City council makes moves to clear the smoke

April 30, 2013 by  

Earlier this month, officials from the St Charles City Council met to discuss the idea of a proposed Smoke Free Air Act.

Mayor Sally Faith had initial taken up the issue in a February 2 memo to the council recommending a review of other cities’ and counties’ Smoke Free laws. Addressing this, the council met on April 9 to discuss the particulars of a proposed city-wide smoking ban.

From TV ads, to warning labels, to massive poster printing runs, the efforts of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), among other smoking and health awareness groups, have slowly reduced the number of U.S. smokers from over 40% in 1965 to just under 20% in 2012. As their numbers have declined, smokers have seen tolerance for their habit fade.

Pressure toward a public ban has been building for some time. A citizen’s group, Smoke-Free St. Charles County, was formed in 2006. An attempt was made to put the issue on the ballot last year, only to be stymied by “confusing and inconsistent” language leading to the measure being dropped.

The council considered the following exemptions to the blanket ban: casino floors, over-21 bars, buildings and arenas with separately ventilated smoking rooms, private clubs, 20% of hotel rooms, open public areas, private residences and vehicles, and commercial vehicles if smoker is sole occupant. Other less prevalent situations, such as bowling alleys and cigar bars, were also on the list.

A series of public hearings on smoking bans will now commence, with Mayor Faith to host the first on May 6 in the City Hall, beginning at 7:00 pm.