Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Keep St. Louis Free did against St. Louis smoking bans in 2005 and 2006.

What Keep St. Louis Free did to help stop St. Louis smoking bans:

  • David Kuneman presented the case against a St. Louis smoking ban on behalf of the Missouri Restaurant Association. David Kuneman's arguments made possible a responsible rejection of County Councilman Kurt Odenwald's proposed smoking ban by the St. Louis County Council.

  • Helped collect 10,000 signatures by County residents on a petition against the Kurt Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban.

  • Assembled 168 pages of arguments and studies that form the basis of the Missouri Restaraunt Association's denial of any need for further public smoking restrictions in St. Louis bars and restaurants in order to protect public health. We hand highlighted these studies and arguments, then sent them to all 90 St. Louis County mayors, the St. Louis County Council, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and the main St. Louis newspapers and television stations. Hand highlighting key passages of 20,000 pages of text was crucial to ensuring the studies had maximum effect on busy journalists and public officials.

  • Printed and distributed 60,000 flyers containing the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the St. Louis County Council to all St. Louis County bars and restaurants, as well as all St. Louis City bars. Over 1000 St. Louis establishments received flyers. These flyers were then copied and further distributed by these bars and restaurants.

  • Mailed to all bars and restaurants in specific districts at key times in the smoking ban battle.

  • Called 800 St. Louis County bars and restaurants before important County Council smoking ban hearings to bring business owners, employees and patrons out to protest the ban.

  • Painted and displayed at smoking ban hearings the largest mobile protest banner in St. Louis history, 70 feet long with 32 inch letters, held aloft by eight hand-held poles. It took eight people to handle this huge message of wood, oilcloth and paint . The banner read: KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! FIGHT THE SMOKING BAN! It was painted for free by St. Louis artist Bill Christman, who founded Blueberry Hill along with his old pal Joe Edwards. Bill came out to hold the banner too and brought a lot of fun to Keep St. Louis Free protests. He has had his own run-ins with overbearing government authority. I wish we could have helped him more!

  • Found and delivered to the Council the results of recent air quality tests, commissioned by the Lambert Airport Authority, which proved a smoking ban was not justified at Lambert Airport. Distributed flyers at Lambert smoking lounges with the contact info of the County Councilmen. Once again researcher David Kuneman provided key testimony before the Council against the Lambert airport smoking ban.

  • Campaigned in Ballwin to remove Ballwin smoking ban author Charlie Gatton from office. As I remember, Gatton lost by 54 votes. The extreme efforts to unseat Gatton by Darla Maloney and Debbie Hopper surely made the difference in this race.

I want to make clear that members of the St. Louis Libertarian Party played a big role in the work against these smoking bans. I myself fought the smoking bans as a someone who is substantially a libertarian. And I have since joined the St. Louis Libertarian Party. But Keep St. Louis Free is a grassroots direct action network that doesn't compete with any political group. Anyone can join us and do something for St. Louis freedom and property rights.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

David Kuneman on Smoke-Free St. Louis City poll

David Kuneman, a spokesman for Keep St. Louis Free, just sent this letter to post. David is a retired Monsanto pharmaceutical chemist who in recent years has extensively researched issues concerning secondhand smoke and public health. In 2005, David convincingly argued on behalf of the Missouri Restaurant Association before the St. Louis County Council that secondhand smoke in St. Louis County bars and restaurants did not constitute a threat to public health. David's arguments made possible a responsible rejection of County Councilman Kurt Odenwald's proposed smoking ban by the St. Louis County Council. An updated version of this case will soon be sent by Keep St. Louis Free to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, the St. Louis County Council and the entire Missouri legislature.

David Kuneman's letter:


Your blog readers should remember that Kirkwood voters recently rejected a smoking ban.


Kirkwood voters voted 55/45 against the ban because they were aware of the David McArthur study which found severe economic loss due to the Balwin smoking ban.

If the Smoke-free St. Louis City poll had told the truth and informed the respondents that bans DO hurt business, it is doubtful their poll would have reported 61% in favor of a ban in bars, casinos, and restaurants. Also, if the Smoke-free St. Louis City poll had allowed respondents to separately state their preferences for smoking restrictions in bars, casinos, and restaurants, like the 2007 Gallup poll did, it is likely the Smoke-Free St. Louis City poll would have reported results similar to the 2007 Gallup poll.

