Next week it would be very difficult for smoking citizens of Menlo Park to light up in public places and in the common areas of apartment and condominium complexes.
Thus Menlo Park will become the latest Peninsula city banning smoking.
The city council is going to reconsider a proposed ordinance that will prohibit smoking in parks, athletic fields, transit stops and other public places on the meeting. Also the ordinance will ban smoking in the common areas of apartment and condominium buildings including stairways, lobbies, laundry rooms, swimming pools and associated parking areas.
This law would not restrict smoking on streets and sidewalks, except when they are being used for some city-sponsored events as for example parades and fairs and at uncovered parking lots.
Despite the fact that smoking would be outlawed inside restaurants and bars, the ordinance would permit it on their outside patios. Smoking also would be allowed inside tobacco shops.
When the city council reconsidered the ordinance in March, it demanded various changes, such as eliminating liability for landowners deemed to be in compliance with the law and setting apart existing tobacco retailers, namely Knickerbockers Cigars.
The latest variant of the ordinance would widen the exemption that the council members demanded for the popular Santa Cruz Avenue tobacco retailer and to any tobacco shop currently open or that would come in the future.
“I am surprised that Menlo Park will consider permitting outdoor smoking areas when other cities and countries are implementing restrictions on them,” Karen Licavoli from Breathe California, non-profit organization aimed at lung health promotion stated at the conference.
“The majority is closing, that is where the trend is going. This happens due to the increasing number of researches and investigations on the impacts of secondhand smoke on outdoor areas as well,” Licavoli stated.
Licavoli cited a 2007 Stanford study which showed that a non-smoker a few feet downwind from a lit cigarette is likely to be exposed to considerable levels of toxic tobacco fumes.
Peninsula cities that have adopted severe smoking bans are: San Mateo, San Carlos and Belmont. At present South San Francisco’s council is examining an anti-smoking ordinance.
Barbara Franklin the citizen of Menlo Park is the initiator behind the city’s suggested smoking ordinance. She started this fight about two years ago after a man who smoked moved into the condominium below hers. But the newest law cannot stop the man from smoking as the residential unit’s excepting balcony or patio is not considered a common area.
“I am pleased with the suggested ordinance. It requires more time to protect people,” she concluded.