(Here is my Letter sent to the editor of a St. Louis newspaper)
I'm a resident from Illinois, and it was brought to my attention that St. Louis is thinking of banning smoking like Illinois did recently. The Illinois ban goes into effect at the start of 2008.
Well, a smoking ban would hurt the bars and clubs (as well as restaurants) in St. Louis. Smokers will drive to Missouri cities that still allow smoking in bars/restaurants/taverns. Even Illinois smokers will avoid going to St. Louis next year if that city decides to ban smoking.
When a tavern loses smoking customers on a regular basis, the tavern owner will also lose LOTS of money (due to a lack of customers). It only takes days for an owner to start losing customers and money once when a new smoking ban goes into effect. And sadly, owners (in cities with smoking bans already) have been forced to close down their businesses for good.
Smoking bans are not about health issues. They're more about control issues. It's wrong for the St. Louis council to tell owners how to run their businesses, and to tell smokers where they can and can not use a legal product at.
Does St. Louis want to see their smokers drive to other Missouri cities for a drink and a smoke? Does St. Louis want to see the most popular bars and clubs eventually close down due to a lack of regular customers visiting the bars and taverns? Does St. Louis even want to see smokers smoke in prohibited areas within the city instead of being allowed to freely smoke in places?
If you answered "NO" to all 3 questions, then you are able to see why a St. Louis smoking ban would be bad for the city.