Restaurant owners who have been harmed by the Ballwin smoking ban have banded together with other concerned citizens, vowing to defeat the re-election bids of Aldermen who voted for the ban
Opponents of a smoking ban are hoping to prevent the re-election of three aldermen who voted for the ban.Aldermen banned smoking in restaurants that don’t serve alcohol and other public places last year. On Jan. 2, the ban widened, and fires went out in ashtrays all over town in bars and restaurants serving alcohol.
Some restaurant and other business owners and residents opposed to the smoking ban have formed Concerned Citizens for a Better Ballwin. The group says that business is down at restaurants and that bar and restaurant owners blame the ban.
The targeted Aldermen include Tim Pogue, 1st Ward; Jane Suozzi, 2nd Ward; and Charlie Gatton, 4th Ward.
Elsa Barth, who owns the Seventh Inn Restaurant on Seven Trails Drive in Ballwin, said her sales were down 35 percent under the ban. Alderman Charlie Gatton, on the other hand, says that employees at local restaurants report that the businesses were doing as well if not better under the ban.
The Aldermanic candidates the group is supporting propose to replace the ban with an ordinance requiring businesses to post notices on their doors to say whether they are smoking or nonsmoking facilities. This is essentially the compromise proposal put forth in the District of Columbia during debate over the DC smoking ban. Tobacco abolitionists are unfazed with this appeal to personal choice and responsibility. According to the Post, “Martin Pion, president of Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution Inc., said the opponents’ proposal is ‘pure tobacco-industry inspired.’”
There are a lot of non-smokers (like yours truly) who oppose smoking bans, not because we like the smell of smoke or exposure to smoke, but because it should be the exclusive province of property owners and not government to determine whether smoking is allowed. There will always be non-smoking establishments to cater to that market - why can’t there be smoking establishments for that market as well. If a non-smoker doesn’t want to be exposed to the smoke, just go somewhere else.
The last word goes to Concerned Citizens:
Peggy McCain, a spokesman for Concerned Citizens, said business owners, not the government, should decide whether to allow smoking.
“To me, it’s not about smoking or not smoking, it’s about freedom - as a citizen, to go to a smoking or nonsmoking establishment,” she said.