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Smoking ban for L.A. county parks planned; actors exempted [Updated]

June 1, 2009 | 12:12 pm

Smokers beware: In addition to being banned from bars, beaches, bus stops, restaurants and government buildings, you are about to get booted from county parks and golf courses.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wants to ban smoking at the county’s 144 parks and 17 golf courses in “an effort to safeguard the public from potential exposure to secondhand smoke.”

On Tuesday, the supervisor plans to ask county officials to draft a law enacting the ban and return to the board for a vote within three months.

Public Health Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Parks and Recreation Director Russ Guiney endorsed the ban, with one exception sure to please the Hollywood crowd: Actors will still be allowed to smoke in the parks, as long as they are being filmed.

County officials estimate the ban will cost about $49,000, mostly to post signs in the parks advertising the new law.

It’s not clear how much money the county stands to lose by driving away golfers who smoke on the links. Golf course revenue topped $13.8 million last year, about 35% of parks department operating revenue.

When the city of Los Angeles banned smoking at its parks and four Griffith Park golf courses two years ago, they did not lose much money, according to Fielding and Guiney’s report.

Several California cities and counties already prohibit smoking in parks, including Cerritos, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Diego, San Francisco and San Mateo.

Earlier this month, the state Senate passed a bill to ban smoking at state parks and beaches; that measure is pending in the Assembly.

California cities and counties were some of the first to expel smokers from restaurants and government buildings during the 1990s, and the success of the statewide ban on workplace smoking in 1998 has been credited with spreading similar bans nationwide.

[Updated at 4:05 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Supervisor Michael Antonovich also proposed the ban.]

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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