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Challenge to St. Louis City smoking ban rejected

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

St. Louis City’s ordinance banning smoking in all “enclosed public places,” recently withstood a legal challenge claiming the ordinance was unlawful and unconstitutional in The Trophy Room v. City of St. Louis, ED104714 (Mo. App. E.D. Sept. 19, 2017).The ordinance applies to bars and restaurants, among other public places, with limited exceptions. The Trophy Room, a St. Louis bar, has always permitted smoking. It qualified under an exemption for small 21+ bars, which was set to expire in January 2016. In anticipation of that expiration, the Trophy Room sought to qualify as a “casino gaming area,” another type of exempt property. The Trophy Room obtained a license from the Missouri State Lottery Commission to operate Club Keno machines. The bar then filed suit to establish its right to continue to permit smoking and to challenge the constitutionality of the smoking-ban ordinance. The Missouri Court of Appeals held that merely possessing a license from the Missouri State Lottery Commission did not qualify the bar as a casino. The Court also rejected the Trophy Room’s argument that the smoking ban was an unconstitutional special law, and that it was unlawfully vague. The Court held that even if a portion of the law were unconstitutional, the ordinance contained a severability clause, and thus the entire ordinance would not be found unlawful. Furthermore, as the City had not yet enforced the ordinance against the Trophy Room, the Court held that the Trophy Room’s suit was premature and was properly dismissed.

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