Remember that Charles Gatton, who sponsored the Ballwin smoking ban, got voted out of office, and so did Kirk Odenwald, who sponsored the St. Louis County ban. In light of all this, it is highly doubtful the Smoke-free St. Louis City poll is an accurate reflection of how our region actually feels about smoking bans.

David Kuneman

Antismoker makes a kind concession!

An antismoker in the Post-Dispatch blogs made this kind (highly honorific Dead term) concession:

"Mr. Hannegan I went to your web site and am still not convinced with one small exception. If it were up to me, I would ban smoking in any restaurant or bar except for one that features Jakes Leg or is a successor to 20 North. As someone who has been to 20 North and enjoyed Jake's Leg, I admit that somehow, smoking goes with that era and atmosphere."

I have been to hundreds of Jakes Leg shows. When I began my campaign against Odenwald's smoking ban, I was first and foremost trying to keep a smoking ban off Magees. I remember the doorman pointing to my flyers and then to the crowded bar asking, "Are you doing this to protect that?". He got it.

Here is more on the blog about my relationship with Jakes Leg, with a comment from lead singer and 20 North owner Randy Furrer.

I could only find one Jakes Leg video on You Tube, and it is outdoors, but it is a good song:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

10,000 County signatures against smoking ban.

Keep St. Louis Free helped collect some of the 10,000 signatures (along with addresses) against Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban. Those 10,000 signatures are likely still available to us. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Keep St. Louis Free official spokesmen.

David Kuneman and Tony Palazzolo are now official spokesmen for Keep St. Louis Free. Both men were featured with me in the South Side Journal article on Keep St. Louis Free last Friday.

David is a brilliant research chemist who has rigorously investigated all aspects of the smoking ban issue and has been fighting smoking bans far longer than I. Airline pilot Kevin Kelly, who helped lead the grassroots effort against Odenwald's Lambert Airport smoking ban, rightly called Dave a "heavy hitter". Dave presented the official scientific case against Kurt Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban on behalf of the Missouri Restaurant Association:

Tony Pazzolo is a very astute observer of the St. Louis political scene and a excellent local advocate of freedom and property rights. Together Tony and Dave bring a nice balance to the Keep St. Louis Free voice on the smoking ban issue in St. Louis.

I hope to also soon add someone from Marth Brothers & Co. as a Keep St. Louis Free spokesman on issues of air filtration and ventilation.

I don't believe the St. Louis Board of Alderman has any plans to impose a smoking ban on the City of St. Louis. But if the issue does come up, we will mobilize our coalition of business owners and citizens who feel as we do about this issue of freedom and property rights.

In 2005 we mobilized all the bars and restaurants of St. Louis County with mailings, flyers and phone calls. Calling 800 businesses and hand addressing 800 envelopes, especially many times over and over, can be a daunting task. Furthermore we mailed over 168 hand-highlighted pages of the best medical and economic evidence against Odenwald's ban to all the County mayors, the County councilmen, City aldermen and journalists of St. Louis. Over 20,000 pages of evidence went out. It was a lot of time and money spent. But we will gladly do it again to preserve freedom and property rights in St. Louis.

Any attempt to impose a smoking ban on St. Louis will be a reason to unfurl the beautiful 70 foot banner Bill Christman painted for us, with its bright yellow 32 inch tall letters protesting any St. Louis smoking ban. The banner reads: "KEEP ST. LOUIS FREE! FIGHT THE SMOKING BAN!" We held this banner at County Council hearing many times. I takes at least 8 people to hold, preferably 12. Bill is a classic yet funky sign artist who started Blueberry Hill along with his old pal Joe Edwards. I am so glad that Bill is part of our freedom cause and I would love to hold his fun banner one more time!

Royale success explained

According to a reporter who is a regular, the Royale smoking ban success, though real, can't be extrapolated to the rest of St. Louis bars. The Royale, he explained, sponsors events for liberal political groups like Planned Parenthood and the Obama campaign whose membership is heavily nonsmoking. The Royale is clearly not a typical St. Louis bar. The reporter also pointed out that the Royale smoking ban began in April. He questioned whether the Royale could keep the ban throughout the next St. Louis winter.

