have no effect of restaurant revenues.

The claim that air filtration system for bar and restaurants won't work can be quickly refuted by a trip to these two webites:

How could anyone from St. Louis claim that smoking bans won't hurt bars and restaurants with a straight face? People from St. Louis remember Elsa Barth and the Seventh Inn.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fr. Biondi's Theft of 20 North Starts KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE!

The best bar St. Louis ever had was a small place at the western edge of St. Louis University called Twenty North. It was owned by the lead singer of the band Jake's Leg, Randy Furrer, and the band played there every thursday and friday. The place was perfect for the music Jake's Leg played and the crowd they drew. Since the band had played at that bar for 20 years, a steady stream of people who were no longer regular bar or concert goers would stop by each week to say hi and hear the band one more time. I don't know what it was, but there was some very special mystique about the physical bar and the regulars who showed up each week. The place was pure heaven for me and I love it dearly.

So I was very glad when Randy asked me to do something about the 20 North exterior. Randy knew I worked on old buildings but probably had no idea what a perfectionistic restorationist I could be when working on a building I feel specially devoted to. I powerwashed the exterior walls, tuckpointed them, then applied a clear glue and sealer that would make the walls a solid, tight basis for paint. Then the hard part started: decoration and colors.

I wanted the coloration and decoration to be a perfect statement of the bar. We played around with tie-dye (Jake's leg is a Dead band) and every combination of color, hand lettering and decoration scheme and techinque imaginable. I would buy paint sample quarts from Paint Supply and brush on 3 foot by 3 foot squares of various bright colors. Nothing seemed just right. Finally, Randy stood back from the wall of samples and declared that the patchwork of colors looked cool. He suggested giving every bar patron a 3'x 3' section of the bar to paint in their own bright color. I agreed that the concept was cool, but said that wasn't a practical way to paint the whole bar.

One thursday afternoon, just before a Jake's Leg show, I felt I had hit on a pefect color for the front of the bar, a sort of bright peach. I painted a large section of wall over the front door with this new color. It seemed like such a clear, joyful color in the blazing summer sun, much like Jake's Leg's music. Perhaps the sun was getting to me and I should have realized that many would find the color too bright. When I walked into the bar that evening for a Jake's Leg show, the bartender from across the bar pointed his finger at me, yelling, "If you paint this bar that color, I will hunt you down to the very ends of the Earth, and I will kill you! And I will kill you!" That proved an effective veto of my color choice.

Eventually Randy chose a simple scheme of colors that worked well together and that everyone liked, or could live with. The front of the bar was a beautiful chrome green possible only in a stock color. A stock color is a factory ground color that is more pure and bright than any one can mix in a paint store. The bar looked great. I charged Randy more than he would have liked for my time but less than I needed to charge. It was for me a labor of love. I had to have been working on that exterior a full month, maybe longer, and everyone at St. Louis University had to have seen us working and our wall of trials and colors.

Not long after this, Randy got the bad news. Father Biondi and St. Louis University had gotten 20 North declared blighted and were taking it by eminent domain. Randy found out thru a call from a lawyer who offered his services after having read of Biondi's blighting action in the newspaper. I remember Randy standing outside his bar in shock saying, "They are going to take my ******* bar!"

Father Biondi with help from St. Louis Board of Alderman was eventually able to force Randy to sell the bar to Saint Louis University. Randy rented another city bar, Magees, that later listed itself in the white pages as "Magee's 20 in Exile" But the relocation never really worked. The bar wasn't nearly so well suited to the band or the crowd. And you just can't relocate so much mystique and history.

Biondi claimed he need the 20 North land for an art museum. But that art museum never got built. I drove past the old 20 North site today and it is now just an iron fence and grass. I suspect that Biondi just wanted to clean up SLU's perimeter all along. Back then I didn't know how to fight back against this sort of territorial aggression of a tyrant like Biondi. We 20 Northers back then were clueless how to fight such eminent domain. Today our group would have had a fair chance of stopping Biondi.

What Biondi did to 20 North seems to me like an eminent domain abuse cousin of what Kurt Odenwald tried to do on a much larger scale to county bars. Odenwald wanted County bars to be zones hostile to smokers and Biondi preferred 20 North as a tidily fenced boundary of Saint Louis University. What the owners wanted did not matter. We were happily able to fight Odenwald back, but sadly 20 North is now so much grass and a bitter learning experience. Really, for me, Biondi's theft of a bar was the start of larger campaign for freedom and property rights in St. Louis. At least some good has come out of evil.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Missouri smoking ban information sent to Rolla City Council considering ban.

Councilman Williams:

Scott Caron is quoted extensively in a recent Rolla Daily News article concerning a possible Rolla smoking ban. Mr. Caron states that "50 percent of the country is covered by a Clean Indoor Air Act or ordinance. Currently, 19 states ban smoking in restaurants, bars and/or work places with two more expected to join the ban by 2009." True. And some of these 19 state smoking bans are very harsh. Yet among these laws is an excellent public smoking compromise law recently passed in Tennessee. This law exempts any "over 21" venue. Such a law restricts the exposure of minors to secondhand smoke yet does not favor one sort of business over another and allows adults to make their own free choices.

