Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letter to Tobacco Free St. Louis Directors

Tobacco Free St. Louis Directors:

In late 2010, the St. Louis County Department of Health signed a $545,000  contract with Saint Louis University for the services of Tobacco Free St. Louis, a 5o1c3 nonprofit anti-smoking organization based on its campus. Please find the  scope of work for this contract attached. 

In exchange for $545,000, Tobacco Free St. Louis agreed to:

"Develop and implement an education and advocacy plan to educate St. Louis County Council members about the need to remove exemptions for St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance, which becomes effective in January, 2011.

By January, 2012, amend St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance to induce all workplaces, restaurants and bars."

Yet according to a statement today by Tobacco Free St. Louis Director Charlie Gatton, "Tobacco Free St. Louis (TFSTL) is a volunteer organization. Money comes from dues and fund-raising, such as the annual Trivia Night event. It IS NOT funded by the CDC grant."

If Director Gatton is right and Tobacco Free St. Louis has received no money from St. Louis County's CDC grant, then where did the $545,000 actually go and what has it been used for? $545,000 is a lot of money and should be accounted for.

Also, members of the Tobacco Free St. Louis Board of Directors have in the past week begun directly lobbying and publicly pressuring St. Louis County Councilmen at Council hearings, as well as in print, on the radio and on television, to revise existing legislation in violation of 501c3 lobbying rules. I have no desire to ever stifle free speech, but those who directly lobby lawmakers should pay taxes on their funds as do ordinary citizens seeking legislation change.,,id=163392,00.html


Bill Hannegan
Home phone: 314.367.3779
Cell phone: 314.315.3779

Monday, January 02, 2012

Kansas Drunk Driving Fatalities

Letter just sent to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels concerning drunk driving deaths and a possible Indiana smoking ban:

Dear Governor Daniels,

Research from the University of Wisconsin has warned that strict smoking bans (ones that include bars) cause an increase in drunk driving fatalities. Please find this research attached. Researchers conclude:

"Using geographic variation in local and state smoke-free bar laws in the US, we observe an increase 
 in fatal accidents involving alcohol following bans on smoking in bars that is not observed in places 
without bans. Although an increased accident risk might seem surprising at first, two strands of 
literature on consumer behavior suggest potential explanations—smokers driving longer distances to 
a bordering jurisdiction that allows smoking in bars and smokers driving longer distances within 
their jurisdiction to bars that still allow smoking, perhaps through non-compliance or outdoor 
seating. We find evidence consistent with both explanations. The increased miles driven by drivers
wishing to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home 
following a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents. This result proves durable, as we 
subject it to an extensive battery of robustness checks."

Governor Daniels, Kansas imposed a strict smoking ban in 2010 and saw its number of drunk driving deaths soar 36 percent. 

The same thing could happen in Indiana if any smoking ban passed does not exempt "over 21" establishments. Please avoid this loss of life by exempting "over 21" establishments as does the current Tennessee smoking ban. Please find the Tennessee smoking ban attached.


Bill Hannegan
Home phone: 314.367.3779
Cell phone: 314.315.3779