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Smoking ban for outdoor restaurant seating backed by L.A. City Council committee

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/21/smoker1.jpgA plan for banning smoking in the outdoor sections of Los Angeles restaurants moved one step closer to approval today.

The City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee agreed this morning to prohibit smoking within 10 feet of restaurant patios, gardens and decks. “This is a big step forward,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes parts of Hollywood, Silver Lake, Koreatown and North Hollywood.

Under the proposed ordinance, any space that is within 30 feet of a food truck also will be defined as an “outdoor dining area.” The measure would not apply to nightclubs and bars that require patrons to be 18 or older. Anyone caught breaking the law could face a fine of up to $250, city officials said.

LaBonge, who heads the committee, said he wants a final council vote on the ordinance before the end of this year. He also called for a one-year grace period, during which no enforcement would occur, to allow eating establishments to become informed about the law.

During that period, the city would rely on business groups to translate information on the new law into other languages, city officials said.

The committee had been weighing a plan to allow larger restaurants to create special outdoor smoking areas. But after hearing objections from a representative of Councilman Greig Smith, that provision was removed.

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

Photo: L.A. Times file

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Comments () | Archives (93)

Your "right" to smoke extends as far as my lungs reach. If you wish to engage in an unhealthy activity, so be it, but not when it affects the people around you. I do not smoke and I do not wish to inhale your smoke just because you are too lazy to walk outside and do it.

In theory, I think this is a good move. In reality, here's what happened in Pasadena when the ban took effect: a) they took away all the ashtrays b) the smokers paid no attention to the ban and kept smoking c) the amount of cigarette butt litter exploded because there are no ashtrays.

Enforce it if you want it to work. Rack up some $500 fines for littering while you are at it.

Interesting - I wrote Councilman LaBonge recently about the ban on leafblowers - which are infinitely more infuriating, noxious, hazardous and unhealthy, than smoking. The ban is in effect - no leafblower may be used within 500 feet of any residence. When I asked about enforcement, the answer was very clear - it's not being enforced. A letter may be issued to the addressed where the infraction occurred, but nothing else.

Tobacco control in instructed to come back for the patios later. Page seven of the tobacco control handbook instructions are to ban patio smoking AFTER business owners spent thousands of dollars to build them for their smoking customers. This clearly shows that these people have ABSOLUTLY NO CONCERN for local businesses. It's the "inside-out" provision on page seven. Once these people find gullible lawmakers and get a foot in the door, there's no stopping them. You will see them walk past clearly posted "smoking allowed on patio" signs only to holler and scream and disrupt an otherwise peaceful gathereing of smoking friends. You may need to CTRL and scroll to read their handbook.


Notice that there's no mention of patios in the model "smoking ban for dummies" on page eight. They didn't want that to be seen when the bans were first brought up.


Don't they have more important things to do than keep stigmatizing oudoor smokers? It is a bias against one group of society, unfairly treated. They don't own the air outside. There are far more important things they should be concerned with if they want to clean up the air - like the pollution of big corporations that seeps into EVERYTHING. Now they will make businesses lose more money, but that's their pattern. Then they want us to believe they're on our side. Hypocrites.

I've always believed that the true test of someone's commitment to the ideals of liberty is the willingness to defend the rights of those you disagree with. That said, I'm astounded at all the dimwits on here who are kicking up their heels in delight over this ban. There is only one group in this picture who's rights are being trampled on by the city. Not the obstinate and annoying smokers, nor the whiny nanny-staters who currently complain about smelling cigarettes. It's the rights of the BUSINESS OWNERS!! Folks, these restaurants aren't the public library or city hall, paid for by everyone's tax dollars. These are privately owned and operated establishments who should be able to conduct their business as they see fit to maximize their profit. If that strategy includes allowing smoking on their patio to please the smokers, then they should be able to do that SINCE SMOKING IS CURRENTLY LEGAL IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA and any establishment owner should have the right to choose whether or not a LAWFUL ACTIVITY will occur on their premises. You don't like it? DON'T GO THERE!!! It's not the freakin DMV, nobody's forcing you to go there. There are plenty of restaurants in LA that have already VOLUNTARILY BANNED SMOKING ON THEIR PATIOS. That's the business decision they chose to make, and more power to them - it's their right! Geezus, this state is infested with knuckleheads who support ridiculous laws simply because it fits with their personal opinion of how the world should work - RIGHTS of others be damned!

oh, our government... this reminds me of that commercial with the kid in the apartment showing smoke coming in through walls, through air-vents, doors, old paint, etc... may i suggest to all of those out there whining about people smoking outdoors: wrap yourselves (and your children) in bubble-wrap, get helmets, wear shin-guards, and use gas masks. that way nothing will EVER, EVER happen to you and your precious little ones. get off it. this is a product that is legal and bankrolled our federal gov't until better/more profitable things (petrol and all it's healthy by-products, etc) became important. but it's dangerous... so is breathing our polluted air, drinking contaminated water, driving, riding a bike, leaving the house, and eating anything grown and/or raised. now, if it's your dining experience you're so unhappy about, may i suggest that YOU stay home and feed yourself and your much needed addition to society with a straw fitted through it's little bubble-wrapped and gas masked face. when the day comes and we look back at the harmful effects of petrol as we have with smoking...then you can talk to me. and again, get off it...you're experience is no more important than mine, and until it's illegal i will happily enjoy my tobacco. now go feed yourself, your cholesterol probably needs it.

