Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Swine Flu Pandemic and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Why would the Board of Alderman take up legislation that would turn off the HEPA filters in bars and restaurants across St. Louis just as swine flu pandemic threatens. The CDC says HEPA filters strip viruses from indoor air:

“Does a HEPA filter remove smallpox virus? Can a makeshift isolation room be created by bringing a portable HEPA filter into a regular private room?

Yes, HEPA filters do remove smallpox virus. HEPA filters are 99.97% efficient at removing particles that are greater than or equal to 0.3 microns in size, but their use will not create an airborne infection isolation room, (the precautions recommended for smallpox patients). The HEPA filter will not change the pressure relationship to the corridor unless the portable filter is set up as a negative pressure device. Self-closing doors will help to maintain the conditions and windows should be closed and sealed. If the HEPA filter is being used only to purify the room air, its effectiveness will vary depending on the size of the room and output of the device. A portable HEPA filter that produces 8 or more air changes per hour results in a 90% reduction of particles in 17 minutes in a room with the doors and windows closed. However, to be consistent with current guidelines for airborne infection isolation rooms, the goal should be 12 or more air changes per hour which would produce a 90% reduction in particles in 11 minutes.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Letter to Mayor Slay

"WHEREAS, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen does hereby find that the protection of the public health in the City of St. Louis will be greatly enhanced by promoting a smoke-free City through the elimination of the presence of secondhand smoke in public places and in the workplace..."

Mayor Slay,

The premise of Alderman Krewson's smoking ban is that such a restriction would greatly improve public health in St. Louis City. But is that premise true?

Please find attached a just released study by researchers from the Rand Corporation, the Congressional Budget Office, the University of Wisconsin, and Stanford University, "CHANGES IN U.S. HOSPITALIZATION AND MORTALITY RATES FOLLOWING SMOKING BANS", which finds that smoking bans had no effect on hospitalizaton or mortality rates in communities that impose them. The researchers report:

"U.S. state and local governments are increasingly restricting smoking in public places. This paper analyzes nationally representative databases, including the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, to compare short-term changes in mortality and hospitalization rates in smoking-restricted regions with control regions. In contrast with smaller regional studies, we find that workplace bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases. An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature."

In sharp contrast to this finding, please also find attached a large study of American smoking bans by British researchers which found that bans do not reduce the overall exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke and actually increase the overall secondhand smoke exposure of young children, especially low-income children, as smokers are displaced to private cars and homes. The researchers state:

"While bans in public transportation or in schools decrease the exposure of non smokers, bans in recreational public places can in fact perversely increase their exposure by displacing smokers to private places where they contaminate non smokers, and in particular young children. Bans affect socioeconomic groups differently: we find that smoking bans increase the exposure of poorer individuals, while it decreases the exposure of richer individuals, leading to widening health disparities."

Mayor Slay, Herbie's Vintage 72 has the same Merv 17 99.97 HEPA and HEGA air purification recommended by OSHA and the CDC to protect public indoor places and indoor workplaces from biological warfare and to strip influenza from hospital air in case of a influenza pandemic. Surely it can offer substantial and sufficient protection to the employees at Herbies far beyond OSHA's air qualtity requirements. And the level of air filtration at Herbie's leases for 15 dollar a day.

Casinos, with similar technology, have managed to get their air cleaner than the air outdoors. This paper shows that casinos thru ventilation and filtration can now make their indoor air cleaner than the air outdoors. 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 of the 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".

As long as reasonable measures are taken to clear and clean the air of St. Louis City bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues, public health in St. Louis City is clearly most enhanced when public policy allows for well-filtrated adult gathering places, where smoking may be permitted, within walking distance of most St. Louis City homes.

Mayor Slay, I am not paid by any tobacco compay, restaurant association, filtration company or anyone else work against a St. Louis City smoking ban, and I have no financial interest, now or in the future, in any air filtration company. I am thinking of opening a bar in St. Louis City to replace 20North and Magee's. I would not do so if a smoking ban were in place that included bars, and I would not do so unless a company such as Marth Brothers & Co. were available to install and maintain an air filtration system.

