Dooley asks council to review smoking ban

By EVAN YOUNG

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley on Tuesday asked the County Council to consider toughening the voter-approved ban on smoking in public places due to some “unexpected results” since its implementation.

Dooley wants the council to work with his administration to review and possibly “tighten up” the smoking ban, which went into effect Jan. 2 after roughly 65 percent of county voters approved it in November 2009.

The ordinance provides for several exemptions, including small bars where food makes up no more than 25 percent of gross sales. More than 100 county businesses have obtained “certificates of exemption” from the ban — a consequence Dooley said his administration wasn’t expecting.

The county executive said some businesses were exempted that he didn’t think would qualify under the ordinance.

“We are going on record that we got some unintended results …,” Dooley told the council during a caucus Tuesday. “We expected some missteps — we got more than we anticipated — but we did expect some.”

The council can change the ordinance without placing the matter before voters. However, Dooley said no bill has been drafted, and his administration Tuesday did not propose any specific amendments.

Look for a full story in next week’s Call.