Mr. Caron reported that Ballwin, Columbia and Kansas City have passed smoking bans. True. Yet people still smoke in Kansas City bars and restaurants. Kansas City will not impose its smoking ban until 85% percent of the counties that make up its metro area sign on. It doesn't look like that will happen soon and the Kansas City Council just rejected a proposal to put a smoking ban on the ballot.

Ballwin, on the other hand, does enforce a severe smoking ban and this ban has devastated Ballwin's best restaurants and bars. The Seventh Inn, one of the few five star restaurants in St. Louis, immediately lost 35 percent of its business after the ban was imposed. Owner Elsa Barth had planned to close or relocate her restaurant outside Ballwin if the smoking ban was not lifted, yet sadly her restaurant was destroyed by fire before she could make that decision. The staff of the best Ballwin bar, the French Quarter, immediately quit after the smoking ban was imposed. Many of Ballwin's best establishments have closed or relocated due to the smoking ban. Ballwin Mayor Walter Young's fear that the smoking ban would leave Ballwin with nothing but fast food restaurants is coming true.

When Kirkwood was considering a smoking ban last year, David McArthur, chairman of the Kirkwood Junction Special Business District Advisory Commission, surveyed 7 Ballwin business concerning their experience of the smoking ban and reported to the Kirkwood City Council:

"Six of the seven reported losses in the bar of 35 to 50 percent. The oneexception, Mi Lupita, is a small restaurant with a six-seat bar area thatlikes the ban because it increased his non-smoking seating table capacityby five tables in the bar area. Restaurants like Longhorn Steakhouse reported bar losses of over 50 percent. No increase in restaurant sales and they now close an hour earlier every day. Also, one bar and two restaurants have closed since the ban.”

These are additional references to business loss in Ballwin suffered due to the smoking ban:

Columbia's smoking ban has likewise caused a great deal of hardship and discontent. Joe Thiel, owner of Otto’s Corner Bar and Grill, says his business is down 35 percent and names eight Columbia businesses that have gone under blaming the smoking ban: Columbia Billards, Rack ‘N’ Roll, Lou’s Palace, Bull Pen Cafe, Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub, Trattoria Strada Nova, Old Chicago, and Classy’s Restaurant. Theil and Betty Hamilton of the Tiger Club have collected enough signatures to force the Columbia City Council to either repeal the ban or put it on the ballot. I doubt that they would go to this trouble if the smoking ban had been good for their businesses.

These are articles concerning Columbia businesses distressed by the smoking ban:

This is a position paper prepared by the Boone Liberty Coalition that makes economic arguments against the Columbia smoking ban using data from other Missouri towns with smoking bans:

Finally, Helena, Bowling Green and Pueblo heart attack rate studies alluded to by Scott Caron have been debunked as junk science. Heart attack rates fluctuate from year to year, regardless of public smoking laws. Nebraska, for instance, enjoyed a 28.5 decrease in its heart attack ratein 2004 versus 2003, yet had no smoking ban. Bar and Restaurant smoking bans have been shown to leave the secondhand smoke exposure rates of nonsmokers unaffected and so it would be implausible to expect any reduction in the heart attack rate of Rolla if the Council imposed a smoking ban. The worrisome aspect of a smoking ban is the increased exposure of children to smoke in the home due to displaced smokers and so an increase in the incidence of asthma attacks in the very young:

Please forgive the length of this e-mail. I want you to have full information available to you for your decision concerning a Rolla smoking ban.

Bill Hannegan

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dr. Michael Siegel backs up KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE!

Esteemed secondhand smoke researcher and former CDC scientist, Dr. Michael Siegel, whose many bar and restaurant secondhand smoke studies helped form the basis of former Surgeon General Carmona's secondhand smoke report, made this statement on his blog yesterday:

"The smoking ban proponents who are claiming that the nonsmoker exposed for 8 hours will suffer the same health effects as if they smoked 16 cigarettes a day are wrong, and they are being deceptive, probably intentionally."

This statement backs up the contention of KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! and Illinois Smokers Rights that the Illinois smoking ban is based on a fraud put forward by the American Cancer Society. Dr. Siegel specifically cites Smoke Free Illinois in his post. Please check out Dr. Siegel's blog post, make up your own mind, and return to comment here! Really, why should Illinoisans or St. Louisans honor such a law based on lies?

Friday, November 30, 2007

The American Cancer Society and the 16 Cigarette Claim

The American Cancer Society promoted the Illinois smoking ban to the public, and strongarmed the Illinois legislature, with an entirely misleading claim that can still be found on their website:

"One 8-hour shift in a smoky workplace is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes."