Bill Hannegan

Air Purification at Herbie's

Herbie's has the same Merv 17 HEPA and HEGA air purification recommended by homeland security experts, including the U.S. military and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to protect the public from biological warfare:

HEPA filtration (high-efficiency particulate arrestor or arrestance air filter). HEPA is used for control of solid particulate matter, such as respirable spores, bacteria, or radioactive particles. These filters are widely used in cleanrooms, hospital operating rooms, and pharmaceutical and electronic manufacturing.

HEPA’s removal efficiency is 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. At the time of their development in World War II, this was considered to be the most penetrating particle size. However, it is now known that this size constraint is closer to 0.2 microns, meaning that filter efficiency increases on either side of the size band. This efficiency level is comparable to a MERV 17 designation (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value as determined by ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 52.2-1999, Method of Testing General Ventilation Air-Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size). Versions of the filter are available with even higher efficiencies, up to 99.999%—a MERV 20 designation.

HEGA air cleaning (high-efficiency gaseous adsorber). HEGA is for chemical molecular control, such as toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) or war gases. The HEGA uses a specially treated carbon called ASZM-TEDA that is designed to control designated war gases (the acronym indicates the reagents used to treat the carbon). Chemical filters using other containment configurations and other sorbents, such as untreated carbon, permanganate treated alumina, or blends of sorbents are used for odor control, pollution control, and industrial applications. Both technologies were derived from work in WWII for the containment of radioactive iodine around nuclear reactors."

The CDC relies on the same air filtration found at Herbies to strip the air of influenza:

"The appropriate use of engineering controls and other control efforts will require frequent analysis of pandemic influenza transmission patterns in designated wards, in the facility, and in the community.

If possible, and when practical, use of an airborne infection isolation room may be considered when conducting aerosol-generating procedures. Airborne infection isolation rooms receive numerous air changes per hour and are under negative pressure, so that the direction of the air flow is from the outside adjacent space (e.g., the corridor) into the room. The air in an airborne infection isolation room is preferably exhausted to the outside, but may be recirculated provided that the return air is filtered through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nevada may ease smoking ban

"LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Senate voted 16 to 5 on Friday to advance a measure that would soften a statewide smoking ban, putting the state on track to become the first in the nation to ease restrictions it had imposed on cigarette use in public spaces.

The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, which took effect in 2007, bans smoking in any indoor space where minors may be present and where food is served. The new bill, which now moves to the Assembly for consideration, would allow taverns that offer food to permit smoking if they bar people under 21 from entry.

Many taverns in Nevada have video poker slot machines that provide a significant source of revenue, but the Nevada Tavern Owners Association said gambling revenue had fallen considerably since they had to stop patrons from smoking. Smokers have decided to gamble at the local casinos instead because the law excluded casino floors from the ban, said Geno Hill, the association president. “Our members’ gaming revenues are off 20 to 30 percent since the ban, and that’s before the recession,” said Mr. Hill, owner of the Rum Runner taverns in Las Vegas.

Gambling revenues over all have plummeted in Nevada over the past year, down 18.1 percent in February versus February 2008, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Labor Unions Contacted about Smoking Ban

The St. Louis Smokefree Air Act due to be proposed by 28th ward Alderman Lyda Krewson on May 1st bans all smoking within 15 feet of any building or worksite. It also bans smoking in all work vehicles. Employers and contractors can be fined as much as $500 for each violation!

OSHA has already ruled that such strict smoking bans are not necessary to protect worker health. Please contact Mayor Slay, Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed and the St. Louis Board of Alderman. Tell them to vote no on this unnecessary and excessive ordinance.

Mayor Slay: (314) 534-2009
President Lewis Reed: (314) 622-4114
St. Louis Board of Alderman: (314) 622-3287

Alderman Krewson and I on the Channel 2

Apology to Lyda Krewson

An early St. Louis City Smoking Ban Flyer contained a line that might have implied Lyda Krewson doesn't care about St. Louis businesses. But I am sure Lyda does care! She has worked hard for her 28th Ward and St. Louis City. I am sure she just believes her law would make St. Louis businesses safer and that any downturn due to the smoking ban for individual businesses would be mild and brief, and that overall businesses across St. Louis, and in her 28th Ward, would fare better than before under a ban.

I ask that everyone in our network not distribute flyers which contain that possibly hurtful line.

