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Smoking Ban: Ellisville's First Week

Ellisville bar owners react one week after going smoke-free.

One week after St. Louis County implemented a smoking ban, reactions in Ellisville have largely been positive.

Although neighboring Ballwin has had its own smoking ban on the books since 2006, Ellisville is one week into the county ban as of Sunday. The city had passed an ordinance in 1992 that required designated smoking areas in all public places, but those mandates have effectively been replaced with the new law.

Matt Clancy, the owner of in Ellisville said his clientele have made few complaints.

“I’ve got people coming in and saying it’s nice, and most of our customers seem to be pretty good with it,” Clancy said.

Mike Amato is the general manager of , and has seen a similarly positive response.

“Non-smoker business has really picked up, and things are a lot better now that there is less smoke.”

The county's Indoor Clean Air Code prohibits smoking inside public areas, places of employment or within fifteen feet of an entrance, open window or ventilation intake. All smoke-free establishments also have to post a “no smoking” sign.

There are exemptions to the new law, including tobacco shops, casinos and private residences, but all bars and restaurants must conform or face a fine.

Cindy Degnan, owner of George’s On Clayton, said the results have been good for customers and their senses, specifically citing two non-smoking couples who were new to her bar this week.

“Now that there isn’t so much smoke in here, people are coming in and can smell the food.”

Reaction wasn't all postive, however. Degnan said once-faithful patrons have relocated due to the fact that they can no longer smoke when they visit for lunch.

When asked about his customers, Clancy said he's had a few die-hard smokers complain about the law, but that hasn't kept them from stopping in for food or drink.

Perhaps the most common complaint against the ban effective Jan. 2 was its timing.  Several local bars offer outdoor spaces to accommodate patrons who want to dine or smoke outside, but trying to welcome the ban during freezing temperatures has made for a less-than-inviting experience for some.

“Right now is the biggest time for smokers coming in. The fifteen-foot law is what worries me," Degnan said, referring to the requirement for smokers to stand 15 feet or further from non-smoking buildings.

With the law only a week old, however, business owners like Clancy and others are optimistic overall.

“It’s going to be better, but we’ll see what happens."

For more information regarding the new smoking ban, including details about the law, frequently asked questions, and complaint and exemption forms, visit the Missouri Department of Health’s website.

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