These are trick numbers. All the ACS is really saying is that a certain chemical is present in secondhand smoke and hardly present in actively inhaled smoke. So it takes 16 cigarettes actively smoked to equal the exposure to this one chemical a nonsmoking bartender receives after 8 hours of work in a smoky bar. Does this mean that a nonsmoker becomes nearly a pack a day passive smoker by taking a job in a smoky bar? Hardly. The actual smoke a bartender breathes in the smokiest bar as measured by total tobacco specific particles equals at most 1/5 of a cigarette per 8 hour shift or 1 cigarette per 40 hour week. The average bartender breathes merely a 10th that much smoke.

Of course, affordable air filtration machines can reduce these fractional smoke exposures to near zero. The Chicago smoking ban, which precipitated the statewide ban, offered an exemption for any smoking-allowed business that could make its indoor air cleaner than the air outdoors. This air filtration exemption is the reason the Chicago ban passed 46-1. Chicago businesses and aldermen knew that air filtration companies could fit any venue with sufficient air filtration measures to make the indoor air of any smoking establishment cleaner than Chicago air.

"Any public place or place of employment otherwise subject to this Chapter whose owner or operator can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the commissioner of public health and the commissioner of the environment, that such area has been equipped with air filtration or purification devices or similar technologies as to render the exposure to secondhand smoke in such area, notwithstanding the fact that smoking may be occurring in such area, equivalent to such exposure to secondhand smoke in the ambient outdoor air surrounding the establishment. The commissioner of public health and the commissioner of the environment are jointly authorized to promulgate regulations specifying what types of technologies, when and if available, and taking into account any applicable Federal and/or State standards, satisfy the requirements of this paragraph."

Not surprisingly, the ACS made sure that this air filtration exemption did not survive in the statewide smoking ban.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Smoke-Free St. Louis City

The American Cancer Society is gearing up for a run at St. Louis City with a new Smoke-Free St. Louis group and website. This website will no doubt soon claim that working eight hours in a smoking-allowed bar has the same health effects as smoking 16 cigarettes, that a smoking ban will cause the heart attack rates in St. Louis to plummet, that smoking bans don't hurt the bar business, and other typically implausible claims.

It has to bother local ACS officials that St. Louis was named the most friendly city in America to smokers by Forbes Magazine in a positive article that praised St. Louis and political leaders in tolerant cities like St. Louis:

"Politicians in those towns view the issue as a question of property rights, allowing owners of restaurants, bars and other private businesses to permit the market to determine smoking policy. No clusters of cigarette butts on sidewalks in these towns, no masses of huddled smokers booted outside the local bar."

But St. Louis City will not be an easy mark for the ACS. Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has pledged not to put a smoking ban on St. Louis bars and restaurants "unless a smoking ban is in place everywhere else." And the Missouri Restaurant Association and St. Louis bars now know, thanks to former County Councilman Kurt Odenwald, that the smoking ban juggernaut in not inevitable or unbeatable.

Furthermore, retired Monsanto analytical chemist turned ETS researcher David Kuneman, along with fellow researcher Michael McFadden, has completed a huge study that shows smoking bans have no effect on heart attack rates in communities that enact them. Such politically incorrect results have met with a lack of interest in public health journals, the same lack of interest Kuneman encountered in Kurt Odenwald, Kuneman's former 5th district councilman, but such research is starting to reach political leaders and ordinary citizens in Missouri.

It turns out heart attack rates fluctuate. From 2003 to 2004 the heart attack rate in South Carolina fell 12.5 percent and the heart attack rate in Nebraska fell 28.5 percent. Yet neither state had a smoking ban.

Michael McFadden made this comment on my last post:

Whenever something like covert air quality testing is done by someone who's not only an advocate but whose entire livelihood and career are dependent upon producing scary results a BIG red flag needs to be raised.

The scientific method emphasizes the need for "double-blind" experimentation because even when researchers have NO vital interest in the results of their work it's still quite possible for those results to be unconsciously biased.

We've seen news stories and analyses indicating that a significant percentage of pharmaceutical research is tainted by various degrees and types of fraud.

How much more likely is it that in the field of secondary smoke research, a field where researchers are not only tempted by money and prestige to fiddle with their findings but also driven by an almost religious fervor to have those findings support what they KNOW to be the "right" policy ... How much more likely is it that a significant amount of fabrication goes on?

I don't know, but I'd guess a LOT more likely. Certainly more than enough to account for most of the studies that come up with "significant" findings supporting the antismoking agenda.

I hope Michael will further comment on a September 15th letter I sent to Thomas Swoik, Executive Director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, concerning similiar stealth tests done on the air of the Casino Queen. I have eliminated the full contact information for Ray Narconis and Global Environmental Consultants, which is readily available at their website.

