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The Clayton City Board of Alderman has proposed an ordinance to prohibit smoking in public places. The rationale for the smoking ban is the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report that concludes “secondhand smoke … causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke“.
If the ban is enacted, Clayton will not be the first Missouri municipality to have smoking ban. The cities of Kansas City, Columbia, Arnold and Ballwin have such bans. Recently, I was among approximately twenty Clayton residents that spoke in support of the ban before the Board of Aldermen.
Those opposing the proposed ordinance are a group of Clayton restaurant owners. They believe that it would significantly reduce their business because patrons who smoke will frequent restaurants outside of Clayton. Americans for Non Smokers Rights, an organization that collects data on the nation’s smoking bans, reports that 477 communities have enacted such bans in public places. A letter from a member of the Ballwin Missouri Board of Aldermen states that their local restaurants and bars have not lost business because of their smoking ban.
To improve the health of our communities and eliminate the concerns of local restaurant and bar owners, it is time that both St. Louis County and City ban smoking in public places.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.