St. Louis Public Radio News
7:05 am
Tue January 27, 2009

St. Louis worst place to live for asthmatics

St. Louis, MO – A recent study of the country's 100-largest cities ranked St. Louis as the worst place to live for people suffering from asthma.

The study was conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Dr. Mario Castro is a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine. He says St. Louis moved from the ninth position to number one for several reasons.

"Some of the highest pollen counts that we've seen in a long time came last year, there's also been an increase in the number of deaths due to asthma and St. Louis hasn't enacted any smoke-free laws in public places," says Castro.

While, environmental factors such as pollen counts and a lack of smoking bans have influenced the results, Doctor Castro says poverty issues are also a factor pushing St. Louis to the top.

"You know, I think the other thing that factors into this is the quality of life. A number of patients that I see in my clinic are uninsured and really severely affected by their asthma," notes Castro.

A bill to ban smoking in public places statewide did not even receive a hearing in the General Assembly in 2008.

St. Louis County Council has twice voted down a county-wide smoking ban.

Missouri has the second lowest tax on cigarettes in the country.