Snuff Out Those Cigarettes in Calabasas
CALABASAS -- Life will be a drag for smokers in the city of Calabasas starting today, when a strict ban on lighting up in most outdoor spaces takes effect.
The ban, perhaps the most comprehensive smoking ban in the United States, prohibits smoking in all public places at times when other people can be exposed to secondhand smoke. Businesses can apply to create a designated smoking area far away from non-smokers starting in April.
The "Comprehensive Secondhand Smoke Control Ordinance" includes indoor and outdoor businesses, hotels, parks, sidewalks, restaurants and bars where people can be reasonably expected to congregate or meet, according to an announcement from the city of Calabasas.
Mayor Barry Groveman, a former prosecutor who co-wrote Proposition 65, a 1986 statute requiring businesses to post warnings if they expose people to potentially dangerous substances, came up with the idea of outlawing smoking in communal outdoor spaces -- at least in the horsey suburban town of 30,000.
Smoking has been banned on most Southern California beaches over the past two years. Some cities outlaw smoking in or near playgrounds and parks.
Groveman said he hoped the law would prompt operators of spaces such as malls and restaurants to establish segregated places to smoke.
People will still be allowed to smoke in their homes.
"The only exception is if your apartment, back yard or balcony is directly adjacent to a common area, such as a laundry room or pool," the city announced in a list of frequently asked questions on its Web site.
Applications for designated smoking areas will be available on the Web site some time in the beginning of April, they said.
Smokers who can't or won't kick the habit can still light up in public as long as they are "at least 20 feet away from any path of travel, doorway or place where people congregate."
If someone complains, the smoker will have to extinguish the cigarette or move, according to the ordinance.
People violating the ban will be ticketed and possibly fined. The city said it expects to rely on warnings and citations but will consider more serious penalties for willful or repeat offenders.
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