St. Louis moves closer to going smoke-free -

St. Louis moves closer to going smoke-free

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis alderman have tentatively passed a smoking ban that is contingent on St. Louis County voters approving a similar ban on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The measure that won approval Friday would ban smoking in most bars and restaurants, starting in January 2011.

But it exempts casino floors, some hotel rooms, private clubs and tobacco stores.

Also some small bars in the city would be allowed to wait five years before having to comply with the ban.

The county plan has a provision exempting establishments where food makes up 25 percent or less of total sales.

The bill's sponsor called the measure "pragmatic," but the local chapter of the American Cancer Society criticized it as "watered down."

A final vote is planned for next week.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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