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St. Charles Businesses May Have to Post Smoking or Nonsmoking Signs

A proposed bill would require businesses to post a sign saying whether smoking is permitted or prohibited.

An effort is underway to require every business, public place and restaurant in St. Charles to post signs stating whether smoking is allowed in the establishment. 

St. Charles City Council President Dave Beckering plans to introduce a bill that would mandate the signage at the council meeting Sept. 24. He said all ten council members have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. 

Beckering said signs ensure everyone knows whether smoking is available before they go in. 

"I think it's reasonable from the perspective that this way, let's say you are a parent or grandparent of a young child, you know before you walk in the door whether it's smoking or not," he said. 

Signs would have to be posted at every entrance to the business that say either smoking is permitted or smoking is prohibited. The sign must have letters no smaller than 1 inch in height and would have to be posted by Jan. 1, 2014. 

Violating the law would result in a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment up to 3 months. 

Beckering proposed the bill after the city council dropped plans to consider a city-wide smoking ban earlier this year. 

The city held three town hall meetings on the issue and only received feedback from 102 people, 55 of which were opposed to any sort of smoking ban. Forty-four people were in favor of a ban. 

"We couldn't tell what they wanted to do," he said. "There's certainly no consensus."

St. Charles County Councilman Mike Klinghammer, a former member of the St. Charles City Council, is watching to see how the sign ordinance is received.

He spoke during a recent discussion of a proposed countywide smoking ban except in places that are limited to people ages 21 and older. Klinghammer is opposed to a smoking ban, but said the steps St. Charles is taking could be helpful. 

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