First U.S.City To Ban Smoking - Belmont, CA

<p>While other cities ponder various types of smoking bans, a small suburb on the San Francisco peninsula has gone 'all the way', banning the activity in all places except single-family detached residences.</p>
November 18, 2006, 4pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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"The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night (Nov. 14) to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one's car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

The actual language of the law still needs to be drafted and will likely come back to the council either in December or early next year.

Armed with growing evidence that second-hand smoke causes negative health effects, the council chose to pursue the strictest law possible and deal with any legal challenges later. Last month, the council said it wanted to pursue a law similar to ones passed in Dublin (East Bay) and the Southern California city of Calabasas. It took up the cause after a citizen at a senior living facility requested smoke be declared a public nuisance, allowing him to sue neighbors who smoke.

The council's decision garnered applause from about 15 people who showed up in support of the ordinance. One woman stood up and blew kisses to the council, another pumped his fist with satisfaction."

"I'm astounded. I admire their courage and unanimous support," said Serena Chen, policy director of the American Lung Association of California.

"Chen has worked in this area since 1991 and helped many cities and counties pass no smoking policies, but not one has been willing to draft a complete ban."

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Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 in San Mateo Daily Journal
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