I was surprised to see Dr. Michael Siegel from the Boston Univerity School of Public Health say Daschle should be eliminated from consideration for HHS Secretary:
"The appointment of the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Department is critical to tobacco control issues because the Department heads many federal agencies that deal with tobacco - including the Office of the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NIH - and because if the proposed FDA tobacco legislation is enacted, the head of the DHHS will play a key role in implementing this legislation.
If the facts of this article are true, then I think that Daschle should be eliminated from consideration immediately. These allegations, taken as true, mean that Daschle knowingly misled the Internal Revenue Service for at least seven months and "intentionally" failed to pay taxes he owed for this seven month period."
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Dr. Michael Siegel: "Failure to Pay Taxes Should Eliminate Daschle from Consideration for HHS Secretary"
I was surprised to see Dr. Michael Siegel from the Boston Univerity School of Public Health say Daschle should be eliminated from consideration for HHS Secretary:
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:30 PM
A nice letter in the Jan. 14 Suburban Journal:
TO THE EDITOR:
The article "Smoking ban rules hazy" says it all. A year after the Smoke Free law went into effect, most bars in Granite City are still "hazy," filled with second-hand smoke from cigarette smoke. As are some in Pontoon beach and at least one in Glen Carbon.
These bars, called "smoke-easies" by some people, are common in our area. Patrons use small "Altoid" tins or empty beer bottles for their ashes. Have I reported them to the proper authorities? No. And I won't.
I was a proponent of the Smoke Free Act. My father died of smoking and I have scarred lungs from asbestos exposure and second-hand smoke really bothers me. But this ban should have never included bars. Just restaurants and other public places that you take your family. Bars are adult places. Smoking should be allowed.
Hopefully our legislators will change this law to exclude bars and perhaps casinos too. If not, the "smoke-easies" will continue to be a fact of life and the casinos may go bankrupt. As far as I am concerned, I will continue to enjoy my favorite whiskey or rye at one of my favorite bars once a week, second-hand smoke or not.
MICHAEL RAY DILLER
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 1:49 PM
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Fast Eddie's Bon Air spent $750,000 to accomodate smokers outside due to the smoking ban.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:06 PM
Guzy again in the Beacon:
"Locally, we are currently under siege from yet another campaign to further limit personal prerogative. An outfit operating under the moniker of smokefreestl is running radio ads imploring citizens to demand a total ban on indoor smoking modeled after the one Illinois adopted a year ago. According to the secretary of state's website, smokefreestl is not an incorporated non-profit so I can't tell you who's really funding the effort."
ONLY 24.5 PERCENT OF ST LOUIS CITY RESIDENTS FAVOR A SMOKING BAN
LIKE THE ONE IN ILLINOIS!
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 5:26 PM
I talked to the Missouri Restaurant Association yesterday. They said Fast Eddie's spent $500,000 building an outdoor smoking area. It costs an average St. Louis bar a mere $10 or $15 a day to install, service and run the best air filtration systems that take every bad thing out of bar air.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 1:42 PM
It it a coincidence that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America name St. Louis the worst city for asthma right as Smoke-Free St. Louis City pressures city official to pass a smoking ban? I think this fellow in the Post-Dispatch blogs got the situation right:
"That is a crap story. St. Louis' air is far more breathable than Los Angeles, believe me, I've been to LA and nearly died from the pollution. This story was planted by those who wish to ban smoking everywhere. To fit their own agendas. Don't fall for it people, this is propaganda. Stop being sheep and do the research yourselves. Do you know what a lemming is? Look it up and then don't become one.
This is a sad commentary for the people who call themselves St. Louisians. But it's typical also. In all my years as a proud citizen of St. Louis I have always found that if you come from "somewhere else" you were revered as someone special. If an "outsider" says that your air is dirty because of their own agenda, excluding the truth, you jump on that opinion as gospel. You cannont escape allergens, they are everywhere. I just find the timing of this story to be suspect."
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 11:16 AM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
From today's Post-Dispatch:
"The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America today named the St. Louis region the nation's worst, based on factors including an above-average death rate from asthma, a lack of smoke-free laws and high pollen counts."
But the best research has shown that a smoking ban does not reduce the overall exposure of non-smokers to secondhand smoke and actually increases the exposure of young children to smoke as smokers are displaced to their cars and homes.
The researchers summarize their findings:
“This paper evaluates the effect of excise taxes and bans on smoking in public places on the exposure to tobacco smoke of non-smokers. We use a novel way of quantifying passive smoking: we use data on cotinine concentration- a metabolite of nicotine- measured in a large population of non-smokers over time. Exploiting state and time variation across US states, we reach two important conclusions. First, excise taxes have a significant effect on passive smoking. Second, smoking bans have on average no effects on non smokers. 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.”http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications.php?publication_id=3523
Furthermore, bars and restaurants that install air filtration remove all the causes of asthma attacks, not just stray tobacco smoke.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 11:06 PM
Monday, January 26, 2009
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 2:10 PM
Dear County Executive Ehlmann,
Today I read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that several St. Louis County mayors have called for a St. Louis smoking ban.
