St. Louis Public Radio News
12:44 am
Tue February 23, 2010

Mo. Senate committee hears indoor smoking ban bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – Legislation that would ban indoor smoking in public buildings throughout Missouri is being considered by a State Senate Committee.

Under the bill, smoking would not be allowed in restaurants, bars, sports arenas, businesses, or any other public building.

Exceptions would be allowed for homes not used for daycare, tobacco shops and 20 percent of hotel rooms.

Jason Sharp, who works with cancer patients in Rolla, spoke in favor of the bill Monday night before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"We have the right to clean air...non-smokers have the right to clean air...smokers have the right to smoke, (and) we ask for the right not to breathe toxic air," Sharp said.

No one spoke against the bill. However, State Senator Matt Bartle (R, Lee's Summit), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed concern that a widespread ban on where people can smoke could lead to bans on other personal behavior.

"Should we ban (eating) French fries? I worry about government making it to where basically it's a de facto ban on smoking...and people do things that are just as injurious that we overlook all the time, like going to McDonald's every day," Bartle said.

The committee did not vote on the bill at Monday's hearing. A similar indoor smoking ban is being considered by the Missouri House.