St. Louis City Smoking Ban Flyer

St Louis City Smoking Ban Flyer (2)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

County Executive Dooley and Lyda Krewson's Smoking Ban

Alderman Krewson should not turn over St. Louis City public health policy to County Executive Dooley. Why should Charlie Dooley decide whether St. Louis City gets a smoking ban?

If this law passes, City businesses will immediately begin contributing to and lobbying Charlie Dooley and the County Council against a ban. City business owners will eventually be crowding into County Council smoking ban hearings, talking to the press and television crews, pleading their case to Dooley along with County businesses.

I can hear the City business owners line up in front of the County Council at a smoking ban hearing, taking their turn at the microphone, saying, “I live in the City and I own Joe’s Bar & Grill in the City, and I am asking County Executive Dooley not to put me out of business with a smoking ban!"

Can you imagine the owners of Duff’s, or Riggazi’s or Herbie’s scheduling meetings with Mike O’Mara or Barbara Fraser, asking them to postpone a ban?

Smoking BB Revised 4-14-09 Smoking BB Revised 4-14-09 Bill Hannegan

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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 room when smoking is allowed in that room.

12 air changes per hour of air filtration and air cleaning, or some equivalent air purification process, shall be ongoing in any room where
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 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.

Metro-east casinos say they have been dealt a bad hand

"The smoking ban has had a tremendous impact on all casinos in the state of Illinois, especially the ones that border the state," Swoik said. "The economy has had some impact, and the third thing is when Missouri did away with loss limits, along with the smoking ban, it also hurt more in both East St. Louis and Alton."

Kuneman on RFT Blog

"States with bans do less bar and restaurant sales than states without bans. I've gathered all the data from the US Dept of "trapping" smokers in large geographical areas with bans does nothing to shelter the financial downside to bans.

Funny, until Smoke-Free St. Louis City emerged from nowhere with financing whose source they will not disclose, there was no talk of any smoking bans anywhere- including the outdoor one at Wash U.

I wonder how much illicit funding, under the table from these fake grass roots organizations, is going into the pockets of these politicians who "suddenly" are interested in smoking bans."

Lyda is my alderman. Back in 2005, I talked to her about a St. Louis City smoking ban and she told me she hadn't thought about it. She said that smoke was always something she expected at a bar. What has changed?

Lyda Krewson's Smoking Ban

Keep St. Louis Free called all the bars and restaurants in Lyda Krewson's 28th Ward that allow smoking. They had not been consulted about her smoking ban plans and many were not pleased. Why has Lyda turned against the bars and restaurants in her ward? Will her proposed smoking ban include the casinos?

A St. Louis Federal Reserve economist says even a statewide smoking ban could cut bar employment up to 16 percent!

ESL to eliminate 16.5 jobs

City officials said declining revenue from the Casino Queen will cause the city to lose about $300,000. Parks said the city was expecting to get $10.6 million dollars from Casino Queen for the year.

"We're down 15 percent of what we would've been getting in the first quarter. They're struggling financially with the state of the economy and the no smoking ban, and the competition it's getting from across the river (Missouri)."

Emotions ran high, with audience members crying, shouting out their anger and pleading with city officials to make cuts other places instead of the fire or police departments.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Siegel on Washington University hypocrisy

"If the real interest of Washington University was to create a healthier and safer environment for its students, then the first thing the university should do is not to ban tobacco use on the campus, but to eliminate alcohol use. While smoking on the campus causes few acute health problems, drinking on the campus causes a great deal of illness and injury and is a substantial threat to the health and safety of students.

A comprehensive review of the subject published in 2005 found that alcohol use among college students is the cause of more than 500,000 unintentional injuries and more than 600,000 assaults among college students each year (see: Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter M, Wechsler H. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health 2005; 26:259-279).

In addition, approximately 2.8 million college students drive under the influence of alcohol and there are approximately 1700 annual alcohol-related deaths among college students.

I'm not arguing here that alcohol use should be banned on college campuses, but I am pointing out the inconsistency and hypocrisy of banning tobacco use in order to achieve a healthy campus but not eliminating alcohol use as well. Arguably, alcohol is a more important or at least more immediate threat to the safety, health, security, and well-being of college students."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Study of National Heart Attack Admissions and Mortality Finds No Evidence of a Short-Term Effect of Smoking Bans

Researchers from the RAND Corporation, the Congressional Budget Office, the University of Wisconsin, and Stanford University have just published a study showing that smoking bans do not reduce heart attack rates in towns that impose them.

