LA May Ban Smoking in Outdoor Areas

Los Angeles ( – A proposal to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas in Los Angeles was approved by a City Council committee today.

However, Councilman Tom LaBonge, the chairman and only member of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee present, said he would visit several establishments which would be affected by the smoking ban before the full council considers the proposal.

“Before this goes forward, I’m going to be taking a field trip with the fire inspector, the building inspector, the city attorney, those for and against smoking in outdoor dining areas, to make sure there’s a practical application to this,” LaBonge said. “I want to make sure it works.”

The proposal would prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas, and within a 10-foot radius of those areas, as well as the area within a 30-foot radius of outdoor food courts, food kiosks, food carts and mobile food trucks.

However, an exception is provided for outdoor areas attached to bars and nightclubs that require customers to be 18 years old or older.

“I think it’s important that we have a practical way to balance out the needs of those people who enjoy smoking and those people who enjoy eating without the smell of smoke,” LaBonge said.

Esther Schiller, executive director of Smoke Free Air for Everyone, testified that the proposal “would help the waiters who won’t be forced to breathe tobacco smoke in order to make a living,” and allow those with chronic illnesses like asthma, cancer or heart disease to be able to dine outdoors.

Victor Franco of Cigar Rights of America, an organization of cigar manufacturers and distributors, claimed the proposal is still too vague.

Smoking is banned in Los Angeles city parks. Beverly Hills and Pasadena has banned smoking in outdoor dining areas. Santa Monica bans smoking on beaches, in public parks, and near public buildings.

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