Washington, Mo., smoking ban gives break to corncob pipe maker

2013-03-19T16:41:00Z 2013-03-20T07:48:47Z Washington, Mo., smoking ban gives break to corncob pipe makerBY E.J. ROTERT • Special to the Post-Dispatch stltoday.com

WASHINGTON, Mo. • Corncob pipes excluded, this city will have a smoking law come April 15.

The law doesn't exempt all corncob pipes— just those at the factory that's made Washington home for more than 140 years. Also, it exempts only pipes used for demonstrations in a particular area of the factory.

The City Council first passed a law in January to ban smoking in indoor work and public places. But Monday evening council members unanimously repealed that measure, also set to take effect April 15.

City Administrator Jim Briggs said his office and that of Mayor Sandy Lucy fielded concerns about smoking at Missouri Meerschaum Co. after the first law was passed. The website of the firm, located on the Missouri River on West Front Street, touts itself as the world’s oldest, largest and leading corncob pipe manufacturer.

The prior law also sparked criticism from some owners of manufacturing plants, primarily tool-and-die operations.

The new law bans smoking within 10 feet of a main entrance or ventilation system. Briggs said the former banned smoking within 20 feet of any entrance. The law also exempts hookah lounges — the city has one — until Jan. 22, 2014.

Smokers who violate the law are subject to a fine of not more than $50. Owners or operators of businesses that allow smoking are subject to a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second violation within one year, and $500 for each succeeding violation, also within one year.

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