Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letter to Rep Schupp and Bivins

Dear Representatives Schupp and Bivins,

Someone gave you a bad piece of information for your guest column in the St. Joe News. The claim that working eight hours in a bar that allows smoking equals smoking 16 cigarettes yourself has no research to back it up. The claim implies a level of risk many, many times greater than the risk asserted in Surgeon General Carmona's 2006 report.The American Cancer Society has pushed this 16 cigarette claim for years until recently challenged to provide supporting research. Honestly, if the claim were true I would support smoking bans myself, unless a bar was willing to put a skull and crossbones over its front door.

Here are links to commentary concerning the American Cancer Society's 16 Cigarette Claim:


Bill Hannegan

Monday, March 15, 2010

Letter to Lake St. Louis Aldermen

Dear Lake St. Louis aldermen:
The manager of Van's Tavern reports that the Kirkwood smoking ban has cut the revenues of her establishment 35 - 40 percent and cut her weekly tips from $800 - $1000 down to a mere $300 per week. The Ice and Fuel Co. reports a 15 percent revenue loss due to the Kirkwood smoking ban and Graham's Grill and Bayou Bar reports a 12 percent loss. These are catastrophic losses for a small business to endure, especially in these still shaky economic times.

Why put Lake St. Louis businesses through this too? Why not allow Lake St. Louis bars and restaurants to avoid these losses by allowing them to clear their air with available filtration and ventilation technology? When the County Council was considering a smoking ban in 2005, Councilman Skip Mange asked me to find for him a local ventilation expert to answer his technical questions. Every ventilation company I interviewed affirmed that properly installed filtration/ventilation technology could effectively remove secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants. The problem they said was that the technology currently employed by local establishments was either inadequate or improperly installed. If this is so, then why are St. Louis political leaders resorting to Draconian smoking bans when a much more business friendly alternative exists?
Bill Hannegan

Friday, March 12, 2010

Van's Lounge Down 35 - 40% Due to Kirkwood Smoking Ban!

An article appeared in the Post-Dispatch on wednesday which might give the impression that the Kirkwood smoking ban has had little impact so far on Kirkwood businesses. I was very skeptical about this and so I called Kirkwood taverns today to ask them directly about the effects of the smoking ban.

Kirkwood Ice and Fuel Co. reports that their overall business is down 15 percent due to the smoking ban. They also cautioned that one Kirkwood bar mentioned in the Post article is avoiding losses by simply ignoring the ban.

Mike Duffy's Pub & Grill reports that their late night bar business is down due to the smoking ban. Mike Duffy himself said Lake St. Louis aldermen are welcome to call him on his cell phone for further information on the effect of the smoking ban on Kirkwood businesses:

The Eleven Mile House Restaurant and Bar reports a "tiny" drop in their bar business and a generally positive impact on business.

Graham's Grill and Bayou Bar told me that they were considering discontinuing their late night live music starting next week due to the smoking ban. They said they would "hold on" and stay open as long as they could. They report a 12 percent overall loss due to the smoking ban. They report their food sales are up somewhat but their alcohol sales are way, way down due to the ban. They report that bar customers still show up but don't stay nearly as long.

Graham's also said they did not believe that other Kirkwood establishments were being truthful about their losses in the Post article.

I just talked to the manager of Van's Lounge. They are down 35 - 40 percent versus last year due to the ban. She told me her tips have fallen from $800-1000 per week to a mere $300 per week. She said she is lucky her husband has a good job.