Royale owner Steven Fitzpatrick Smith is wrong to help Smoke-Free St. Louis City create the impression that a citywide smoking ban won't hurt many St. Louis bars. The free publicity Smith has gotten so far won't be worth the resentment he will get if a St. Louis smoking ban ever come to pass.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Southside Journal features Keep St. Louis Free today!

I am so grateful to Shawn Clubb! The picture of Keep St. Louis Free! leader Tony Palazzolo is pretty cool!

Smoke-Free St. Louis City declines challenge by John Pretzborn of Fox 2 News!

John Pertzborn of Fox 2 News asked me to debate Smoke-Free St. Louis City on his morning news show. I told John yes but warned him that Smoke-Free St. Louis City would never take me on. I had been trying to call them out for months with no luck. John called me later and said, "You called that one right!" You can see in the video of the newscast that John Pertzborn was not too happy that Smoke-Free St. Louis City had refused the challenge.;jsessionid=AE32787F05DDECCE52A7A6756647866D?contentId=7255243&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

I would like to have warned Smoke-Free St. Louis City on the show that their smoking ban would increase the St. Louis drunk driving fatality rate and cause low-income St. Louis City children to breathe more secondhand smoke. Both unintended effects are unacceptable.

But I think Smoke-Free St. Louis City is smart to duck me. Clearly the doctors they recruited for the news conference don't know what they are talking about. That is pretty typical for physicians not specially trained in epidemiology. One of my best friends from high school became a pulmonologist and head of internal medicine at a major St. Louis hospital. When I tried to organize a scientific case to present to the St. Louis County Council against Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban, I called my friend to ask about the 1998 WHO Study and the 2003 UCLA Study. He hadn't heard of either. But he did say that it usually takes 20 to 30 years of active smoking before someone became his patient. His attitude toward smoking bans and secondhand smoke was: "Well, maybe people shouldn't be smoking anyway!" My friend would not have fared well in a debate. Neither would the Smoke-Free St. Louis City doctors!

By the way, Jason Vander Weele doesn't sound like a St. Louisan. Where is he from?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Updated list of venues featuring Marth Brother's air filtration

Peppertini's Piano Bar and Grill
79 Forum Shopping Center

Bar Napoli
7754 Forsyth Blvd

Double D Lounge
2219 S Brentwood Blvd

The Hive
609 N New Ballas Rd

3215 Ivanhoe Ave

The Country Club
288 Lamp and Lantern Vlg

Fu Man Chu
7336 Manchester Road

1881 Sherman Drive
Saint Charles, MO 63303

1800 S 10th St

612 W Woodbine Ave
Kirkwood, MO 63122

John P Field's
26 N Central Ave

Nadine's Gin Joint
1931 S 12th St

Paul Mineo's
333 Westport Plz

Three Monkeys
3153 Morganford Rd

The Tin Can - Morganford
3157 Morganford Rd

Uncle Bill's
14196 Manchester Rd

15850 Manchester Rd

15 N Meramec Ave

The Tin Can - Locust
1909 Locust St

Marth Brothers before and after photos

Check out what seven minutes of Marth Brothers filtration can do to clear the smoke.

The Truth Behind Smoking Bans

Keep St. Louis Free member Tony Palazzolo sent his take on the Smoke-Free St. Louis City poll:

The Truth Behind Smoking Bans

In light of the recent poll from Smoke-Free St Louis one question needs to be asked. Where does the money come from? They have full time employees. They have money to do polls. They tell you this is a grass roots good faith effort to improve the health of workers. One thing grass roots campaigns have in common is the lack of money. Yet this "grass roots" campaign seemingly has money to burn.

The answer is that it comes from the Pharmaceutical Industry. To some that would make sense. Doesn't the pharmaceutical industry want to improve health? While we would like to think that it would history shows that they are looking out for their bottom line no matter the cost. How many drugs have they rushed to market with full knowledge that they were dangerous only to have people die. How they pay doctors bonuses to prescribe drugs whether or not they are needed. This is America and companies have a right to seek profit. They however must operate within the social framework of this country. When a decision is made to seek profit over the well being of its customers then it is a problem. In this fight, they are seeking to take away the freedom of citizens to make choices. They are taking away the freedom of private property rights. They do this by funneling money to various organizationwho promote junk science. This is done to promote fear in the general public. In essence, they are the new "Big Tobacco" who for decades used bad science to promote its product. Only the product is no longer cigarettes - its nicorette, the patch and other drugs. They have recently stopped calling them "smoking cessation drugs"and are now calling them "nicotine replacement drugs". They no longer want you to use them to stop smoking, they want you to use them for a lifetime. Its not a fight to promote health - its a fight to see who you'll buy nicotine from. When New Zealand went smoke-free, sales of nicotine replacement drugs went up 5000%. When they come to town with their flawed science, they are not looking to improve your health. They are looking to increase their market.

