Smokers of electronic cigarettes will have to go outdoors like smokers of traditional tobacco products at one St. Louis area college campus. The Belleville News Democrat reports SIU-Edwardsville has banned electronic cigarettes indoors.
Campus officials told the paper that they felt the need to set a policy on E-cigarettes, since its the state's indoor smoking ban doesn't address them. Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine via water vapor instead of smoke from burning tobacco. University officials say there's not enough data on the safety of the water vapors to non-smokers nearby.
Under SIUE's new policy, E-cigarettes may only be used outdoors, at least 15 feet away from an entrance.
Illinois lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it illegal for adults to smoke in a motor vehicle if there are children present. Officials with the American Lung Association say they support the measure as a way to educate parents about the dangers of second-hand smoke to their child.
Senate bill 2659 would make it illegal to smoke with a minor in the vehicle. Violators would face a one-hundred-dollar fine, but police wouldn't be able to pull drivers over just for violate the smoking ban.
Fourteen other states are considering similar measures. Five states, including Arkansas and Louisiana have already made smoke-free cars the law.
A study by a North Carolina think tank concludes that a state-wide smoking ban would not harm Missouri bars and restaurants.
While several local governments bar indoor smoking in public, there's no state-wide ban. Opponents to a ban often argue that it would reduce revenue and employment at bars and restaurants.
Researchers with RTI used sales and tobacco tax data from 216 cities and counties in 8 states over 11 years. They projected that seven of the states, including Missouri, would have no economic impact, and West Virginia would actually see an employment boost.
The study was funded by the CDC.
Illinois already bars smoking in bars and restaurants.
St. Charles City is one step closer to crafting a smoking ban of some sorts. The question is whether there will be any exemptions. The city heard input from citizens Monday night during the 3rd and final public hearing on the issue. Some citizens argue smoking is a health issue while others argued that it's about personal rights and a level playing field.
St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith favors a ban that would exempt the Ameristar Casino because the city receives a large portion of its revenue from the casino. She says in 2012 the casino provided an estimated $13 million in revenue for city services.
Ameristar officials say a smoking ban would put them at a disadvantage competing against other casinos in the area.
Several owners of other local businesses oppose the casino exemption. They argue that its unfair to require most businesses to comply but give Ameristar a pass.
Should local communities have the power to ban indoor smoking in public places?
A group of St. Charles County lawmakers apparently don't think so. Republican State Representative Kathie Conway has introduced a bill that would levy fines against cities and counties with local smoking bans. Seven other lawmakers from St. Charles County have signed on as co-sponsors.
The measure would force the communities to give up any property or sales tax revenues from businesses affected by the ban. The money would go to local school districts instead. Conway told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to narrow that to include only bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, casinos and other entertainment-related businesses, because they're the ones who lose money because of smoking bans.
The bills opponents call it an attempt to intimidate local governments.
Only two communities in St. Charles County have smoking bans in place: O'Fallon and Lake St. Louis. St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis also have smoking bans in place. They would be subject to the fines too, since it's a state-wide measure.
That's what State Rep. Bill Otto is proposing. The St. Charles Democrat is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit local smoking bans if smoking is still allowed at a competing casino within 75 miles.
If passed, the measure would prevent the St. Louis County Council from ending the casino exemption in the county's smoking ban -- a move that has been debated in the county council in recent weeks.