Mr. Swoik,

I read in yesterday’s Post-Dispatch about the testing of the air quality in the Casino Queen by the American Lung Association and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Please let me suggest that you countermand this sloppy and inadequate study by having the air of the Casino Queen tested by Dr. Ray Narconis of Global Environmental Consultants, a St. Louis based air quality testing firm. Dr. Narconis is an official spokesman for the American Lung Association on indoor and outdoor air quality issues. But, unlike Kathy Drea, he is extremely rigorous and fair. Our group recently used the extensive testing of the Lambert Airport smoking lounges done by Dr. Narconis and his firm to convince the St . Louis County Council that the lounges worked fine and a smoking ban at Lambert Field was not needed. Martin Pion, head of the local antismoking group Missouri GASP, had done a study similar to Kathy Drea’s of the Lambert lounges which purported to show that the lounges leaked. This study was even published in the prestigious British Medical Journal:

Yet the clearly superior testing methods of Dr. Narconis and his willingness to speak before the council in defense of the lounges, superseded the Pion test and carried the day. The St. Louis County Council voted not to ban smoking in these lounges at Lambert Field. The tests of the Lambert Field smoking lounges by Global Environment Consultants cost a little over $6000. Dr. Narconis was also severely critical of the sloppy methodology of the Pion tests. You could commision him to do an official analysis of Kathy Drea’s study. As an official scientific spokesman for the Lung Association, his analysis and testimony would carry a lot of weight.

Contact info for Dr. Narconis:
Narconis, Ray, CMRS, RPIH
Global Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Please find attached a copy of the Lambert Field smoking lounge tests. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in this fight for personal freedom and property rights.

Bill Hannegan
Keep St. Louis Free!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Conflicting Death Tolls

Back in October I heard from the Missouri Restaurant Association about a study that predicted a huge death toll among Pennsylvania casino workers if the Pennsylvania legislature did not pass a smoking ban. The Missouri Restaurant Association seemed to feel that this study might affect the consideration of a smoking ban by the Kansas City Council that was then ongoing.

I did some checking and found that two very different death tolls were being floated by the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco and ETS researcher James Repace in separate press releases issued three days apart. I sent a letter of warning to members of the Pennyslvania Senate and the Pennsylvania press:


The Pennsylvannia Alliance to Control Tobacco and James Repace claim to have done a study of Pennsylvania casino indoor air quality the dire findings of which obligate Pennsylvania legislators to pass a strict smoking ban that includes casinos. Yet two PACT press releases three days apart report two hugely different sets of study findings. The first predicts 1771 Casino worker deaths over the next forty years without a smoking ban. The second only 300. The first say 44 casino workers will die each year. The second only 8. Which numbers are correct? Where do these numbers come from? Does this study really exist? Or are the numbers in these press releases simply being made up? Why is James Repace quoted reporting contradictory study findings in the two releases? The public has a right to review this study and get answers before casino legislation is further debated and voted on. Please look into this scandal.

October 15th PACT press release:“Twenty times OSHA’s Significant Risk Level will eventually kill 44 casino workers every year. This is comparable to the total number of deaths from coal mine disasters in 2006 – and we all appreciate that coal mining can be a dangerous job,” Repace said. “Working in a casino should be a safeway to make a living — except that secondhand smoke makes it a hazardous occupation."

18th PACT press release:"Twenty Seven times OSHA's Significant Risk Level will eventually kill 8 casino workers every year. By comparison, between 1995 and 2002, 16 miners died in Pennsylvania mine disasters, or about 2 per year. We appreciate that coal mining can be a dangerous job," Repace said. "Working in a casino should be a safe way to make a living - except that secondhand smoke makes it a hazardous occupation."

The following is an letter of warning concerning this PACT study I have sent to all members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House:

Senator Wozniak,

I am writing to warn you about a recent "study" conducted by Dr. James Repace and the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco. The original press release announcing the results of this study predicted 1771 deaths of nonsmoking casino workers due to environmental tobacco smoke exposure in Pennsylvania casinos over the next 40 years. Astoundingly, three days later, PACT issued a press release which said the study predicted 300 deaths, nearly a five-fold decrease. Citizens have no access to the orignal study and have to wonder if such a study exists or are the numbers simply being made up? All citizens have are these competing press releases:

Whatever final number Dr. Repace and PACT finally decide on for a death toll, the press releases indicate that such numbers are based on stealth air quality tests performed at several Pennsylvania casinos. Senator, if these tests did indeed take place, they could only be performed by Dr. Repace using very inadequate equipment and under poor circumstances due to the furtive nature of the tests. Clearly these tests were conducted without the knowledge, permission or cooperation of casino authorities.Were casino filtration and ventilation systems even fully operational and employed to peak capacity at the times of the tests? We don't know. Dr. Repace's "tests" cannot be considered any measure of the efficacy of casino filtration and ventilation systems against enviromental tobacco smoke. Please reserve all judgement in this matter until Pennsylvania casino air can be tested in a professional manner with full cooperation of casino authorities.

