2006-02-09 / Front Page

Calabasas no smoking law begins next month

Some exceptions are allowed
By Michael Picarella pic@theacorn.com

The new Calabasas secondhand smoke ordinance, which would prohibit smoking in all public areas of the city including parks, sidewalks and outdoor businesses, will take effect by the middle of March, city officials said.

Final passage of the ordinance is expected at the city council’s Feb. 15 meeting.

At its Feb. 1 meeting the council outlined certain exceptions to the law.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Healthier Solutions, Inc., Smoke-Free Air for Everyone and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Los Angeles expressed strong support for the new law. Of the 17 public speakers at the meeting, all but one supported the ordinance.

Last month, California became the first state to declare second-hand tobacco smoke a toxic air pollutant.

“. . .The California Air Resources Board, which is the agency which regulates air quality in California, has adopted a regulation to treat secondhand smoke as a toxic pollutant of the air, like the kinds of things that come out of petroleum smoke stacks and out of the tailpipes of cars,” said Michael Colantuono, Calabasas city attorney. “That decision is the first time a state regulatory agency of any state in the nation has reached that conclusion.

The city council agreed to allow smoking in the following areas:

•Private residential property, other than housing used as a childcare or health care facility when employees, children or patients are present

•Up to 20 percent of guest rooms in any hotel or motel

•Designated smoking “outposts” in shopping mall common areas that are at least five feet away from any doorway or opening that leads to an enclosed area.

“I think the reason that (city) staff recommended a relatively small number (of outposts) in this instance is because (the city is) going to be dealing with a variety of commercial property: some large, some small, some that are big rectangles, some that have odder shapes,” Colantuono said. “We wanted to have the ability to have at least one designated space on each commercial property that meets the requirements. The feeling was that if you don’t provide an outlet, then people would simply defy the ordinance.”

The city said it would relax the ban at times when non-smokers aren’t present in a public area.

Business owners will be responsible for ensuring that all employees and patrons comply with the new law.

Individual citizens can report offenders to the city and officials will determine how to handle fines on a case-by-case basis, said Tony Coroalles, Calabasas city manager.

To view the second-hand smoke ordinance, visit www.cityofcalabasas.com.

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