Sonoma looks to douse outdoor smoking

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma City Council moved Monday to effectively ban smoking in all outdoor public spaces including parks, sidewalks and outdoor work areas. With a 4-1 vote, the panel directed city staff to update local smoking regulations, which were last changed in 1996, and set the fine amount (no more than $100) for infractions.

The ban would prohibit smoking in all common areas, indoors and out, of multi-unit housing. Smoking at any time in residences used for childcare, not just when day care children are present, would be prohibited as well.

Councilmember David Cook, who said he was against establishing more laws that likely would not be enforced, was the lone dissenter.

Under the proposed rules, new retail stores would need a Conditional Use Permit to sell tobacco, a process that opens the license hearing to public input. Additionally, such outlets would be prohibited near “youth sensitive locations” such as schools and parks.

The secondhand smoke policy, as developed by the American Lung Association, also calls for banning smoking in all public area of hotels, but the council said that policy is an individual business decision.

Currently, the ALA gives Sonoma an “F” for its overall tobacco control. Of the 10 agencies in Sonoma County (nine cities and the county itself) Sonoma is one of only three that received a failing grade.

“I don’t want Sonoma to be known as an island of smoke,” said Councilmember Laurie Gallian.

No Smoking Sonoma

–Dining areas – outdoor sitting at restaurants, bars, etc.
–Entryways – 25’ minimum from windows, doors and vents
–Public events – farmers’ markets, fairs, concerts, etc.
–Recreation sites — including parks, beaches, stadiums, etc.
–Service areas – ATM, ticket lines, bus stops, taxi stands, pay phone booths
–Sidewalks – business districts
–Worksites – any outdoor working area, such as construction areas
–Reasonable Distance – 25’ minimum from anywhere smoking is prohibited
–Requiring appropriate signs and no ash cans in protected areas.

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