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Santa Cruz Smoking Ban Downtown (Sentinel repost)
City leaders on Tuesday unanimously approved a smoking ban along Pacific Avenue, Beach Street and West Cliff Drive, among other spots, and agreed to consider a new fee on cigarette sales in the near future.
SANTA CRUZ -- City leaders on Tuesday unanimously approved a smoking ban along Pacific Avenue, Beach Street and West Cliff Drive, among other spots, and agreed to consider a new fee on cigarette sales in the near future.
"Our kids are picking up cigarette butts, kids are breathing cigarette smoke and it doesn't encourage a family atmosphere," said Councilman Ryan Coonerty, who proposed the ban along with Councilmen Mike Rotkin and Don Lane at the prompting of many in town.
The ban was warmly received by the audience of about 40 people, most of whom supported the new rules. Corinne Highland told the council she hoped it would create a cleaner environment for her 3-year-old.
"My 3-year-old picked up a cigarette butt and I shrieked," she said.
Some encouraged the council to go even further and eventually ban all outdoor smoking in Santa Cruz.
"The current amendments are a pitiful attempt to do the right thing. You get an F-plus," said longtime county resident Bob Yount, who first asked Councilwoman Katherine Beiers for a downtown smoking ban in 1996.
One opponent to the proposed ban wondered how big an impact the new rules will have, as cars are still polluting the air with their exhaust.
"This room used to be filled with people smoking cigarettes at City Council meetings. No one died at those meetings," said Scott Graham of Santa Cruz. "If I were to back my car into this room and let it run for 10 minutes, everyone would be dead."
The new ban prohibits smoking within 25 feet of public doors and windows and increases the required percentage of non-smoking hotel rooms in Santa Cruz from 75 percent to 90 percent. It also eliminates smoking on city property, including the wharf and City Hall, its adjacent parking lots, all parks and the West Cliff Drive recreational path, benches and landscaping.
The new rules are slated to take effect Oct. 20. Police would issue only warnings for the first month and then move to citations.
The issue has grown especially important, city leaders said, after the American Lung Association of California last year gave Santa Cruz a D grade for lax efforts to control tobacco smoke in public places. That grade came despite a Community Assessment Project report that showed 90 percent of county residents do not smoke.
City leaders also asked staff to return at a future meeting with information on a potential new fee on cigarette sales inside city limits to help fund cigarette butt cleanup efforts.
NEW SMOKING RULES
If approved, the proposed Santa Cruz smoking rules would ban lighting up in the following places:
Within 25 feet of any door or window used by the public
All of Pacific Avenue, Beach Street between the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and Third Street, West Cliff Drive
In all city parks and on Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf
In all outside dining areas, such as bars, coffee shops and restaurants
The new rules also would increase the required percentage of non-smoking hotel rooms in Santa Cruz from 75 percent to 90 percent.
SOURCE: City of Santa Cruz
Original link to article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_13296659