Missouri Smoking Ban sign now

We urge the Missouri General Assembly to enact a similar state wide smoking ban as that of California and New York.

For every two hours you spend in a smoke-filled environment such as a bar or nightclub, you are inhaling the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes in secondhand smoke.

For those who work in these environments for an eight-hour shift, they are inhaling the equivalent of four packs of cigarettes during their shift! This is extremely detrimental to their health, and something needs to be done about it.

The law in California seems to be improving the health of bartenders. Just after the state outlawed smoking in bars, the University of California-San Francisco studied 53 city barkeeps. Before the law, three-quarters of them suffered from lung ailments. After the law, symptoms for 60 percent dropped away completely.

"After the law went into effect we observed a substantial reduction in respiratory symptoms of eye, nose and throat irritation symptoms," said researcher Dr. Mark Eisner.

Before the ban, bartenders were exposed to an average of 28 hours per week of smokey rooms.

The improvement was quick and dramatic. Specifically lung tests showed bartenders had 4 percent better lung capacity just four weeks after the smoking ban. Health benefits applied not just to non-smoking bartenders, but smokers showed better lung capacity as well.

Bars had long been the last legal indoor spot for smokers in California. Some business worried the ban would drive customers away. So far, it has not.

Smoking ban
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Smoking bans are public policies, including legal prohibitions and occupational health and safety regulations, that restrict smoking in workplaces and public places. The main rationale for smoking bans is to protect workers and citizens from heart disease, cancer and respiratory illnesses and other chronic and acute diseases caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Research has generated scientific evidence that secondhand smoke (e.g. smoke passively inhaled by non-smokers after it was exhaled by active smokers) causes the same problems as direct smoking, including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung ailments such as COPD, bronchitis and asthma. Specifically, meta-analyses have shown lifelong non-smokers with partners who smoke in the home have been shown to have a 20-30\% greater risk of lung cancer, and those exposed to cigarette smoke in the workplace have an increased risk of 16-19\%.

A study issued in 2002 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization concluded that nonsmokers are exposed to the same carcinogens as active smokers. Sidestream smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals, including 69 known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, benzene, and radioactive polonium 210, and several well-established carcinogens have been shown by the tobacco companies' own research to be present at higher concentrations in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke because passive smokers do not gain the benefit of the filter. Although there is a general scientific consensus that passive smoking creates a wide range of health risks, this issue is still debated (see main article on passive smoking). Bans on smoking in bars and restaurants can substantially improve the air quality in such establishments. For example, one study listed on the website of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that New York's statewide law to eliminate smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places substantially reduced RSP (respirable suspended particles) levels in western New York hospitality venues. RSP levels were reduced in every venue that permitted smoking before the law was implemented, including venues in which only secondhand smoke from an adjacent room was observed at baseline. The CDC concluded that their results were similar to other studies which also showed substantially improved indoor air quality after smoking bans.
A 2004 study showed that in New Jersey (which had not yet enacted its ban), bars and restaurants had more than nine times the levels of indoor air pollution of neighboring New York City, which had enacted its ban.
Research has also shown that improved air quality translates to decreased toxin exposure among employees. For example, among employees of the Norwegian establishments that enacted smoking bans, tests showed improved (decreased) levels of nicotine in the urine of both smoking and non-smoking workers (as compared with measurements prior to the ban).

Pope Urban VII's five year papal reign included the world's first known public smoking ban (1590), as he threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose". In the later part of the 20th century, as research studies on the health risks of second hand tobacco smoke were made public, the tobacco industry launched "courtesy awareness" campaigns. Fearful of revenue losses, the industry created a media and legislative program that focused on "accommodation." Tolerance and courtesy were encouraged as a way to ease heightened tensions between smokers and those around them. States were encouraged to pass laws providing separate smoking sections.


Up to this point, bans were limited to individual cities and counties. In 1998 California enacted a complete smoking ban (including bars). The California ban encouraged other states such as New York to implement bans of their own. Since then, there has been an increasing trend for entire states or countries to pass laws banning smoking in various indoor public sites and workplaces, including bars, restaurants, and social clubs. There are now 33 states with some form of smoking ban on the books.


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Luella JamesBy:
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Missouri General Assembly


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