What air filtration can do

John Pertzborn of Channel 2 News asked me this morning if air filtration machines can remove the carcinogens of secondhand smoke from bar and restaurant air. This letter from Marth Brothers & Co., written as part of the effort by Marth Brothers to fully inform Chicago officials on this issue, explains what air filtration can really do to remove environmental tobacco smoke from bar and restaurant air:

This letter is in response to the proposed smoking ban and the effectiveness of filtration systems on indoor air quality (IAQ) contaminants with specific regard to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).There are specifically designed commercially available systems that will remove the toxic and carcinogenic components of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).

Such a system includes high efficiency particulate filtration along with sorbent media and Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) systems to remove the toxic gasses, chemicals and carcinogens. Because of the type of technologies that will be used, the system will also remove unrelated bio-aerosols, volatile organic compounds (VOC's), various gaseous hydrocarbons, mold, and viruses.

These technologies are recognized and used by the EPA and NIOSH. NASA, National Laboratories, and the Military (for protection from airborne chemical, biological and nuclear terrorists weapons), use these technologies as their main course of mitigation. The technologies in question have been developed and improved over the last half century to protect human health and reduce the associated hazards.

With the invention of the Hepa filter at the laboratories of Los Alamos, particulate filtration took a massive step forward. PCO, Adsorbent and the newer Chemi-sorbent materials have made it possible to capture or destroy hazardous and reactive gasses with sorbent/chemical filtration, which include the toxic and carcinogenic components of ETS.

I have included a web link connection that proves the effectiveness of these technologies. This primary paper I have included with this document is a joint study from the Office of Homeland Security (OHS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that tell how the technology that we are speaking of will actually protect building owners and occupants from chemical, biological, and radiological terrorist’s weapons. In other words, not only simple particulates and gasses found in ETS, but also complex multi-strain bacterium and airborne man-made toxic gasses will be captured or killed.

Rebuttal Thoughts

Many things have been stated about filtration in the debate over ETS, some true and some false in example

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers) states that no amount of ventilation can remove ETS, this is a true statement. Ventilation means to introduce outside air into a contained space to replace contaminated air. ETS is in some cases is as heavy as or heavier than air that is why it “hangs” in the room. To ventilate a room completely you would first have to have a perfect air flow pattern (impossible with occupants in the room). Secondly enough airflow power to purge the room (very loud and expensive). They state that ETS will migrate from room to room through the ventilation system. This statement is true; a typical HVAC system serves many rooms. The statement that ASHRAE made that no one is talking about is that the only way to control ETS is to have a separate HVAC system in each room. ASHRAE is a group comprised of representatives of companies that manufacture HVAC systems MBC Advocates Filtration not Ventilation!

American Cancer Society has stated that there is no kind of filtration that can remove ETS, this statement is wrong. The United States and local governments use similar technologies to kill or capture Volatile Organic Compounds and bioterrorist weapons, in example the filters in the Abrahams A-1 tank can filter out Anthrax and Sars. Firefighters wear the NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) breathing masks that filter out the carcinogens from fires. ( almost the same chemical content as ETS) Airports and other municipalities use Carbon and Potassium Permanganate to keep the toxic jet fumes from entering the airport buildings With everyday advances in science it is truly irresponsible to make a blanket statement like there is no technology available

The Surgeon General of the United States, has stated that no amount of ETS exposure is acceptable, this statement is technically true, there is no level of any toxic contaminants that can be deemed completely safe, which is why they developed the term “acceptable levels”. In example, in factories you can have an acceptable level of certain contaminants, in food you can have acceptable levels of toxins, excrement, insect parts, mercury levels, steroids in beef ETC. This term was developed because there are very few absolutes in life.

