At midnight, all restaurants and most bars in St. Louis are going smoke-free. Voters approved Prop N in 2009 which took effect at the start of the new year.
"No one wants to smell like a cigarette butt when you walk out of here" said Adrian Glass, co-owner of The Post Sports Bar and Grill in Maplewood.
Glass said he embraces the ban and believes that it won't hurt his business, "The people that are opposed to it right now, they'll come around."
Casino gaming floors, some private clubs, and tobacco shops are exempt from the ban. Other bars are also seeking exemptions. Those that have been granted one have to post signs at every entrance that say the bar allows smoking inside.
The St. Louis County Health Department's website lists the bars that have been given exemptions: revenue.stlouisco.com/Licensing/SmokingExemptionApplicants.pdf
"In the county, there are a few bars that are able to apply for an exemption if they derive less than 25 percent of their revenue from food sales," said Barry Freedman, the project manager for county health department's smoking prevention efforts.
"Right now, we think there is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of fewer than 100 bars that will qualify for the exemption," said Freedman.
Starting in 2011, St. Louis County will begin spending $7.6 million in federal grant money on smoking prevention and cessation programs, including a hot-line smokers can call to talk to someone about quitting.
Learn more about the hot-line here: www.letsfaceitstl.com/