St. Louis Tobacconists Under Fire

The right to light up in St. Louis cigar shops could once again come under legislative scrutiny, a mere six months after a countywide smoking ban took effect.

Last Tuesday, a small number of business owners urged the St. Louis County Council to re-examine the smoking ban that took effect in January. These business owners, mostly restaurateurs, said that the law, as written, creates an unfair playing field, arguing that they have lost revenue to businesses that are exempted from the smoking ban law.

Currently, the smoking ban exempts cigar bars, tobacconists, casino gaming floors and any establishment whose total revenue from food does not exceed 25 percent of their combined food and alcohol revenue.

According to news reports, county executive Charlie Dooley said the council will take some time to properly study what effect the exemptions are having on local business before it acts.

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association has called upon its members to fight a smoking ban expansion of any kind.

"We are urging our members and their customers to notify their council representatives to tell them that the smoking ban is damaging enough to local businesses and that removal of the handful of exemptions that remain is adding insult to injury," said IPCPR legislative director Chris McCalla in a press release.

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