Missouri - some cities becoming smoke free but NOT the state..

July 16, 2009 - Missouri has NO smoking ban and has resisted any increase in the cigarette tax last increased in 1993. The tax on a pack of cigarettes stands at 17 cents the second lowest in the nation and second lowest behind only South Carolina at seven cents a pack. Restaurant and bar lobbyists have blocked any statewide smoking bans.

According to the Missouri Foundation for Health Missouri has the third highest adult smoking rate in the country at 24.5 percent, costing the state $4.8 billion in health care, according to the American Lung Association. The rate of teen smoking is among the highest in the nation.

In November 2006, Missouri voters rejected "Amendment 3," (Failed Yes – 48 percent , No – 52 percent (95.6 percent of precincts reporting.) would have raised the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 80 cents, from 17 cents to 97 cents and increase the tax on other tobacco products by 20 percent., with revenues to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs and other health initiatives. Tobacco companies have spent at least $5.1 million against the initiative, with R.J. Reynolds contributing the bulk of the money. (Tobacco Companies Spending $84 Million to Mislead Voters and Oppose Ballot Initiatives to Reduce Smoking, Save Lives, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 11/1/2006)

Clayton, the county seat of St. Louis County, has joined the few other cities such as Columbia (January 9, 2007), Kansas City, the largest city (June 8, 2008), Independence (March 2007), and Kirksville (July 1, 2007) in Missouri with smoking bans.

In Tuesday (July 14th) night Clayton City Council meeting, members voted unanimously to outlaw indoor smoking. The Clayton ban goes into effect a year from now, i.e. July 2010. Clayton joins Ballwin and Arnold as the only St. Louis area municipalities in Missouri to pass a smoking ban.

Many other cities, including St. Louis, have rejected attempts to ban smoking in public places. Much of the anti-ban argument has revolved around the feared economic impact of such a measure, especially at bars and restaurants.

Just last Thursday, July 16th, Kirkwood's, called the "Queen of the St. Louis Suburbs, City Council voted down a measure that would have banned smoking in restaurants and bars. (Kirkwood Council Votes Down Smoking Ban Voters Will Weigh In On Election Day in November by Charles Jaco and Roche Madden, FOX-2 Saint Louis, 7/16/2009).

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