Senator, properly conducted tests would likely exonerate fully ventilated and filtrated Pennsylvania casino air. In an example from another state, when rigorous tests were conducted on the air of the Bellagio casino in 1999 and 2005, the casino air was found to be as clean as the air outdoors or a smoke-free office building. Tests done at the Bellagio Casino found that RSP concentrations in its air ranged between 12 to 58 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3). Outdoor air that clean would receive one ofthe EPA's two best outdoor air quality ratings: Good or Moderate. Less than half of this RSP was found to be tobacco-related. Belagio Casino air is well within the range of 100 or fewer (ug/m3) of tobacco-related RSP that the 1986 World Health Organization guidelines said would be of "limited or no concern". Such air easily surpasses all of OSHA's workplace air quality standards. Legitimate air quality tests at Pennsylvania casinos might very well yeild similar results.

Senator, let me further ask you to fully investigate the ability of air filtration and air cleaning machines to purify the air not only of casinos but also mom and pop bars and restaurants. Air filtration companies assure me that they can get the air of any building in which smoking is permitted almost perfectly clean by installing redundant HEPA air cleaning and electronic air filtration machines. Many excellent companies offer commercial air filtration machines that are affordable and effective. These same machines currently protect Pennsylvania welders from much more dangerous smoke and fumes to OSHA air quality standards.

As a public health bonus, such air purification machines would not only remove tobacco smoke, but also viruses, bacteria, chemicals, pollen, dust,mold, fungi and, most importantly, radon decay products, which the EPA claims causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, seven times more than secondhand smoke is reputed to cause.

CDC even advocates the installation of such machines in public buildings as a protection of workers and patrons against airborne chemical, biological and radiological attack.

Senator, there can be little doubt that air filtration and air cleaning machines already render the air of all Pennsylvania entertainment venues far, far safer than OSHA requires and can meet any air quality standard the Pennsylvania Senate chooses to set. As a further benefit to public health, a filtration solution to the secondhand smoke problem would not displace smokers to poorly ventilated private homes and cars. Research has shown that this displacement actually causes the secondhand smoke exposure levels of children to rise in communities in which a smoking ban has been imposed. Really Senator, what good is a smoking ban if it causes children to breathe more secondhand smoke?

Please be wary of activists using junk science to strip Pennsylvania
citizens of their freedom and property rights. Thank you for considering the evidence that argues strongly against a Pennsylvania smoking ban and in favor of the continued freedoms and property rights of Pennsylvania citizens.

Bill Hannegan

The Pittsburgh Business Times then contacted me and asked that I state my warning to their readers in a letter of 450 words or less. I sent this letter which they published:

The Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco, and James Repace, a secondhand smoke researcher, claim to have done a study of Pennsylvania casino indoor air quality and its implication for the health of casino workers. PACT and Repace believe the dire findings of their study obligate Pennsylvania legislators to pass a strict all-inclusive indoor smoking ban, and should drive further public smoking restrictions across America. Yet two PACT press releases three days apart report two hugely different results from this same study. The first release, issued on October 15, predicts 1771 Pennsylvania casino worker deaths over the next forty years if no smoking ban is enacted. The second release, dated October 18th, predicts only 300 such deaths. The first says 44 casino workers will die each year due to secondhand smoke exposure without a ban. The second, only 8. Which numbers are correct? Where do these numbers come from? In fact, casino officials doubt that James Repace could have gotten testing equipment past casino security or employed it without the notice of the casinos’ comprehensive camera surveillance. Were tests actually conducted and does such a study exist? Or are the numbers in these press releases simply being made up?

Whatever final numbers Repace and PACT decide on for a death toll, the press releases both indicate that such numbers are based on stealth air quality tests performed at several Pennsylvania casinos. If these tests did indeed take place, it is likely they used very inadequate equipment under limited and furtive circumstances. Clearly these tests were conducted apart from the cooperation of casino authorities. Were casino filtration and ventilation systems even fully operational and employed to peak capacity at the times of the tests? We don't know. Repace's "tests"cannot be considered any measure of the efficacy of casino air filtration and ventilation systems against environmental tobacco smoke nor a measure of the general state of casino air. Judgment in this matter should be reserved until air quality tests can be conducted in a professional, open,and scientific manner with full cooperation of casino authorities.

Earlier tests commissioned by PACT and conducted by James Repace on the air of ordinary bars and restaurants in Pennsylvania have been used to push for strict smoking bans not only in Pennsylvania but all across the country. In light of the startling discrepancy in the reported results of their casino study, PACT should release all such tests and studies for critical public review and examination. Both large casinos and small mom and pop bars and restaurants everywhere feel greatly threatened by smoking bans. All public smoking laws that restrict their freedom and property rights must be justified by something more than slipshod, phantom science by press release.

Bill Hannegan

Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine picked up on all this to good effect:

James Repace, by the way, is the same fellow that Kurt Odenwald and Missouri GASP brought in back in the Spring of 2005 to convince the St. Louis County Council to pass a smoking ban.

All this also makes me question whether Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association actually ever tested the air of the Casino Queen. And if she did, why should we assume her numbers are right?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I began this blog by posting a possible compromise public smoking law for St. Louis:

Warning signs shall be put up within and at the entrances of any building when smoking is allowed in that building.

No minor shall be allowed access to any building when smoking is allowed in that building.

15 air changes per hour of air filtration and air cleaning, or some equivalent air purification process, shall be ongoing in any building when smoking is allowed.