But do St. Louis citizens favor 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. http://www.scribd.com/doc/8831046/Data-7
Over the past years since former county councilman Kurt Odenwald's last 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. 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 me sometime at a venue such as 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.
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 business. 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!http://research.stlouisfed.org/econ/pakko/mpbans.html
Keep St. Louis Free
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 1:50 PM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Several St. Louis County mayors are calling for a smoking ban:
Do St. Louisans 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 four years since Odenwald's attempted ban, bars and restaurants across St. Louis that want to continue to allow smoking, though already compliant with OSHA air quality standards, have voluntarily installed air filtration technology that can make their air cleaner than the air outdoors. These St. Louis venues don't need a smoking ban. This talk of a smoking ban discourages their good efforts.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:30 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I doubt that Alderman Donna Baringer's law has done much to stop St. Louis street artists .
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:12 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I loved Guzy's column back when he wrote for the Post. I just found him again in The Beacon. He has some stinging words for the Pueblo smoking ban study the Post lauded as justification for a strict St. Louis smoking ban:
"Remarkably, the researchers in the Pueblo study neglected to discriminate between smokers and non-smokers among their heart attack victims. By failing to isolate the independent variable (secondhand smoke inhalation), they render measurements of the dependent variable (heart attack rates) meaningless because they can never demonstrate that the former caused the latter to occur. This is the kind of fundamental methodological flaw that will get you thrown out of the 6th grade science fair.
Indeed, Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health reports that smokers comprised about 26 percent of the population in Pueblo County in 2002 and less than 21 percent in 2005. That's 5,000 fewer smokers per 100,000 people. As it's widely understood that smoking is horrible for the health of the smoker, couldn't the decline in active smoking just as easily explain the decline in disease?"
Guzy finishes his column:
"As of this writing, the only thing we can say for sure about secondhand smoke is that it stinks. And so do the research methodologies of its critics."
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 2:13 PM
Chad Garrison of the RFT warns me. But I am not worried!
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 11:50 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
'Jamie Baker, a community policy specialist with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and also a member of the Citizens for Smoke Free Nodaway County, voiced the same concerns as Teri, listing the effects of smoking on non-smokers. "Just an hour of sitting and breathing in somebody's side stream smoke does as much heart damage to the non-smoker as it does to the person that's smoking," Baker said.'
I have to show this fib to Dr. Siegel. It would make the subject of good blog post!
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:15 PM
What a perfect RFT article Keegan Hamilton has written! Man, this guy is one talented journalist. I know he works hard at his craft, but it is still amazing how right on his portrayal of the St. Louis smoking ban situation is. Plus he able to give me trouble in a just and funny way without being mean. I can see other St. Louisans wanting to be written about by Keegan.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 7:23 PM
If Jonathan Sternberg and his clients are successful, the case
would knock out the Columbia and Ballwin smoking ban as unconstitional and
make most St. Louis venues immune to a ban. One St. Charles alderman cited
the ongoing suit a reason not to deal with a smoking ban right now.
Press Release - KC Smoking Ban Appeal - BH Copy - 01-21-2009
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 9:46 AM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Got this letter published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today!
The editorial "Smoking gun" (Jan. 12) called upon Missouri to adopt a strict smoking ban "modeled on the one in Illinois." The paper and urged St. Louis "to lead the way."
Do St. Louisans 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 is only slightly stronger at 30 percent, and 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.
Bill Hannegan St. Louis County
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 2:11 AM
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
David makes his points very well in a fairly long letter. No one can accuse Jamie Riley and the Post of failing to print both sides of the smoking ban issue in the letters section. But I do think at this point the Post editors should allow smoking ban opponents a full op-ed to make our case.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 1:26 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
From cancer epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat's new book, "Hyping Health Risks ":
"Starting with the 1986 reports and especially with the 1992 EPA report, suggestive evidence of a possible slight increase in the risk of lung cancer was used to give teeth to legislation restricting smoking in public places. The fact that secondhand smoke is an irritant and an annoyance, that it is accociated with increased respiratory infections in infants, and that it exacerbates pre-existing asthma and other health conditions simply does not provide the same legal or regulatory clout as the claim that it causes fatal disease. This explains why it has been hard for scientific findings regarding secondhand smoke to be interpreted in a disinterested manner. To acknowledge that the data are weak -- as they would have to be, given the low concentration of ETS and the limitations of observational studies on this question -- has been anathema because this would deprive the antismoking movement of its most powerful weapon against the tobacco industry. The tactic of presenting massive amounts of data devoid of any critical framework for making sense of those data was meant to obscure this sleight of hand. In large part, scientists and regulators have relied on categorical pronouncements and on the inherent obscurity of the material to create an unassailable dogma. Who could possibly question the wisdom of such authorities as the U.S. Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization?"