Corrupt science has two salient characteristics. First, instead of starting with a hypothesis and data and deriving from that a conclusion, it does just the opposite: starting with a desired conclusion, it then selects data in order to support the hypothesis. Second, it stifles dissent by excluding dissenters from the process of review and by using ad hominem arguments to question their character and motives. The EPA is guilty on both counts.

Of the 30 studies on spousal smoking referred to in the EPA report, only 6 found any statistically significant association between ETS and cancer in nonsmokers married to smokers, and none found a strong relative risk. The studies actually used by the EPA were limited to 11 studies done in the United States. Using the EPA's own Guidelines for Carcinogenic Risk Assessment, none of these showed a statistically significant risk.

These guidelines call for a 95% Confidence Interval. Even when it was lowered to 90%, only one of the 11 studies showed a statistically significant risk. More importantly, the two largest and most recent studies, one of which was partially funded by the National Cancer Institute, were omitted from consideration altogether. Had these two been included, no statistically significant risk would have been found even after lowering the Confidence Interval to 90%.

Even after violating its own guidelines, in other words, the EPA could still show no statistically significant risk without selecting data to fit its hypothesis. This cooked data is the EPA's only basis for declaring ETS to be a "Group A" carcinogen. ("Group A", incidentally, does not mean "extra deadly". It simply means "human".)

The Surgeon General's guidelines on ETS operate under a "zero threshold" hypothesis, or the assumption that if huge quantities of something are dangerous, then microscopic quantities are dangerous also. The data they used, however, fails to bear this out: virtually all of the studies used either found no risk at all or a risk so weak that it would not be considered significant if applied to other subjects.

A business spends thousands of dollare to build a patio to accommodate their smoking customers, then they can't use it for smokers. No one in their right mind would want to open a business in a community that can't make up its mind and makes business owners needlessly throw money away.

A business spends thousands of dollare to build a patio to accommodate their smoking customers, then they can't use it for smokers. No one in their right mind would want to open a business in a community that can't make up its mind and makes business owners needlessly throw money away.

I've written a novel dramatizing this issue, and within the confines of our own comfy burg, in "The Sidewalk Smokers Club."


MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners SHOULD be even more highly regulated to the point of elimination entirely.

MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners have absolutely ZERO regard for their own health, so why should they care about anyone else's health or have any "Right" to invoke their habit on me?

There is no beneficial byproduct of MotorcycleRacing/Bungee cord Jumping/Alcohol Drinking/Porn watching/Profaning except of course the financial gain reaped by the automobile/bungee/corn/grain/gas/television/media/movie/etc.,etc., etc. industries. That is the real reason they will unfortunately never be eliminated.

Those are deadly habits that make trillions of dollars directly and indirectly by making people ill and then killing them. In between the "treatment", (since there is supposedly no "cure" for brain injury/liver failure/erectile disfuntion) reaps billions of dollars for corporate America.

For the record everyone in my family who has MotorcycleRaced/Bungee cord Jumped/Alcohol Drank/Porn watched/Profaned is either dead or dying.

It continues to astonish me how selfish some MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners can be when it comes to subjecting the rest of us to their life-threatening habit!

Meanwhile, no one refutes the proven health risks, the threat to children, and the simple indecency of ruining a non-MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners' meal with their indifferent clouds of carbon emmisions/increased healthcare cost/unsafe roads/misogyny toward young women.

It's against the law to defaecate anywhere you want, so why shouldn't the government be allowed to regulate ever bodily function and human action?

I know everyone should have the freedom and right to MotorcycleRace/Bungee cord Jump/Alcohol Drink/Porn watch/Profane , but what about the rights of non-MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners ? Shouldn't non-MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners have a right to exist in a MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners -free atmosphere?

MotorcycleRacers/Bungee cord Jumpers/Alcohol Drinkers/Porn watchers/Profaners think about this...what if someone passes gas right next to you (more than once) when you are eating? Not too appealing to have bad odors when you eat, is it?

Hey - come to think of it - we should ban that too!

You're welcome.

There is a simple solution to all of this!

If smokers embrace electronic cigarettes, then the issue of smoking bans will be mute. There is no second-hand smoke, no odor, no carcinogens, no CO2, and no mess like ashes, butts, etc. from electronic cigarettes. If smokers of tobacco cigarettes would switch their habit to a non-tobacco electronic cigarette, we would have no further need to further infringe on the personal freedoms of any one group.

If you are smoker, consider it as an option.You won't be inhaling all the chemicals and carcinogens that you currently do from your tobacco cigarette. If you are a non-smoker, learn about the technology, and pass the information on to your friends who are smokers. The electronic cigarette is a win-win in so many ways.

