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West Hollywood to debate tight limits on outdoor smoking

September 7, 2010 |  8:51 am

The West Hollywood City Council on Tuesday evening will discuss extending a smoking ban to outdoor patios and open-air spaces.

Officials are not yet ready to vote on such a ban because it must first be drafted and considered by a city-appointed task force.

The goal is take on the city’s smoking habit, which persists despite West Hollywood’s existing tough tobacco restrictions. The city already prohibits smoking in public places, indoor areas of restaurants, and bars and work spaces.

Yet it has the fourth-highest smoking rate compared with Los Angeles' 15 city council districts and the more than 100 cities and unincorporated communities in Los Angeles County, according to a June report from the county health department.

A West Hollywood task force has met six times to work out a potential ordinance. Concerns raised include a possible negative effect on restaurants and hotels, which cater to international travelers more likely to smoke.

A staff report suggested otherwise: “Research analyzing the economic impact of indoor smoking bans suggests that there is more likely to be an economic benefit from creating smoke-free environments.

"The City of Beverly Hills is the only city known to have conducted an analysis of the economic impact of their outdoor smoking ban which, while limited in scope, shows there was a net economic benefit for most businesses,” the staff report stated.

Members of the task force generally, but not unanimously, supported a ban exemption for outdoor areas of bars and nightclubs because neighboring competing venues in Hollywood are exempt from rules adopted in Los Angeles.

The public portion of Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd.

-- Howard Blume