Sunday, June 29, 2008

Question for Martin Pion, Pat Lindsey, Smoke-Free St. Louis City and Joan Bray

John Banzhaf and his group, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America’s premier antismoking organization, with a press release this week, now officially advocate a ban on smoking in all private homes, apparently even if children are not present, and even if the smoke is not drifting into an adjoining dwelling. I wonder if Martin Pion of Missouri GASP, Jason Vander Weele and Jessica Mitchell of Smoke-Free St. Louis City, Pat Lindsey of St. Louis University Tobacco Prevention Center and antismoking Missouri Senator Joan Bray want to go this far? They should not be excused from comment on this ASH press release by the Post-Dispatch!

Illinois smoking ban poll

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today that a poll paid for by the American Lung Association of Illinois, the American Cancer Society-Illinois and the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, asked 606 Illinoisans if the Illinois smoking ban had been "beneficial". 73 percent said yes.

So what! If I had been asked the same question, I would answer yes too. There will be benefits to any ban. The real question that should have been asked is: "Is the loss of freedom and curtailment of property rights due to the Illinois smoking ban justified by whatever health benefits the ban provides?" My answer to that question is no!

This St. Louis Post-Dispatch article only quotes smoking ban proponents concerning the poll. Is that good journalism?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Maplewood Playground Smoking Ban

Mayor Mark Langston and the Maplewood City Council just banned the use of tobacco products within 50 feet of a playground at all Maplewood city parks. This "feel good" law has no public health justification. The intolerance this law implies is a bad example for Maplewood kids. But Mayor Langston has shown a limited understanding of what is truly good for his town in previous eminent domain attempts. Freedom and property rights don't mean much to this guy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Atomic Cowboy's hypocritical urban bonfires

The bar Atomic Cowboy has teamed up with Smoke Free St. Louis City to help force a smoking ban on reluctant St. Louis businesses.

What a deeply uncool thing to do! If I were more of a bastard, I would look into the possible violation of outdoor burning codes by Atomic Cowboy's famous bonfires. But I won't go there, because I am not out to ruin anyone's fun.

But how can Smoke Free St. Louis City celebrate a business that puts huge amounts of woodsmoke into St. Louis air? Woodsmoke is far more carcinogenic than tobacco smoke and, from what I have read so far, accounts for a surprising amount of urban air particulate pollution. No one is forced to go into a smoky bar. But all St. Louisans have to breathe the air made smoky by Atomic Cowboy. Careful Atomic Cowboy, efforts are underway to ban the fires you happen to like.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Alderman Donna Baringer's "graffiti tools" law

I would have a lot less problem with Alderman Donna Baringer’s law restricting the sale of “graffiti tools” to persons under 18 if her law was a limited attempt to deal with an immediate St. Louis problem and so expired after 3 years.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Smoke-Free St. Louis City Solution offered by Marth Brothers & Co.

Marth Brothers and Company are now installing air filtration machines in St. Louis bars and restaurants that should render the local smoking ban issue obsolete! Venues such as The Country Club, Bar Napoli, The Double D Lounge, Three Monkeys, The Hive and Peppertini’s are now enjoying at once their freedom, property rights and clean air.

These units are what I had in mind when I suggested an air filtration compromise for St. Louis!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dr. Fillipo Ferrigni makes false claim to St. Charles City Council!

Dr. Filippo Ferrigni, medical director of St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, made this false statement to the St. Charles City Council.

“If you’re a nonsmoking waitress working in a restaurant that allows smoking, you are essentially smoking the equivalent of 20 cigarettes throughout an eight-hour workday.”

He should either produce research to support such an absurd claim or retract his statement. Even Martin Pion of Missouri GASP admits such a claim is bogus and that health professionals should know better.

Friday, June 06, 2008

OSHA backs up St. Charles City Council

I sent this letter to Mayor York and the St. Charles City Council in response to today's Post-Dispatch editorial:

Dear Mayor York and St. Charles City Council,

Despite what Post-Dispatch editorials say, controversy remains concerning secondhand smoke. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, nearly half of Americans are not convinced that secondhand smoke is a severe health risk. The controversy has been further fueled by a recent UCLA study, the longest-running and highest-quality secondhand smoke study ever done, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, but completed “too late” (2003) to be included in Surgeon General Carmona’s report, that found no link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer or heart disease.

Furthermore, OSHA agrees with your decision not to impose a smoking ban on the workplaces of the City of St. Charles. OSHA, the government agency charged with the protection of worker health, after studying the workplace secondhand smoke issue for seven years, opted not to impose a workplace smoking ban. So why is the St. Charles City Council being asked to imposeone instead? 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 for which, according to OSHA, any health risk is small enough to be tolerated.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 existingPermissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air ContaminantStandard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -LetterFrom Greg Watchman, Acting Ass't Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD,July 8, 1997

So lawmakers can in good conscience leave the smoking ban decision to the business owner and the free market. Remember, any bar or restaurant owner can ban smoking in his establishment, permanently or part-time, as his employees and patrons demand.

Even better, bar and restaurant owners can install air filtration machines that will not only remove tobacco smoke, but all toxins, pathogens andirritants, including 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 air filtration machines are affordable and readily available. These are the same machines that currently protect welders from much more dangerous smoke to OSHAsafety standards; they can also protect bartenders from stray tobacco smoke.

For instance, this air filtration machine is a most effective alternative to a smoking ban in ordinary bars. It can run the air of a 20x40x10 bar through electronic, HEPA and carbon filtration 15 times per hour and costsless than $4000. Its HEPA filtration alone removes 99.97 percent of smokeparticles down to .3 microns and would even remove avian flu from bar air.

I don't work for any tobacco or air filtration company. I just see air filtration technology as the right solution to this public health issue!

Bill Hannegan

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fire up the old presses for freedom!

Back in 2005 when Odenwald tried to impose a smoking ban on St. Louis County, we relied on the local copy shop to print the 60,000 or so flyers we mailed to County bars and restaurants. But we hope to turn to these beautiful old letterpresses to produce further flyers and broadsides in defense of St. Louis freedom and property rights. These are some videos of presses like our Miehle V50 in action:

Of course, we will still do our hand-painted banners for any noble cause that run over 100 feet.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pat Lindsey, Jason Vander Weele and Jessica Mitchell: Please leave us alone!

In this week's St. Louis Post-Dispatch Political Fix blog, an anonymous poster suggested that I was paid to oppose smoking bans by Big Tobacco. I replied that no one pays Keep St. Louis Free! to stand up for St. Louis freedom and property rights:

"No one in Keep St. Louis Free! is paid a dime by any tobacco or air filtration company to fight smoking bans. We do it because we believe in St. Louis freedom and property rights. But Pat Lindsey of the Tobacco-Free Missouri/Greater St. Louis Coalition along with Jason Vander Weele and Jessica Mitchell of Smoke-Free St. Louis City are all hired guns. How long will they continue to accept Big Pharma money to crusade for a policy that threatens small businesses, cause kids to breathe more smoke, and kills innocent people through more drunk driving fatalities? "

I wish these people would leave ordinary St. Louis citizens who enjoy a smoke in a neighborhood tavern alone!