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 12:19 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial lauds dubious heart attack study!
But former Monsanto chemist David Kuneman has conducted the largest study so far investigating the relationship between smoking bans and heart attacks rates. Rather than focus on any small municipality, Kuneman looked at the relationship between heart attack rates and smoking bans across whole states. Kuneman's study found that smoking bans did not reduce heart attack rates where enacted. Please check this out.
CDC scientist Dr. Michael Siegel has debunked the heart attack study the Post lauds. St. Louis lawmakers should take a close look at Siegel's objections:
Recent research has shown that a smoking ban would not reduce the overall exposure of non-smokers to secondhand smoke and actually increase the exposure of young children to smoke as smokers are displaced to their cars and homes.
Surprising research by two University of Wisconsin economists, published this month in the Journal of Public Economics, finds that communities thatimpose a ban on smoking in bars experience, on average, a 13 percent increase in drunk-driving fatalities. The researchers suggest that the increased death toll is because smokers will drive farther to find venues in which they can both smoke and drink, as well as bar patrons drinking more and being more affected by alcohol when they cannot smoke. Furthermore, the study found that the rate of drunk-driving deaths increased the longer the ban remained in place.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 2:10 AM
Friday, January 09, 2009
This public smoking law contains an air filtration requirement that St. Louis could also require of venues that allow smoking. In this example ordinance, any venue that allows smoking must install an air purification system. An air purification system is defined this way:
An air purification system shall be defined as an electrically powered motor and blower in a self contained box used to draw contaminated and redistribute cleaned air through a series of filters comprising of at least
1. A hospital grade Hepa or Hepa “like” media filter with a certified efficiency rating of at least 95% that is rated to capture particulate material to a minimum size of .03 micron that includes but is not limited to dust, dirt, Environment tobacco smoke, pollen, mold spores, viruses, bacteria and allergens
2. An adsorbent filter such as Carbon of other sorbent and Chemi-sorbent materials with an absorption rate of at least 85% efficiency to capture Volatile Organic Compounds such as but not limited to aldyhydes, ammonias, gaseous components of environmental tobacco smoke, solvents and odors. The filter should contain at least one pound of adsorbent media to each 100 cfm (cubic feet of air per minute) of air cleaner production.
The system or combination of systems shall be capable of creating at least six complete air changes per hour in the occupied space or one air change per hour (ACH) every ten minutes with a first pass efficiency of at least 95%
The system shall also utilize a multiple direction airflow pattern (Coanda); this will ensure maximum distribution and collection of indoor air
Additional technologies may be used beyond, but not in place of the above stated technologies including but not limited to polarized filters, ionization supplement filters and photo catalytic oxidation systems
Maintenance of Systems
The purification systems and filters must be maintained to the individual manufacturers specifications in order to insure maximum efficiency of said systems.
3. Example Ordinance
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 5:43 PM
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Updated list of venues featuring Marth Brother's air filtration:
Peppertini's Piano Bar and Grill
79 Forum Shopping Center
7754 Forsyth Blvd
Double D Lounge
2219 S Brentwood Blvd
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
Pat's Bar & Grill
next to Turtle Park
333 Westport Plz
3153 Morganford Rd
Tin Can - Morganford
3157 Morganford Rd
14196 Manchester Rd
15850 Manchester Rd
15 N Meramec Ave
Herbie's Vintage 72
Central West End
How Marth Brothers air filtration cleans bar and restaurant air:
MBC Single White Page Technology KSLF
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 10:39 AM
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Mayor Slay, in his statement concerning a St. Louis City public smoking law, mentioned the possibility of requiring St. Louis City venues that allow smoking to install "install expensive air-handling technologies". Mayor Slay is from a famous St. Louis restaurant family. It is pretty clear he knows about the technology the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed could make the air in the nonsmoking section of a restaurant that allows smoking as clean as that of a smoke-free building.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 1:03 AM
Sunday, January 04, 2009
"A reader of this blog wrote in to ask that I repeat my position on smoke-free restaurants in the City. That’s fair enough. I do not smoke. I prefer dining in smoke-free restaurants. I wish every restaurant in the City were smoke-free by its own choice. With that said, I would support a national, statewide or City/county policy that restricted smoke in restaurants. I would not support a local ordinance that put restaurants in the 62 square mile area of the City at a financial disadvantage to their unrestricted competitors in St. Louis county by requiring that only City restaurants install expensive air-handling technologies or banning smoking."
Mayor Slay's position is similar to the promise made by Lewis Reed to Keep St. Louis Free when Reed was running to replace Jim Shrewsbury for President of the Board of Aldermen, except Reed said "a ban would have to be in place everywhere else", not just St. Louis County.
President Reed also told me that St. Louis City will not automatically pass a smoking ban just because the County does.
I will invite Mayor Slay to Herbie's Vintage 72 tomorrow. I want him to see that St. Louis restaurants are clearing their air with filtration technology that is far from expensive.
Posted by Bill Hannegan at 9:03 PM