You can learn all about this technology including the contents of electronic cigarette vapor and other information such as scientific studies fully documented at my informational website, http://www.NoTobacco.net/Blog

Thank you

This is really quite insane. Secondhand smoke is quite benign, as the level of actual smoke inhaled by those catching a whiff of a cigarette can only be measured in the parts per million. Have we become so offended by even just the light, rather fragrant smell (I think), of a cigarette being smoked nearby that we have to ban them from all public places?

If you're going to ban smoking, better ban leaf burning, campfires, charcoal barbecues, anything that produces smoke. God forbid you get a whiff of smoke. The most laughable part of this ban is the fact that we're talking about smoking in Los Angeles, in restaurants that often sit you 'outside' next to congested thoroughfares, where you can literally taste diesel and gas sediment in the air and on your food.

I've seen these pampered little gifts wrinkling their noses at someone having a post meal cigarette as though that person suddenly started spraying diarrhea on everyone. I have a message for these yoga practicing, wheatgrass drinking adult-sized infants. JUST. STOP. CRYING.

The non nicotine addicts should have the right to eat a meal outside without having the noxious fumes from the cigarette smokers blown into their faces.
For all this talk about cars and trucks being worse for people than smoking, I say that is a poor excuse. Cars and trucks are not blowing plumes of smoke within the outdoor dining section of my local restaurant. This bill has nothing to do with taking away freedoms, smokers have taken away the freedoms for the rest of society to be able to breathe non nicotine stained air for far too long. If you smoke you do not realize how terrible you and your smoke smell.


I wish they'd ban smoking outdoors - period. I take public transportation and walk a lot. I absolutely hate it when I get stuck walking behind someone who's smoking. All the smoke blows back to me. I either have to slow down so that the smoker is too far ahead for his smoke to get to me or hurry past him to get away from the smoke.
Your freedom to smoke should end when it infringes on my freedom to breathe smoke-free air.

"Yeah we banned smoking!"

Enjoy it nanny-staters until those very same people come after something you do that has been deemed "vile and disgusting." Then you will be the very first to scream how your rights are being violated. Yep, you celebrate the taking of OTHERS liberties giving endless ammo to those who already are looking to target the next "evil" product or activity. When you have your .25 soda or plastic bag tax, you will have no one to blame but yourselves.

In a City with so many infrastructural issues needing urgent attention, with its population almost deliberately divided, at a rapidly increasing loss for leisure and being daily rolled under the allegedly stainless wheels of gross-polluting developers, now comes this totally frivolous, intrusive and at best arbitrarily enforceable legislation of which the cadre of its Council proponents ought to be thoroughly ashamed.

Tom LaBonge, especially, is not only missing the point here, but utterly failing his constituents into the bargain.

The non-issue of smoking is one which only ever needs to be worked out between people themselves. Whoever sees this as a matter for third-party enforcement is basically admitting they don't have what it takes to get along amicably with other people.

I detest the brimstone odor of anybody who thinks like that.

Won't restaurants lose money because of this? Just what this economy needs. I don't smoke, but I think this should be the decision of the restaurant.

You know Hitler was a health freak and unfortunately these "Nazi Elected Officials" just pass more and more ridiculous laws taking away freedom bit by bit. Rome is burning......

Where your local LAPD Senior Lead Officer knows residents are interested in the ban on gas leaf blowers within 500 feet of a residence being enforced, it is more likely to be enforced. If reporting several times doesn't work, call him/her. Warning letters are the 1st step. Call 311. If blower is in operation, you may be connected to LAPD dispatch. If a car is nearby officers may respond. If not, they will at a later time. If it is not in operation you'll be connected to the report line. Give date, day of week, address, gardener's vehicle license number. DO report repeated violations.
WHO at Councilmember LaBonge's office told you, Sal, that the law is not being enforced? They should have told you how to go about it reporting.

It continues to astonish me how selfish some smokers can be when it comes to subjecting the rest of us to their life-threatening habit. One says he'll smoke whenever and where ever he wants, laws be damned. Another thinks banning smoke in restaurants is hypocrisy because they haven't banned gas-guzzlers. Meanwhile, no one refutes the proven health risks, the threat to children, and the simple indecency of ruining a non-smokers meal with their indifferent clouds of smoke. I suppose I could develop some perfume, some truly foul-smelling aerosol, and "smoke it" all around my seating area in a restaurant - and no one had a right to complain? It's against the law to defacate anywhere you want, so why should you be allowed to smoke anywhere you want?

This is ridiculous. It should be up to the restaurants. And to all the whiny commenters who complain on this board, we find you and your kids, annoying, too, at tables outside. And your dogs are a health hazard, too. If you ask a smoker nicely not to smoke outside, they will oblige. Stop relying on the state to be your mommy and daddy. Tobacco is legal and I pay taxes. I don't understand why the state gladly takes our money and then tells us we can't smoke. You can't have it both ways.

This is what the city council takes up its time with? With traffic at a standstill most days, schools in shambles, they sit around pondering people smoking outdoors?

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