Some City of St. Louis Smokers Are More Equal Than Others

When can you smoke in a public place in the city of St. Louis? When you’re a politician, attorney, or judge going to an invitation-only public venue, of course!

The 109-year-old downtown Missouri Athletic Club may wriggle free from the city’s smoking ban.

City officials have prepared an agreement which exempts the private, invitation-only establishment — long frequented by judges, attorneys and politicians — from the municipal no-smoking ordinance.

The club, known as the MAC, has flouted the law since it was enacted Jan. 1, 2011, openly leaving ashtrays in the lounge, hosting hazy boxing matches and allowing men in suits to gather weekly at the bar with tumblers in one hand, cigars in the other.

The city cited and fined the club twice. The citations ended up in municipal court, where attorneys began working out a deal.

On Thursday, city Health Director Pam Walker presented a draft agreement to her advisory commission, the Joint Boards of Health and Hospitals, arguing that the nonprofit MAC is a unique entity, governed neither by rules for private clubs nor by those for businesses.

Remember, public smoking bans are all about protecting the poor little children who are the employees from the health impact of working in a smoky environment, since those “adults” can’t rationally decide the personal risk versus the paycheck reward.

So the employees get to inhale the politicos smoke where the politicos can smoke, but:

If approved, the agreement would bar smoking in the employees’ lounge, but allow club members to continue to smoke in four locations: The Art Lounge, in the first floor lobby; The Jack Buck Grille, inside the club’s first-floor restaurant, after 2 p.m.; the private dining rooms next to the Sportsman’s Club, after 2 p.m.; and in the Missouri Room, three times a year for special events.

The employees can only have secondhand smoke on the job.

So, to recap:

  • The city of St. Louis has a smoking ban.
  • City “leaders” have flouted the ban, so now…
  • city leaders are exempting themselves from the ban.

But you, citizen, must obey the law, or the city leaders and their delegates will punish you.

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