The Environmental Protection Agency, states that no filtration system can remove 100% of ETS from a air, this statement is true, we can however, get the air in a room purified to levels in some cases that are undetectable by measuring equipment ( 200 parts per billion of VOC’s) and in most cases lower than the EPA’s Green building standard ( the highest standard, VOC’s at or below 600 parts per billion) and in all cases proper filtration can clean the air of Partculates,VOC’s and all toxic Bio-Aerosols cleaner than the outside air surrounding the business.

Marth Brothers and Company Inc. is neither pro-smoking nor pro-smoking ban, we are pro- technology.

Best regards,

Michael Marth, Technical Director
Marth Brothers & Company Inc.

Expert analysis such as this explains why the Chicago Board of Aldermen passed an air filtration exemption as part of the Chicago smoking ban:

"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."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Craigslist 2007 Posting for Job with Smoke-Free St. Louis City

David Kuneman sent me this craigslist Smoke-Free St. Louis job posting from December 2007.
Keep St. Louis Free is definitely up against hired guns! Are the leaders of Smoke-Free St. Louis City even from St. Louis?

Job Summary:

Provide direction and coordination to a newly formed coalition in the City of St. Louis. Smoke-Free St. Louis City is a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations working to educate the community and local decision makers on the dangers of secondhand smoke and the ill health effects smoking in bars, restaurants and the workplace brings; with the long term goal of a smoke-free policy in St. Louis City that protects the health of all our city's citizens. Position is full-time and includes competitive salary and benefits.


• build relationships with key leaders in the community on behalf of the Coalition

• plan and facilitate Coalition meetings, grassroots/media events and trainings

• create and execute a plan to recruit, engage and retain supporters and coalition members

• conduct and coordinate one-on-one meetings with community organizations and individuals

• arrange and manage paid and earned media efforts

• assist with and maintain a fundraising plan and infrastructure that includes individual donor solicitation, grants and fundraising events

• implement individualized media training for spokespeople

• oversee and manage the overall cohesiveness of the Coalition and its efforts

Knowledge, Skills, Requirements:

• Approachable, organized, self-starter, and task-oriented.

• Bachelor's degree in related field OR equivalent combination of education and experience. Minimum of 2-3 years of related experience.

• Working knowledge of how to implement an aggressive grassroots plan, including grassroots advocacy and media advocacy.

• Knowledge of, and experience with volunteer recruitment.

• Understand and be effective in the city's diverse environment- St. Louis City resident preferred.

• Media advocacy and/or electoral campaign experience are helpful.

• Prior fundraising experience/knowledge helpful.

• Ability to analyze and integrate information from relevant sources and make appropriate decisions.

• Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills and the demonstrated ability to work with diverse individuals and groups and in a team.

• Handles self in a professional manner at all times and takes responsibility for delivering on personal and organizational commitments.

• Ability to respond to changing circumstances and priorities in a positive and focused manner. • Proficient knowledge in Microsoft office and other software applications, Internet based applications and computer equipment.

• In-depth knowledge of how to use and maximize the potential of MySpace, Facebook and the Internet with the ability to create, maintain and effectively utilize the capabilities of these sites.

• Non-smoker.

Location: St. Louis, MO

Compensation: competitive

Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Smoke-Free St. Louis City Poll asks wrong question!

The new Smoke-Free St. Louis City poll asks the wrong question. The relevant question to ask St. Louisans is this:

If a St. Louis City bar or restaurant owner makes a good faith effort to clear his air of tobacco smoke with appropriate ventilation and filtration, should St. Louis City government continue to tolerate smoking within this establishment or should St. Louis City government ban smoking within this establishment?

If a strong majority of St. Louis voters answer that St. Louis City government should ban smoking within the establishment, despite the efforts of the business owner to clear his air, then I would say the St. Louis public supports a smoking ban.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Smoke-Free St. Louis City Poll

I am told that Smoke-Free St. Louis City will release a poll this morning showing that St. Louis City residents want a smoking ban. I don't buy this. The St. Louis press should be sceptical and the St. Louis public should be wary. Such polls conducted in other towns prior to smoking ban campaigns have later been debunked as rigged and bogus. I believe St. Louis is, and will remain, a free and tolerant city. If a St. Louis City bar or restaurant owner makes a good faith effort to clear his air of tobacco smoke with appropriate ventilation and filtration, I believe the vast majority of St. Louisans will gladly support his right to allow smoking within his establishment.