"The most important finding of this study is that there are just as many smoking ban communities in which heart attack admissions and mortality have increased in comparison with control communities as there are smoking ban communities in which heart attacks have decreased relative to control communities. The mean difference was found to be zero."

A similar study by David Kuneman and Michael McFadden reached the same conclusion five years ago.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Smoke This: Wave Bye-Bye to Kansas City Smoking Ban

In a nutshell, Missouri’s indoor smoking law requires that bars, taverns, tobacco shops, bowling alleys, pool halls and restaurants with a capacity of under 50 people are exempt from smoking bans.

Unfortunately the authors of Kansas City’s ban were not clever or fortunate enough to have researched this prior to authoring the current ban.

“Since Kansas City, every city in Missouri that has considered a smoking ban has included these exemptions in them,” Sternberg states.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

2/3 of Clayton households don't care about smoking ban!

According to the Post-Dispatch article:

"The survey conducted by the city, with the ETC Institute of Olathe, Kan., found that 77 percent of about 500 households that responded supported a smoking ban. The firm sent one survey to 1,500 randomly selected households with a request to complete and return the form.

The residents were asked if they supported a ban in Clayton restaurants and all public places, regardless of whether the county or state imposed a ban.

The Clayton Chamber of Commerce, which includes more than 400 businesses, from retail outlets to law firms, said it also found strong support for a smoking ban among the 131 members who responded to its survey."

So 2/3 of Clayton households and 2/3 of Clayton Chamber of Commerce members don't care enough about the Clayton smoking ban to fill out a survey. But those that bothered to send in the survey tended to hate smoke. No big surprise.

Battle over smoking looms in Clayton

Clayton Smoking Ban Economic Study

I feel very sorry for the Clayton restaurant owners about to get creamed by a smoking ban. But Clayton will provide a perfect city with which to study the economic effects of an isolated smoking ban. I will be glad to spend the $10,000 or so for a very professional assessment of the economic damage that can be expected.

Your help is needed in Jefferson City tomorrow

Your help is needed in Jefferson City tomorrow (Monday)!

Missouri Constitution: Article III, Section 49: The people reserve power to proposeand enact or reject laws and amendments to the constitution by the initiative, independent of the general assembly, and also reserve power to approve or reject byreferendum any act of the general assembly, except as hereinafter provided.

The initiative petition process is the people's "check" on an oppressive or unresponsive government. It must be preserved!

Senator Jim Lembke's SB 569 will have a public hearing at 2:00 p.m. in the Senate Lounge on April 6th (Monday). This bill fixes several inequities in the petition process.

Currently there are several ways in which the will of the voter goes unheededbecause of actions of monied interests or government officials, like the Secretaryof State. If the Secretary of State writes a good Ballot Title, the monied interests challenge the ballot title and tie it up in court so long that there is no timeallowed to collect signatures. If the SOS writes a bad ballot title, the proponentsof the petition may be forced to challenge it and also end up tied up in court with similar results. This problem is exasperated when other parties intervene andconflate the legal process.

SB 569 fixes this problem by limiting the amount of time a court challenge can take.

The bill also protects the will of the voter by making it illegal to cause a voterto sign a petition they don't like by "bait and switching" a petition sheet. Votersare also protected by making it illegal to obstruct a voter from signing a petitionthey do like.

Another element of the bill prevents the voter's signature from being ignored justbecause someone else make a clerical error. For an executive summary of the bill, please go to

In the mean time, plan to attend the hearing. Whether you testify or not, your presence will be helpful! If you can't attend, please call the senators on the Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections and ask them to support Sb569. Please do it tomorrow (Monday). Justice for All!-

Ron Calzone

Nevada smoking ban could be gutted

"Nevada lawmakers are considering a bill that would gut large portions of the voter-approved indoor smoking ban, reviving a long simmering fight between health advocates and business owners.

In a hearing Friday, cardiologists squared off with slot route operators and cancer victims sparred with tavern owners over the proposed legislation that would allow businesses to wall off indoor smoking areas and adults-only smoking bars to serve food.

