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Palo Alto moved a step closer Monday night to outlawing smoking in all parts of the downtown and California Avenue business districts.
The city council voted 8-1 to task city staff with gathering feedback from the community on such a ban, as well as researching what other jurisdictions have done. The Policy and Services Committee would then mull the information and make a recommendation to the full city council.
A wholesale ban would build on the council's decision earlier this year to prohibit people from lighting up in parks and increase the no-smoking buffer around building entrances to 25 feet. It would essentially eliminate a handful of areas in the business districts where smoking is still legal, making the restrictions easier to enforce.
Smoking kills about six people every minute and is the biggest cause of adult death in the developed world. Smoking during pregnancy can have devastating effects on the health of the child. Studies indicate that a person who smokes more than a pack of cigarettes a day doubles the risk of developing cataracts, a disease in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy.
Ted Rudow III, MA