Second-hand smoke test ahead for airport
Some day soon, special testing equipment will be at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to determine how much smoke escapes enclosures where smoking is allowed.
The city's Board of Aldermen Friday passed a resolution calling for the monitoring.
Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr., D-3rd Ward, sponsor of the resolution, said results of the tests will determine whether the airport will be dropped from an anti-smoking bill he's sponsoring.
That bill would eliminate smoking in all city-owned and city-leased buildings, including the terminal buildings at Lambert. Bosley, a staunch anti-smoking advocate, said if the tests reveal there is a low level of smoke then a prohibition at the airport would be unnecessary.
"If it's not broke out there, then there's no point in trying to fix it," Bosley said.
In speeches Friday before the aldermanic board and its Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Bosley said the tests would be done in an objective manner by someone who doesn't have an axe to grind.
At the same time, Tobacco Free Missouri St. Louis Coalition, an advocacy group, will pay for the testing equipment, which will cost up to $500.
This caused Alderman Stephen Conway, D-8th Ward, to question the objectivity of the tests.
"They would probably be the most biased group from the perspective of making sure that the outcome is what they want it to be," Conway said.
Two environmental science professors from St. Louis University's School of Public Health will do the testing, said Vivian McKay, health education coordinator for the St. Louis County Department of Health.
The testing would be a cooperative effort between the city and county health departments and the St. Louis University School of Public Health, McKay said. While the city owns the airport buildings, the county has jurisdiction there. Tobacco Free Missouri St. Louis Coalition has its office in the university's School of Public Health.
In discussion before the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Alderman Stephen Gregali, D-14th Ward, suggested that the facilities management operation has done testing on smoking at the airport and provide whatever testing information it has first.
"The airport has an axe to grind," Bosley said.
In testimony before the committee, Emily Pike, a community health coordinator for St. Louis County Department of Health and a city resident, testified about her own experience at the airport.
"Walking by the smoking lounges is enough to cause my asthma to flare up," Pike said.
Support of the testing doesn't necessarily mean support for Bosley's bill, Bosley said. "This is just about information. This is not an endorsement of anything."