I need to clarify that this law is not an admission on my part that environmental tobacco smoke in a bar is a real health threat to ordinary workers or patrons. I am just suggesting that St. Louis smoking-allowed venues would be more likely to keep their freedom if the smell and haze of tobacco smoke were cleared from their air and adults in these places waited to smoke till the kids weren't around. I am aware that antismoking activists could try to use such a law as a stepping stone to a strict ban. But I also agree with Alderman Steve Gregali that a compromise law could replace a smoking ban by dealing with the aspects of bar and restaurant smoking the health activists object to most and business owners least want to keep. I came up with my suggested compromise in response to a sentiment expressed by St. Louis County Councilman Hazel Erby in a conversation concerning smoking bans in 2005. Hazel said that she thought adults should have places to smoke, but worried about her asthmatic grandchildren being exposed to smoke in St. Louis restaurants. This law would absolutely protect Hazel's grandchildren, substantially protect bar and restaurant workers, yet not favor anyone type of establishment over another. Remember that Hazel voted against the smoking ban because it was unfair to certain businesses.

Yet perhaps an added air filtration requirement to the Gregali Bill would make a better public smoking law for St. Louis. I suggested such an added requirement in a November 11 letter to Alderman Gregali:

Alderman Gregali,

When radio talk show host Lloyd Sloan asked County Councilman Kurt Odenwald on the air about your sign law, Odenwald responded that it didn't protect workers in the smoking section. Couldn't you answer this objection by requiring that the air in any section of an establishment where smoking is allowed shall be continuously filtrated at the rate of 15 air changes per hour by both electronic and HEPA filtration? This requirement shouldn't be a terrible burden for business owners since it is just what filtration companies recommend for comfort. The purified air, largely cleared of haze and smell, should bring some new people in to help defray the filtration cost and a lot of other junk besides smoke will be taken from the air at the same time.
Is there anything we can do to help get your law passed? Please let me know.


Bill Hannegan

Monday, November 26, 2007

Warning to Wichita from Ohio

Yesterday an Ohio resident felt strongly enough about smoking bans to write this letter of warning to Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and then forward it to me. This letter should serve as a warning to St. Louis bar owners and political leaders as well.

Dear Mayor Carl Brewer:

I read on Topix that Wichita is considering a smoking ban. I am an Ohio resident, and last December, my state voted in an all encompassing ban. I do not speak for any group because I do not belong to any. I can tell you that if your experience mimics Ohio ’s, then what you hear from the SmokeFree organization promoting these bans does not tell the complete story. I have three friends who own local bars, and after many years of successful operation in the community, they are quickly failing now that winter is here.

Some have resorted to simply allowing smoking again. In Ohio , the ban is enforced through an anonymous snitch line and reported to the Ohio Department of Health. Since enforcement began in May, only a few establishments have incurred actual fines. Nearly all of the fines have been appealed, and only one $100 fine has been collected. The cost to the state for the appeals is $350, costing the state of Ohio $250 to collect each $100 fine. Many bar owners have decided to simply allow smoking again and eventually pay the fine rather than allow their businesses to go under.

In the beginning, two counties applied for hardship because they could not afford the extra personnel to enforce the ban. Enforcement then went back to the state. Since May when enforcement began, five more counties have claimed hardship, bringing the total number of counties calling for State, rather than county enforcement, to seven.

SmokeFree always promises that non-smokers will come in droves once smoking ends. That is a blatant lie in Ohio . Bars and restaurants with a high smoker population have seen NO increased business from non-smokers. So, where does that leave Ohio and other states and cities considering smoking bans? It leaves them with laws that are increasingly unenforceable and businessmen with the dilemma of deciding whether to break the law or simply close their doors.

When the Ohio ban was voted on, it included an exemption for private clubs. Many private clubs saw a golden opportunity for increased business should the ban be passed, so they supported it. As soon as the enforcement began, the ACS and SmokeFree filed a complaint against the private club exemption, and it was granted. So, the people of SmokeFree duped the private clubs and promptly turned on them.

Ohio’s law had no rules of enforcement at its onset. They wrote the rules as they went along, thus the six month period from vote until enforcement. Many non-smokers do not support this ban. It turns fellow citizens against each other through the anonymous reporting system. Many calls are, in fact, the result of a disgruntled customer or business competitor and are false. What you read and hear from the powerful people who march into community after community with lies about the effects of smoking bans is simply not true and is designed to fool some of the people most of the time. I urge you to look more deeply into the effect of smoking bans upon the actual people living under them before taking Wichita down the same path as Ohio . Thank you

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Letter to Lake St. Louis

This is a letter I sent to Lake St. Louis Mayor Mike Potter and the Lake St. Louis Board of Aldermen last July:

Dear Alderman Buell,

In a June 28th Suburban Journal article, the owners of El Maguey Mexican restaurant and Donatelli's Bistro expressed concern that a Lake St. Louis smoking ban would harm their businesses. They are right to worry. Elsa Barth, owner of the Seventh Inn restaurant in Ballwin, says her restaurant experienced an immediate 35 percent decline in business due to the Ballwin smoking ban. She explained that if a dinner party included even a single smoker, it would choose an alternate establishment that allowed smoking. For every smoking customer she lost, she would also lose many nonsmoking companions of the smoker as well. Elsa Barth and Mike Probst, owner of longtime Ballwin bar the French Quarter, felt so strongly against the harm of smoking bans they refused to promote smoking bans in neighboring communities and even testified against smoking bans before the St. Louis County Council. Aldermen from Arnold also testified before the St. Louis County Council hearings, warning of the economic harm caused by their smoking ban to Arnold businesses.