Air filtration machines are an especially effective means of clearing the air of St. Louis bars and restaurants. These machines remove not only 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 that allow smoking can be retrofitted without expensive ductwork or other construction costs. I believe that 15 air changes per hour of quality air filtration in every venue that allows smoking would cause the smoking ban issue to disappear in St. Louis.

Keep St. Louis Free! will continue to put forward the philosophical and scientific case against any St. Louis smoking ban and will also work hard to support St. Louis political leaders who have shown themselves to be friends of St. Louis freedom and property rights. These leaders include County Councilmen John Campisi, Kathleen Burkett, Hazel Erby and Mike O'Mara as well as St. Louis City Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

3 Monkeys solves St. Louis secondhand smoke problem with Marth Brothers air filtration!

I took my wife out for a birthday celebration tonight at 3 Monkeys restaurant just south of Tower Grove Park. The air at this bar/restaurant was crystal clear. The air in the bar and smoking section is quietly and continuously filtered by three beautiful Marth Brothers air filtration machines. Each unit cleans 1000 cubic feet of air per minute. Combined they clean enough air to match the standard set by my St. Louis Public Smoking Compromise Law for a 50'x20'x12' venue. Both management and staff at 3 Monkeys agree that their secondhand smoke problem has been solved by their Marth Brothers machines. If you want to see what air filtration can do to provide truly clean air to St. Louis bars and restaurants, check out 3 Monkeys at 3153 Morganford Rd.

Like St. Louis Post-Dispatch restaurant critic Joe Bonwich said in a recent review, "A smoking section is available, but we weren't at all conscious of any smoke when we visited."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kelvin Moxley Testifies against Smoking Ban

The United Way of Greater St. Louis makes big mistake!

The United Way of Greater St. Louis contributes heavily to the American Cancer Society. In 2008 alone, it gave the ACS $1,308,260! That was a big mistake. The American Cancer Society wastes a great deal of money each year lobbying for smoking bans using false claims to scare the public while not doing enough to find the real causes of the lung cancer spike in women who have never smoked. There are far better charities available that really do relevant epidemiological cancer research, seek cures for cancer and help victims of this dread disease.

Keep St. Louis Free! has joined, and urges all of St. Louis to join, the national boycott of the American Cancer Society.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mayor Slay gets blasted over City guns.

On his blog Wednesday, Mayor Slay wrote:

"The real guns of August in the St. Louis region are the too easily available ones that flood the streets, giving every late summer disagreement, domestic dispute, and police stop the potential to lead to violence and tragedy...While I do wish that people who own guns took more care to keep them secure and had better grasps of gun safety, my dismay is over the ease with which criminals can acquire guns. It just seems to defy common sense to argue that the most effective remedy against gun violence is more guns."

Mayor Slay got blasted for this in the comments of Jake Wagman's Political Fix post:

One poster wrote:

"Slay suggests what he calls “reasonable” regulations — such as being able to tie shell casings to the gun that fired them — to help police reign in crooks.”
Microstamping, the dems new way to regulate guns. Since everyone knows criminal with illegal guns wouldnt use illegal ammunition.
I find it rather amusing that large cities with the biggest crime problems have the strictest gun control laws and democrats as mayors, yet they cant see the connection….."

Another wrote:

“Microstamping” of cartridge cases must be done by the gun itself. That means you’d have to get the gun manufacturers onboard which would require a law that would restrict sale of guns without that technology. There is no way all guns already in the system can be retrofitted with this technology. Mayor Slay is just parroting liberal crap he heard somewhere along the line, or more likely, it was written by one of his minions. "

A third wrote:

"First thing: What is it about cities that make guns behave so badly?
Mayor Slay says that guns are “easily available.” They are if you don’t acquire them through legal means, and until the state repealed the obtuse “permit to purchase” last year, it was even harder. They’re “easily available” because guns are stolen in residential burglaries and from U.S. Armed Forces armories, then they make it to a black market."

It is hard to argue with Mayor Slay that criminals, kids, the irresponsible and the hot-tempered in St. Louis should not have easy access to guns. But from the Post blog comments, it is pretty clear that St. Louis citizens want Mayor Slay to be more specific in his suggestions for new gun laws. Rights and freedoms are too easily lost to well-intentioned laws.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Church Key owner Carrie Bellon, air filtration works.

Carrie Bellon, owner of the bar Church Key, says smoke eaters don't work.