Senate Bill 372, sponsored by the Judiciary Committee at the request of Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, would also prevent local health districts from enforcing the smoking ban and counties from passing any more stringent anti-smoking laws.

The measure essentially guts the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act passed by voters in 2006, health advocates argued."

Today's Question: Is it time to revisit the smoking ban in Columbia?

"It has been more than two years since a citywide smoking ban — which prohibits smoking inside any bar or restaurant — went into effect in Columbia. Two years later, many bar and restaurant owners say they are feeling the effects of the smoking ban and they’re not all positive, according to a recent report in Vox magazine.

Steve Reynolds, owner of Cody’s, told Vox his business has dropped 40 percent since the ban went into effect. He says to compensate for the losses, he has been forced to build a $5,000 deck to accommodate customers who would like to smoke."

Friday, April 03, 2009

January 27 Letter to Mayor Goldstein and Clayton Board of Aldermen

Dear Mayor Goldstein,

I am the head of Keep St. Louis Free, the citizens group that has fought a St. Louis smoking ban over the past four years. I read in the Post-Dispatch today that Clayton's Mayor Goldstein has joined several other County mayors in a call for a St. Louis smoking ban.

But do St. Louisans really want a smoking ban? A 2007 survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found that only 24.5 percent of St. Louis City residents favor banning smoking in bars and cocktail lounges. Support for such a ban in St. Louis County and St. Charles County is only slightly stronger at 30 and 31.2 percent. A ban on smoking in bars is favored by only 27.5 percent of Missourians overall. These local numbers line up with the latest Gallup Poll, which found that only 29 percent of Americans support a smoking ban in bars. This is pretty slim popular support for such a Draconian restriction of freedom and property rights.

Over the past 4 years since former county councilman Kurt Odenwald's first attempted smoking ban, St Louis bars and restaurants that want to continue to allow smoking, though already compliant with OSHA air quality standards that protect worker health, have voluntarily installed air filtration technology that can make their air cleaner than the air outdoors. Such air purification 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. These St. Louis venues that have invested in air filtration don't need a smoking ban. And this talk of a smoking ban discourages other venues from following their good example. Please allow St. Louis establishments more time to voluntarily ban smoking or install air filtration technology to clear their air.

I hope that you can join us sometime at a venue such as Bar Napoli, John P. Fields or Herbie's Vintage 72, formerly Cafe Balaban, that has cleared its air with filtration technology that can make both smokers and nonsmokers happy within the same venue. I would love for you to see first-hand what this technology can do to clear bar and restaurant air.

Let me assure you, I am not compensated by, and have no financial interest in, any tobacco or air filtration company. I just see air filtration as a great solution to the smoking ban issue in St. Louis. This solution is important for the continued success of local businesses. Federal Reserve economist Dr. Michael Pakko looked at the effect of the Columbia smoking ban on the bar and restaurant trade. Dr. Pakko determined that bars were down 11 percent due to the ban. Restaurants that serve alcohol were down 6.5 percent. The overall restaurant trade was down 3.5 percent. St. Louis doesn't need that kind of economic trouble right now! Air filtration can make that trouble completely unnecessary!

Bill Hannegan
Keep St. Louis Free

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

West End Word News Briefs - April 1, 2009

"Goldstein said the Clayton hearings will be for Clayton residents and business owners only, and will not include experts on either side, debating either the dangers of secondhand smoke or the benefits of air-filtration systems. She indicated that opinions from experts have already been heard, and the hearings are for people in Clayton to express their views.

The city is currently processing data from a survey regarding smoking in public places that had been commissioned. The adminstration held a private meeting March 31 with restaurateurs to discuss the potential ban. A new group called the Restaurateurs Alliance of Clayton business owners, headed by Frank Schmitz of tapas restaurant BARcelona, has formed in opposition to the potential ban."

Clayton Restaurateurs Alliance on Fox 2 News

Only 20 out of 80 Clayton restaurants allow smoking? Why the big push now?

Belleville News Democrat

Clayton Restaurateurs Alliance on KMOX website

"My dining customers are very happy that they are in an area that doesn't get affected by smoke," Schmitz said. "And my smoking customers are very happy that they are allowed to be at the bar consuming and being able to smoke."

Schmitz says he has a special air filtration system in his restaurant that eliminates the smoke.