St. Louis City and County - voters approve smoking ban but NOT effective unitl January 2, 2011..

November 4, 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 Missouri has the 4th highest smoking rate.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley signed a bill Friday morning, August 28th that let voters decide on November 3 whether to ban smoking in most indoor public places.

St. Louis County voters on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 simultaneously made most public places in the county and in the city smoke-free. With light turnout — about 20 percent of the county's 705,000 registered voters — about two-thirds of them favored Proposition N, which, with some exemptions, bans smoking in public places on January 2, 2011. The ban applies to the city also because the Board of Aldermen last month approved a similar measure, contingent on county passage. The city ban, including exemptions, also takes effect January 2, 2011.

The county's ban exempts bars that don't sell a lot of food, but does allow municipalities to enact stricter bans. The county's exceptions also include casino gaming floors and the smoking lounges at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Kirkwood (within St. Louis County) voters overwhelmingly passed a separate ban that is more strict than the county's, in that it applies to all bar-restaurants. Back on 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.

Gary Voss, executive director of the Greater St. Louis Bowling Proprietors Association, predicted that 10 of the 21 bowling centers in St. Louis County would close. Smokers would go to competitors in St. Charles or other counties which allow smoking, he said. The county, he said, "doesn't care for the mom-and-pop bowling centers" and favors out-of-state casino owners. Voss predicted that his association would challenge the smoking ban in court. The ban, he said, "is so unfair."

Bill Hannegan, a leading opponent of smoking bans, said he and his supporters soon will consider whether to challenge the constitutionality of the exemption for casinos gaming floors. He called it "special interest" legislation.

Reference: Smoking ban opponents say they will fight it by Phil Sutin and Margaret Gillerman, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. 11/04/2009.

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St. Louis County - joint statement;
Premium Cigar Store Owners Unite to Fight Proposed St. Louis County Smoking Ban Vote..;
Missouri - some cities becoming smoke free but NOT the state..;
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