But Carrie really needs to check out the air filtration machines being sold by Marth Brothers to St. Louis bars and restaurants such as Bar Napoli, The Country Club, The Double D Lounge, Three Monkeys, and Peppertini's.

According to Scott Marth, “We have had bar owners tell us that their customers have gotten up to go outside to have a cigarette because they think the bar is non-smoking since the air is so clear.”

But Scott warns St. Louis bar owners that want to continue to allow smoking:

“Bar owners who believe that the smoking ban is inevitable and do nothing to clean the air are actually creating aself-fulfilling prophecy that will hurt, if not destroy their business. On the contrary, clean air maximizes the customer base which helps business and at the same time makes the public/employee health arguments moot.”

Air filtration truly cleans the air! It removes not only 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. If these machines can protect welders from far more toxic industrial smoke to OSHA standards, they can protect St. Louis bar people from stray cigarette smoke. They can make the air of a bar or restaurant that allows smoking cleaner than the air outdoors.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Intiative to end eminent domain abuse may fall short.

The Missouri Secretary of State told Missouri Citizens for Property Rights that they had failed to turn in enough signatures for one of the six required congressional districts. The signatures are needed to place amendments to the Missouri constitution on the November ballot that would end eminent domain abuse for private profit in Missouri. Ron Calzone is going to challenge the ruling since he believes enough signatures were turned in. I wonder if pressure can be brought on the Secretary of State to recount the signatures.

But what a nightmare! After all that hard work by people like Darla Maloney and the Calzones, to just miss. My wife was in charge of collecting 20,000 signatures for St. Louis City for another amendment to the Missouri constitution. This sort of situation is the one she feared most.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Jennifer Guillermain, air filtration works.

Smoke-Free St. Louis City's last post features Jennifer Guillermain, a former Atlantic City casino employee come to St. Louis to push a smoking ban. Ms. Guillermain claims that breathing the air in At.antic City casinos has injured her health. She is here to tell St. Louis to ban all workplace smoking.

We have no way of knowing if stray cigarette smoke caused Ms. Guillermain's health problems. But we do know that air filtration can take all carcinogens from the air of casinos and other venues that allow smoking, including radon, which the EPA say causes 7 times more lung cancer deaths than secondhand smoke.

I have no problem with a St. Louis group paying Ms. Guillermain to come to St. Louis to push their agenda. But it sure is hard for private business owners and private citizens like me to compete with the full-time hired guns of Smoke-Free St. Louis City.

Wales Smoking Ban has no effect on heart attack rate.

While Smoke-Free St. Louis City is touting a controversial study that attributes a 13 percent reduction in the Scotland's heart attack rate to their smoking ban, a British citizen has obtained the heart attack numbers for Wales thru the Freedom of Information Act. Wales is about the same size as Scotland and got a smoking ban about the same time. The Wales smoking ban had no effect on the heart attack rate.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Siegel & Gorski on Scottis heart attack study

Dr. Michael Siegel, whose many secondhand smoke studies helped form the
basis of Surgeon General Carmona' report, is disputing the significance of
the Scottish heart attack study with Dr. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD a cancer
surgeon/researcher. Both agree that the number 17 percent is greater that
the true reduction, if there was any.

Here are some relevant statements by Siegel:
" cannot rule out the very plausible alternative hypothesis that the
observed decline in heart attacks is explained by random variation in the
data and the already existing secular trend of declining heart attacks in

"Just to make it clear, prior to the use of troponin, a number of cases of
unstable angina were likely missed. If these patients were sent home
without definitive treatment, they were likely to return again in time
with a full-blown heart attack. As the diagnosis of unstable angina
becomes more sensitive, these patients are getting appropriate treatment
and this will reduce future admissions for heart attacks. The study fails
to consider this very plausible explanation for at least a portion of the
observed decline in heart attack admissions." (from the comments for
previous Siegel blog post)