Many St. Louis bars, restaurants and their patrons deeply don't want a smoking ban. The life risks from environmental tobacco smoke in bars andrestaurants would have to be both very large and established beyond a reasonable doubt to justify such a threat to business and criminalization of adult citizens using a legal product on private property. The following evidence strongly argues that tobacco smoke in any Lake St.Louis bar or restaurant is merely a foreseeable nuisance and irritant that can be almost entirely eliminated through ventilation and filtration:

The longest-running and highest-quality secondhand smoke study ever done, completed too late (2003) to be included in Surgeon General Carmona’s report, found no link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer or heart disease.

"The Bogus 'Science' of Secondhand Smoke", a recent Washington Post op-ed by cancer epidemiologist and toxicologist Gio Batta Gori, former deputy director of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention, calls smoking bans "odious and socially unfair" prohibitions based on "bogus" science and “dangerous, wanton conjectures.” Gori warns that the many of the secondhand smoke studies the SurgeonGeneral uses to claim secondhand smoke life risk fail to control for important confounding variables, are based merely on "brief phone interviews", and assume that people always tell the truth about their smoking histories. Gori further warns that the results of these secondhand smoke studies are inconsistent:

“In addition, results are not consistently reproducible. The majority ofstudies do not report a statistically significant change in risk fromsecondhand smoke exposure, some studies show an increase in risk, and ¿astoundingly ¿ some show a reduction of risk.”

A recent study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that restaurant ventilation/filtration systems can make the air of the nonsmoking section of a smoking restaurant as clean as the air of smoke-free restaurant.

My own research confirms this result. When the St. Louis County Council was considering a smoking ban in 2005, Councilman Skip Mange asked me to provide for him a local ventilation/filtration expert who could answerhis technical questions. Every expert I contacted agreed that a properly designed ventilation/filtration system could effectively remove the smoke from the air of bars and restaurants to a safe level.

Another Oak Ridge National Laboratory study of tavern workers in 16 majorcities found that the tobacco smoke exposure of bar and restaurantworkers to be minimal. No bartender was found to breathe more than theequivalent of a single cigarette per 40 hour work week. The average bartender breathed .1 of a cigarette per 40 hour week.

A huge recent study of heart attack rates in California and New York has proven that smoking bans do not lead to a reduction in heart attack rates:

In an estimate of health benefits of the New York City smoking ban, American Counsel on Science and Health President, Elizabeth M. Whelan Sc.D., M.P.H., admits that “There is no evidence that any New Yorker *patron or employee * has ever died as a result of exposure to smoke in abar or restaurant.” Whelan further states that “The link between secondhand smoke and premature death, however, is a real stretch.”

Surgeon General Carmona’s report and press statements have come under severe criticism from respected public health authorities even within the antismoking movement. The Surgeon General’s contention that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke is especially disputed. TheSurgeon General’s report needs much more analysis and scrutiny before it can become the proper basis for law. It is important to remember that the EPA Report which declared secondhand smoke to be a human carcinogen was subject to years of scrutiny by scientists and epidemiologists before being vacated as a fraud by a federal judge four years after its release.

After analyzing the EPA Report linking secondhand smoke and lung cancer, the Congressional Research Service concluded that: "The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking.... Even at the greatest exposure levels....very few or even no deaths can be attributed to ETS."

The refusal of OSHA, the government agency charged with the protection of worker health, to ban workplace smoking, calls into question the danger of tobacco smoke exposure in a bar or restaurant. OSHA has established PELs (Permissible Exposure Levels) for all the measurable chemicals,including the 40 alleged carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. PELs are levels of exposure for an 8-hour workday from which, according to OSHA, no harm will result. OSHA explains that under normal workplace circumstances, secondhand smoke “exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs)”

“Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Ass't Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD,July 8, 1997

Alderman Buell, if the maximum tobacco smoke exposure for any bartender is 1 cigarette per 40 hour work week, the ordinary exposure only a tenth of that, and the exposure of any patron only a tiny fraction of that tenth, is a public health intervention as severe as a smoking ban justified? If OSHA does not deem environmental tobacco smoke a workplace health risk worth regulating, and the death of any St. Louis citizen due to bar or restaurant smoke is highly questionable, why restrict the freedoms of citizens and the private property rights of business owners with a smoking ban? There is no compelling public health reason to add Lake St. Louis bars and restaurants to the long list of businesses across the country that have been injured or killed by such bans:

