‘Unfair’ St. Louis Smoking Ban

An expanded smoking ban in St. Louis won’t apply to the city’s casino or the exclusive Missouri Athletic Club, but city bar owners who are losing their smoking ban exemptions say the new law is unfair.

Smokers can account for a good portion of bar and casino business, which is why local business owners are unhappy over the new smoking ban in St. Louis.

Starting in January, patrons cannot smoke at any business located inside the city limits—unless they are at the privately owned Missouri Athletic Club or at the city-owned casino, Lumiere Place.

That city officials exempted the city’s casino from the smoking ban that most likely will negatively impact businesses that compete with the city’s casino has locals unhappy.

They also are unhappy that the city exempted the Missouri Athletic Club, whose membership includes many wealthy and influential locals, after the club threatened to sue the city if it tried to ban its members from smoking at the club.

City officials say they exempted the athletic club to avoid a costly legal fight and exempted Lumiere Place to prevent smoking patrons from simply going to casinos in neighboring St. Charles and St. Louis counties.

Most upset about the expanded smoking ban are local bar owners, who initially were given an exemption from the smoking ban in 2011 and say they will lose some of their regular clientele when the expanded, smoking ban takes effect in January.

Exempting some businesses but not others that will suffer negative effects from the expanded smoking ban is unfair, they say.