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Council to Take Up Smoking Ban

By Lookout Staff

October 10 -- Santa Monica could soon be the next California city to enact a smoking ban that includes many outdoor venues, making it more difficult for smokers to find a place to light up.

City Council members Tuesday night are expected to vote on an ordinance to stamp out smoking in all outdoor dining areas; outdoor service areas; areas within 20 feet of entrances, exits or open windows of buildings open to the public, the Third Street Promenade and the Farmers Market. (see story)

Officials with the Chamber of Commerce, the Bayside District and the Convention and Visitors bureau have voiced strong concerns that the proposed ban could impact local business.

But staff said such a ban should not hurt the City’s economic vitality, pointing to several studies and the experience of cities that have enacted similar bans.

“The summary indicates that the overwhelming weight of evidence shows that smoking restrictions either improve, or have no measurable impact on, the economic success of affected businesses,” staff wrote in its report to council.

“After discussing the recent reports of the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Surgeon General regarding second-hand smoke, reviewing recent legislation in other locations, and hearing testimony from the public, Council directed staff to prohibit smoking at each of the five locations.”

Calabasas and Berkeley already have such a ban in place, and it has had little impact to their economies. Hawaii, too, is considering such a ban.

If approved by the council, Santa Monica would become the ninth California city to enact such a law.

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