Furthermore, bar and restaurant smoking bans have proven to be public health failures. Researchers with the University College London have extensively studied American bar and restaurant smoking bans. These researchers are now cautioning lawmakers that such bans causenon-smokers, especially young children, to involuntarily breathe more secondhand smoke! When smokers can’t smoke around other adults in well-ventilated bars and restaurants, they tend to smoke in poorly ventilated private places around children and elderly relatives instead.These researchers state: “We find that bans in recreational public places can perversely increase tobacco exposure of non-smokers by displacing smokers to private places where they contaminate non-smokers, in particular young children.” These researchers conclude:

"Governments in many countries are under pressure to limit passive smoking. Some pressure groups can be very vocal about these issues and suggest bold and radical reform. Often, their point of view is laudable but too simplistic in the sense that they do not take into account how public policies can generate perverse incentives and effects."

Alderman Buell, what good is a smoking ban if it at once causes childrento breathe more secondhand smoke and longstanding businesses to fail? Please judge legislation not by its good intentions but by its effects in the real world. The smoking ban issue is still a new issue for Americancities, one that lawmakers are still thinking thru. St Louis County Councilman John Campisi is one legislator that has gotten this issue right. This St. Louis County Councilman, though he initially supported a smoking ban, came to see the supreme importance of freedom in American life and the superiority of information over coercion as the best public health protection in a free society. Councilman Campisi wrote to me after shifting his support from a smoking ban to a signage law for St. Louis County:

“Similar to the first surgeon generals warning on the pack of cigarettes, this is the first step toward a smoke free environment...Please think back when the warning came out and how the smoking habits have continued to decline since then... My bill is a warning also to the consumer and the freedom of choice to those that choose not to patronize those establishments that have smoking in their restaurant, bar or casino... I cherish the freedom of choice and the freedom of speech in this country…”

Rather than a smoking ban, please consider a signage law like that advocated by Councilman Campisi or St. Louis City Alderman Stephen Gregali for Lake St. Louis. Alderman Gregali’s law is especially excellent in that it establishes three categories of restaurants: smoking, smoking-restricted and smoke-free. An establishment that declares itself to be smoking-restricted must take exacting measures to assure the public that it will not encounter stray smoke in the non-smoking section. Anyone smoking in a section of a restaurant not designated by signage as smoking would be fined. Thus those with asthma and other special sensitivities would be protected from any surprise encounter with tobacco smoke.

Alderman Buell, please consider making Lake St. Louis a leader in the St.Louis area by passing a common sense a signage law that protects public health with increased information yet respects the freedoms of citizens and property rights of business owners. My group has lately worked hard to provide accurate and complete information to lawmakers in the 22 states and many cities recently considering smoking bans. But we especially want to work to see such reasonable legislation as that proposed by Councilman Campisi and Alderman Gregali established in St. Louis. Please let me know anything we can do to help toward that end!


Bill Hannegan

Friday, November 23, 2007

St. Louis Public Smoking Compromise

Let's keep St. Louis a free and tolerant city. What about a reasonable compromise concerning the public smoking policy in St. Louis? This possible public smoking law for St. Louis would keep secondhand smoke away from children and substantially protect workers from secondhand smoke, yet not favor one type of business over another:

Warning signs shall be put up within and at the entrances of any building when smoking is allowed in that building.

No minor shall be allowed access to any building when smoking is allowed in that building.

15 air changes per hour of air filtration and air cleaning, or some equivalent air purification process, shall be ongoing in any building when smoking is allowed.

This law is modelled on the compromise Tennessee public smoking law recently passed:

Air purification would not only remove tobacco smoke, but also viruses, bacteria, chemicals, pollen, dust, mold, fungi and, most importantly, radon decay products, which the EPA claims causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, seven times more than secondhand smoke is reputed to cause. Commercial and industrial air filtration machines are affordable and readily available. Venues thatallow smoking could be retrofitted without expensive ductwork or other construction costs. Please click here to see two HEPA and two electronic air filtration machines. (These technologies can be combined into a single unit.) These are the same machines that currently protect Missouri welders from much more dangerous smoke to OSHA safety standards, they can also protect bartenders from stray tobacco smoke.

The CDC even recommends that such air filtration systems be installed in buildings as a way of protecting workers from airborne chemical, biological or chemical attacks:

Furthermore, an air filtration solution to the secondhand smoke problem would not displace smokers to poorly ventilated private homes and cars. Research has shown that this displacement actually causes the secondhand smoke exposure levels of children to rise in communities in which a smoking ban has been imposed.

I am very concerned for business owners who have sunk their life's savings into their establishments. Smoking bans have hurt and killed many mom and pop businesses in other towns. But if St. Louis government brings truly clean air to smoking establishments thru contemporary air filtration technology, business in these establishments will not be hurt but would instead flourish as new patrons arrive who were kept away by the previous smoke.