"I think it is very misleading to take the 17% drop in the acute coronary
syndrome (which clearly includes heart attacks as its major component as
the diagnostic criterion was simply a detectable level of cardiac troponin
which occurs in heart attacks as well as unstable angina) as diagnosed in
these 9 hospitals under this study protocol and to argue that this drop is
much greater than the 10% drop observed in national data. Why? Because the
national data is based on a completely different data source and
definition and is subject to far less random variation. In fact, if you
use the national data to examine the change in heart attacks associated
with the smoking ban, you find that it is nowhere near 17%, but it is
actually between 4 and 8%, depending on which year you look at. In either
case, the decline is less than that observed from 1999 to 2000 and is
clearly within the range of changes in heart attacks observed during the
baseline period.
Again, I'm not arguing that these data suggest that there was NO effect of
the smoking bans - in fact, there almost certainly was SOME effect. I just
think that there is no way one can attribute the 17% observed decline to
the smoking ban.
I have conducted studies very similar to this myself (for example,
analyzing the effects of smoking bans on trends in smoking prevalence). In
doing such studies, you need to have a consistent data source over a long
period of time (I used a period of over 10 years) to be able to draw
credible conclusions."

Dr. Gorski:
"In retrospect, I actually agree that the effect is almost certainly not
17% and that that number shouldn't have been emphasized in the paper or in
the press releases. As I said before, I would have characterized the
results as being a drop that is 13% greater than the long-term trend, and
if I were writing an accompanying editorial I'd say that that's probably
the upper bound for how large the effect was likely, in fact, to have
been. The "true" effect was likely smaller.

Even so, what if the effect of the smoking ban was only 10% Or only 5%? Or
only 2-3%, as you seemed to be implying with your use of the 2005-2007
heart attack data (17 - 4.6 - 10.2 = 2.2)? That would still be a benefit.
Of course, trrll nailed it when he pointed out that you are actually the
one comparing apples and oranges; so my guess is that the "true" effect
was significantly higher than 2.2% and probably lower than 13%."

Here is link to Siegel's discussion of a yet unpublished heart attack
study that Siegel really likes which found no effect:

Dr. Gorski also asked Dr. Siegel:
"What specific data would it take for you to believe that smoking bans can
significantly reduce admissions for coronary artery disease?"

Siegel's answer:
"Very simple - a study that uses a consistent data set over a long enough
period of time so that a clear baseline trend can be established and which
also uses a comparison population so that secular trends can be ruled out
in addition to random variation in the data. Ideally, a systematic study
of multiple locations that enacted smoking bans would be conducted."

I believe the Kuneman-McFadden heart attack study meets Siegel's criteria:

Friday, August 01, 2008

17% Fall in Hospital Admissions for Heart Attacks and Acute Coronary Problems

Smoke-Free St. Louis City just posted a Wall Street Journal article concerning a Scottish heart attack study suggesting that the Scottish smoking ban has cut heart attacks by 17 percent.

Yesterday, I wrote this letter to the author of the WSJ article Jeremy Singer-Vine:

Mr. Singer-Vine,

Why is your article on the Scottish heart attack study so one-sided? There is plenty of criticim of such studies available. You should have at least gotten a quote from Dr. Michael Siegel concerning this study.

Some of the best research shows that smoking bans do not cause the smoke exposure of nonsmokers to decrease.

Meanwhile a huge heart attack study that properly looks at the heart attack rates of whole states is being denied publication simply because it found smoking bans have no effect on heart attack rates.

I am head of Keep St. Louis Free, a group working to protect the freedomand property rights of business owners in St. Louis. St. Louis has seenthe economic damage smoking bans have done in Columbia, Missouri and we want no part of it. Your article doesn't help.


Bill Hannegan

Mr. Singer-Vine replied:

Mr. Hannegan,

Thank you for your email. I was not aware of Dr. Siegel's opinions, but I will certainly keep him in mind next time I cover the topic. The NEJM study appears to be more rigorous than any previous study, butas a life-long skeptic, I would like to see where the holes are if youwould be willing to point them out.

On the economic impact, there are studies arguing both ways, and certainly the effects are more variable when the ban only covers a smallregion. However, the Surgeon General's report and several meta-analyses suggest that the peer-reviewed studies which show an adverse economicimpact have all been funded by the tobacco industry, calling their accuracy into question. That said, we did acknowledge that there are people who disagree. Further, we gave substantial space and strong placement to Dave Pever, who noted that his bar was in financial trouble because of the ban.

Despite my disagreement with your email, I always enjoy engaging withreaders. Please feel free to get back in touch.


I replied:


Please check out Dr. Siegel's critique of this new study. I think he has quickly found some important holes your readers should know about. If possible, I would love to know what you think of Dr. Siegel's post.

Bill Hannegan