Council Passes Stricter Citywide Smoking Ban

The expanded ordinance would now prohibit lighting up in picnic areas, within 25 feet of businesses that serve food and beverages, and in "buffer zones."

Smokers and some business owners in Mountain View are fuming with the City Council's decision Tuesday night to expand its smoking ordinance.

In a 4 to 3 vote–with Councilmembers Laura Macias, Tom Means and John Inks in dissension–the city approved a ban that prohibits smoking within 25 feet of outdoor dining areas open to the public, picnic areas in city parks and within a "buffer zone," define as an area also within 25 feet of "any doorway, operable window, crack, or vent into an enclosed area." Smoking while walking within the prohibited zones would be allowed.

The vote could have gone the other way, however, had it not been for the lively discussion held between the elected officials and arguments raised by members of the public about individual and business rights versus the public health—a discussion which swayed Councilwoman Ronit Bryant vote to "no."

The city's amended ordinance will now be stricter than state law and makes it a $100 fine for the first infraction for patrons or owners of bars or restaurants who violate the code. Fines increase to $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third.

Mountain View police officers will enforce the code, according to department Spokeswoman Liz Wylie. It will be "complaint driven," "a low-level priority call," and would depend on "officer availability," she said.

City Attorney Jannie Quinn clarified that the police department will not enforce proactively. Still, "it's not permitted under city code assuming it passes [a second reading]," said Quinn, who added the ordinance gives people a tool to complain and redress the issue. But even if they don't complain, "it's still not allowed."

With grants totaling $53,788 the city received from Santa Clara County Department of Health since 2010, city staff developed the tobacco ordinance and will now conduct outreach to educate businesses on the ordinance, increase signage and purchase more garbage receptacles to place on Castro Street and around the city.

At the session, the majority of public comments on the issue rejected the ordinance.

"This is a classic example of wanting to do something in the interest of people, but losing focus," said June Threadgould. "It's unenforceable. That's going to create an issue for police and people in downtown Mountain View."

Threadgould and her husband, Shaun Deacon, admitted to being smokers and wishing to stop, but felt the ban did not address the issue of smoking prevention. They expressed that the city's efforts should be primarily on youth education and increasing anti-smoking signs.

Also, they explained that the city lost sight of the fact that patrons to bars and pubs downtown enjoyed the ability to socialize in the areas currently designated for smokers, like the one at . Most of the time employees didn't serve drinks in those areas and if they did, those employees also smoked.

"We will still go downtown, but now will walk out to the parking lot," Threadgould said.

The owner of , Jackie Graham, felt the decision to restrict smoking in these establishments should have been left to the business owners. "I think it's a shame," she said. "Every business owner knows what works for them."

Graham said her international clientele smokes and "it sends the wrong message," to have them smoke 25 feet away from the bar. "It's very unwelcoming."

There was overall consensus about the negative affects of smoking, but the affects on non-smokers was the driving factor in the decision.

"What finally convinced me to go with this is the employees that work at these locations," said Councilman Jac Siegel. "I think about protecting people."

The amended smoking ordinance will go into effect 90 days after the second reading before city council.

