Keep St. Louis Free enthusiastically supports HB 2103 as a reasonable compromise law that fulfills the original intent of the Missouri Indoor Clean Air Act to protect certain businesses from smoking regulation as "areas not considered public places".

Furthermore, HB 2103 would help level the playing field across Missouri for the bar and entertainment industry, undoing some of the harm wrought by Draconian smoking bans such as those in effect in O’Fallon and Springfield, as well as the harm done by capricious and arbitrary smoking ban exemptions, such as the 2000 square foot exemption currently in effect in St. Louis City which has put larger bars and entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. Keep St. Louis Free believes the exemptions provided by HB 2103 are justified by the moral right of a business owner to allow the use of a legal product by adults on his private property.

Furthermore, the economic harm that smoking bans typically produce is an added justification of these exemptions. Please find attached to this e-mail a number of studies, all conducted by PhD economists, which all find that smoking bans do indeed harm businesses such as bars and casinos. While I am sure the smoking ban activists and lobbyists will present to you contrary studies which find that smoking bans do no economic harm, I have to warn you that these contrary studies have been conducted almost entirely by public health professionals, not economists, and have been published in public health journals, not economic journals. As economist Dr. Jonathan Tomlin pointed out in Forbes Magazine, these economic studies conducted by public health professionals are "riddled with statistical shortcomings and… flaws." The best economic studies support a public smoking compromise that allows freedom for the establishments exempted by HB 2103.

Small Business Committee members, the latest survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found that only 28 percent of Missouri residents favor a total ban on smoking in bars. The latest national Gallup Poll shows that Americans favor some sort of compromise accommodation of smokers in adult venues such as bars and casinos. Only 31 percent of Americans favor a total ban on smoking in bars and casinos. So the public accepts the reasonableness of the exemptions granted in HB 2103.

Small Business Committee Members, please speedily vote to make HB 2103 law and so provide relief to Missouri businesses deprived of their property rights and suffering economic harm due to overreaching smoking regulations.



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