St. Louis County Tobacconists Seek to Maintain Exemptions

St. Louis, Missouri – Local premium cigar store owners who are small-business members of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association are urging St. Louis County leaders to maintain their exemptions from the current smoking ban.

The Council is not required to give notice on amending a current law. Nonetheless, word got out that an amendment was being considered and proponents of both sides were represented at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

"It’s too late to save all the businesses that were hurt, the scores of jobs that were lost, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes that won’t be collected due to enactment of the current smoking ban. But only less than 200 establishments fall within the exemptions to that law and, because of the nature of their businesses, they should be allowed to remain exempt," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

McCalla said that prohibitionists’ outrageous claims regarding the alleged negative health effects of secondhand smoke based on junk science are to blame for misleading the public and causing the economic and other unnecessary challenges to the sale of legal tobacco products.

"The levels of secondhand smoke that might cause potential issues to interior air quality are 25,000 times higher than might be found in normal restaurants and bars where smoking is permitted. That’s not just us saying that. It’s the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – a division of the United States Department of Labor, which set these standards," McCalla said.

Some business establishments which are forced to comply with the ban feel that those exempt should be bound by the same restrictions.

"We firmly believe that there should be establishments for smokers and others for non-smokers. However, it should be up to the business owners to determine whether or not their establishments are smoke free or not. Just because one business owner is forced by law to do so doesn’t mean another business should be forced to do so, as well," McCalla pointed out.

"We are urging out members and their customers to notify their council representatives to tell them that the smoking ban is damaging enough to local businesses and that removal of the handful of exemptions that remain is adding insult to injury," he said.


4 Responses

  • I find it outrageous that St. Louis County leaders and/or Council members are not required to give notice prior to enacting an amendment that revokes exemptions from the current smoking ban. Apparently they can’t succeed in the light of day, so they’ve taken to stealing our liberties like thieves in the night. Has democracy in America become a clandestine activity? I’m so glad the IPCPR was on the ball this time; and a big thanks to for excellence in reporting. 🙂

  • I agree Cortez, any new law should have time allowed for the citizenry to review and submit comments. In Delaware they made restaraunts all non-smoking. I think it should be up to the owner, whether restaraunt or other business, to decide if the business should allow smoking or not. The cries came from non-smokers saying they liked to eat at said restaraunt. Too bad, sit in the non-smoking section! The business owner is the one who should decide how his business is run and how it will affect the revenues of the business.
    The laws being made now are so pickey! Isn’t this why we broke away from England! Even though a group is small the activities of the group should not be affected by any other small group that doesn’t agree with that particular pastime!

  • Amen, Cortez.
    As for Mr. McCalla’s arguments, they have long been mine, concerning the second-hand smoke hoax.