The St. Louis Board of Aldermen's Health Committee yesterday delayed voting on a bill
to ban smoking inside city bars and restaurants.
Tuesday's meeting was adjourned so aldermen could wait until next week to receive an estimated economic impact of the ban. Chief among the aldermen's concerns is a ban proposed in St. Louis County that goes before voters on November 3.
The county ban would still allow smoking in "drinking establishments" that earn three-fourths of their income through the sale of alcohol. The city ban, meanwhile, would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants without exception.
As alderman Stephen Conway told St. Louis Public Radio
yesterday, the fear is that the city could lose the tax revenue of smokers if it enforces a stricter ban.
"The original presumption was that we wanted to be level,"
Conway told the radio station. "And today I think everybody was
shocked, and obviously it was so overwhelming that none of my
colleagues wanted to jeopardize the city businesses as compared to the
Conway says the city could lose 15 percent of its sales tax revenue without a level playing field.