More communities are enacting smoking ordinances, but one organization says until there’s a change in policy, the health of Missourians is still largely at risk. Tobacco Free Missouri is an advocacy group that — among other things — provides resources and technical support to communities crafting smoking bans or restrictions.
Spokeswoman Kendre Israel says Maryville was the first Missouri community to pass a non-smoking ordinance a few years ago, which was not comprehensive; the community has since strengthened that ordinance to make it comprehensive, meaning it covers all public places, including bars, restaurants and businesses.
About 15 Missouri cities now have smoking restrictions in place, and while Israel says it’s a step in the right direction, a report from the Centers for Disease Control says Missouri still has a high rate of smoking compared to other states.
An indoor clean air act has been introduced in the Missouri House, sponsored by Representative Jill Schupp of Creve Couer. The bill is not currently on the calendar. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation — Governor Nixon and lawmakers have indicated they will not seek to raise it.
Despite opposition from businesses, Tobacco Free Missouri Spokeswoman Kendra Israel says studies conducted by several reputable researchers show that smoking bans do not cause drops in revenue.
Websites of local coalitions in Missouri:
Tobacco-Free St. Louis – www.tobaccofreestl.org/
Breathe Easy Cape Girardeau –www.capebreatheeasy.com/
Breathe Easy Christian County – www.breatheeasycc.org/
Breathe Easy Hannibal – www.behannibal.org/
Breathe Easy of Southwest Missouri – www.breatheeasyswmo.org/
Clean Air Kansas City – www.cleanairkc.com/
Clean Air St. Joe – http://cleanairstjoe.com/
Fresh Air Fulton – http://freshairfulton.com/
One-Air Alliance – Springfield – http://www.oneairalliance.org/
Smoke-free Air for Everyone – Rolla – http://saferolla.org/
Smokefree Jefferson City – http://www.smokefreejc.com/
Smoke-Free Jefferson County – http://tobaccofreestl.org/w/jeffersoncounty
Smokefree Liberty – http://smokefreeliberty.web.officelive.com/default.aspx
Smoke-Free O’Fallon – http://smokefreeofallon.org/
Smoke-Free St. Charles – http://tobaccofreestl.org/w/stcharlescounty