Bob Peterson January 25, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Looks like the socialists have taken over MV. They are so embarrassed for their existence, that something like this makes them feel good.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 01:07 AM
The vote was close. I should have asked Ronit Bryant what was it at the end that swung her vote. Next time I see her I will.
JackE January 26, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D. Published In: Environment & Climate News Publication Date: July 1, 2008 Publisher: http://www.heartland .org/policybot/resul ts/23399/Scientific_ Evidence_Sho... myth-of-second-hand- smoke http://yourdoctorsor ders.com/2009/01/the -myth-of-second-hand -smoke BS Alert: The 'third-hand smoke' hoax http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-louisville/bs-alert-the-third-hand-smoke-hoax The thirdhand smoke scam http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/02/thirdhand-smoke-scam.html Heart attacks Frauds and Myths.. http://www.spiked-on line.com/index.php/s ite/article/7451/ Piece of Propaganda #4: Anti-Smoking Campaigns http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2006/10/08/piece-of-propaganda-4-anti-smoking-campaigns/
JackE January 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM
We’ve been told for years secondhand smoke is deadly dangerous but we are here alive and there are no deaths from it, not even close. It’s an exaggerated, created science all its own. It’s propaganda - fallacies created to have justifications for a new round of tobacco prohibition. I am for freedom, freedom for all people to have their own place in this world, including the smokers! Tobacco smoke maybe an irritant to some, but that’s about it. Its chemical makeup has been so exaggerated by tobacco control pundits, it’s insanity. Only 6 percent of tobacco smoke constitutes those 7,000 theorized and identified components of the smoke. Theorized is the word, since the claimed chemicals are themselves so small they can barely be detected. Nanograms, femtograms are the sizes of what can be detected so they theorize the rest. Four percent is carbon monoxide, while nearly 90 percent constitutes ordinary atmospheric air! These figures come from the surgeon general’s report in 1989. Oh the pundits may bring up benzene in tobacco smoke. The average cigarette produces roughly 300 micrograms of benzene (1986 report of the surgeon general. p.130) 0.3 micrograms - 300 nanograms.
JackE January 26, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Benzene is normally found in fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, beverages and eggs. The National Cancer Institute estimates that an individual may safely ingest up to 250 micrograms in their food per day, every single day of the year. Thus, the “safe” exposure to benzene from one day of a normal diet is roughly equal to the exposure experienced by a nonsmoker sharing an airspace with smokers for over 750 hours. It’s a political movement and it was never about health. ...
SavEcig January 26, 2012 at 06:53 PM
It's the battle of the scientists. This one says second hand smoke will kill you. The next one says third-hand smoke will kill you. (Third-hand smoke is the residue that is still on your clothes after you come back inside. You know, the "smell" of a smoker can kill you.) What's next? Fourth-hand smoke which is the "knowledge" that someone is a smoker affects your psychy, causing stress, causing you to have a heart attack. If it weren't for the increadibly high taxes charged for cigarettes, the PC crown would have just banned the things outright. There has never been a better time to switch to electronic cigarettes. No tar, no smell, no smoking bans, no cigarette taxes, and no PC weenies telling you what to do. http://www.savecig.com
Marlene Bakken February 22, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Of COURSE anti-smokers want a smoking ban and favor taxes foisted on some another segment of the population! It's a form of legal BULLYING! Of COURSE anti-smokers don't care that business owners lose their private property rights and citizens lose theirs for the legislatively forced preference of others, it's another form of legal bullying! Of COURSE, they're BULLIES! There is absolutely no basis since this has all been exposed as a sham like ClimateGate called SmokeGate. They use bogus "science" to hoodwink uneducated legislators into making unconstitutional laws in the name of "public health" that in essence just wipes out the competition in a brilliant marketing scam for pharmaceutical nicotine, and these legislators have no idea that they've given away OUR farm! The World Health Organization's study showing that SHS may even have a protective effect and not the least harmful was withheld because it didn't promote total control of the population. Need proof? http://web.archive.org/web/20021128202555/http:/www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1998/03/08/wtob08.html An abstract of the study is available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9776409?dopt=Abstract . The entire study can be found here. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/90/19/1440.full.pdf The WHO's press release is located here. http://www.who.int/inf-pr-1998/en/pr98-29.html
Marlene Bakken February 22, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Isn't it time that our elected officials from the city level to the federal level be indicted for bribery and thrown in prison along with the grant makers? I was under the assumption that bribery was illegal! Bribery: “The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.”And now that there has been a major breakthrough funded only by grieving parents of a deceased child that cures cancer that neither pharma nor the NIH would fund and in fact refused to because a cure would put them out of business, should ANYONE believe anything their tax-exempt arms fund? modernsurvivalblog.com/health/major-cancer-breakthrough-squelched-by-pharmaceuticals-and-us-govt/ Like smoking bans or bans on raw milk and other natural things? Bans are an albeit brilliant marketing scam for pharmas own nicotine products.These pharma funded bans are just that and they are meant to steal the rights of American citizens of their personal and private property rights.
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