A push to create an alternative — and less strict — smoking ban referendum in St. Louis County is underway and could be voted on by St. Charles City Council as early as Monday.
The proposal would offer voters an indoor smoking ban with exemptions for many bars and Ameristar Casino. That referendum would be an alternative to the strict smoking ban being pushed for by health groups that could also appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, and would offer no exemptions to the smoking ban.
Health groups, including the American Heart Association, submitted 51,000 signatures last month, nearly twice as many as the required 26,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
A petition drive to offer voters a weaker smoking ban, and funded by the owner of Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights, submitted signatures last week.
The St. Charles proposal is sponsored by Councilman Mike Klinghammer, R-St. Charles, and would exempt bars and other businesses whose customers must be at least 21 years old. Bars and restaurants also could allow smoking in over-21 areas separately ventilated and physically separated from nonsmoking sections.
It also would allow smoking in membership clubs, cigar bars and retail tobacco stores which bar customers younger than age 18.
Klinghammer said a strict ban with no exemptions would hurt local business.
If both county propositions make it onto the ballot and each passes, the courts likely would decide which takes effect, said Assistant County Counselor Robert Hoeynck.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch