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City to Force Tenants to Declare: Smoking or Non-smoking?

Santa Monica City Council moves to adopt smoking ban in apartments and condos in 4-2 vote. All current tenants, however, who choose to designate their units for smoking could continue to puff.

To smoke or not to smoke? Soon all the neighbors will know your answer.

Tenants of multi-family housing complexes will be required to publically disclose if they smoke under new regulations adopted Tuesday in an initial 4-2 vote by the Santa Monica City Council.

The new rules—which require a second vote before becoming law—ban smoking in all newly constructed units and those left vacant after the new rules are officially adopted.

"It’s your right to keep a messy home, but it’s not your right to keep such a messy home that attracts rats" to nearby units, said councilman Terry O'Day.

The ordinance includes a disclosure mandate that councilman Kevin McKeown said will "demonize smokers." Landlords will be required to compile and distribute to all current and prospective occupants a map pinpointing where smokers live.

Those council members in favor of the ban said they were choosing the rights of the "tenancies of the women with children coming to tell us about their  asthmatic conditions" over the rights of smokers.

"I'm tired of listening to folks [who say] we gotta protect the tenancies of chain smokers," said councilman Bobby Shriver.

Units occupied by residents who fail to disclose their smoking statuses will automatically become "non-smoking." And, every unit that becomes vacant after the law is passed, will be designated "non-smoking"—regardless of its prior designation.

"You might as well hammer a big yellow S on their front doors," said McKeown.

Those who smoke in "non-smoking" units will face a $100 fine. Repeat offenders will be subject to citations as high as $500.

The city has incrementally placed prohibitions on smoking.

In December, it voted to snuff out smoking in new hotels. The year prior, it  banned smoking in common areas and patios of multi-unit residences. Four years earlier, it placed a ban on the and outdoor dining areas. At that time, lighting up on the beach was already prohibited.

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"We are learning every day... how dangerous and how harmful second hand smoke is to us," said Mayor Richard Bloom.

Councilman Shriver said he and his colleagues have "dilly dallied" in waiting to adopt the smoking ban

As of November of last year, so-called smokefree housing policies have been adopted in 55 communities statewide, according to the American Lung Association in California. Details about each of the laws are included in a pdf to the right of this article.

Councilwoman Pam O'Connor joined McKeown in casting dissenting votes.

If the City Council approves the ordinance with a second vote, it will take effect 30 days after.

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marcopolo July 12, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Silly. Have we all become such babies? Our mindset as Americans is so flawed...instead of accepting someone's right to do what they please in privacy, we whine and moan "Oh I don't like this, I'm a victim, I'm gonna take your rights away because I disagree."
Jill July 12, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Never mind we still have all the fumes from Santa Monica traffic corridors, Santa Monica airport, Lax flight plans, herbasides, and hormone filled chickens and meat. In the old days when I was young everyone smoked everywhere. Non of the children I went to school with suffered from any of the ailments 2012 children of America have in their pediatric file.
Tim July 13, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This law should be challenged in court. This is a an invasion of privacy. If the city wishes to ban smoking in Santa Monica it should also ban the sale of any Tobacco products and surrender the tax dollars earned by the sale of tobacco. Just another money grab!
Chloe Ross July 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Tobacco farming, growing, processing + use from which it derives is not , I repeat NOT illegal. As such it's illogical to ban it because it is not a bannable substance. Restrictions apply to its sale + it is taxed. It is dangerous to one's health but tobacco lobbies spend bizillions of dollars to press Congress to keep it legal + available. As always I ask who will enforce such a law? Citizens? Probably not. Additional City Staff (which - due to budget cuts seemly highly unlikely). Building owners.? They want to rent apts. Will it demonize smoking. Licit or illicit - have laws decreased illicit drug use; have liquor laws helped decrease alcoholism. This ban is actionable and I reckon it will be in court as fast as the papers can be filed. Tim's suggestion that the city ban sale of tobacco products seems smarter to me. Just as I do not wish to have my body invaded by goverment and my rights sets aside - I also do not like the way in which small cities try and make statement "laws" that will garner them publicity and laughter. Until tobacco is a controlled substance (Lord no) it is not really subject to much legislation. Do your homework city of Santa Monica. You think you are setting a PC example but your are setting up for costly litigation. Is the revenue stream from this ban worth it? WeHo emulates you in many ways - I can see the writing on the wall. Rethink this. (BTW: I am Democrat, non-smoker (but did smoke) and my spouse smokes outside.)
allegra July 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I could not say it better than the first three commenters and McKeown. The City could also pass out yellow armbands with an S. Stones are readily available to non-smokers. This mentality does tend to lead to that mentality. I do wonder what happens if those fines are not paid. Does the City then, sue the smoking offender? If fines are racked up high enough to take the matter from civil into a criminal arena, are the smokers, then, arrested & tossed in jail? Outrageous!
Cin July 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I say next time I vote, it will not be for Bobby Shriver or any others who voted for this. I grew up with a father who smoked 3 packs a day, and I have no lung problems nor does anyone else in my family. There are more than 8 children in my family and most of them are 50+, so what does the research really tell you. Not much! The research out there is only media driven, there is no exact proof, just summations. No study has given their results to anyone in their peer group to be reviewed. So, who's right and who's wrong? I agree with the above comments, what's next? We can't drink?
Lord Lionheart July 13, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Morons. The US has obviously learned nothing from Prohibition. I'm a non-smoker originally from Europe, I have to laugh everytime Americans tell me how free it is here in the good old US of A. Apart from smoking, drinking outside bars, crossing the street, walking your dog on the beach, fireworks ban, street cleaning and numerous other punitive parking fines ( including the new parking meters that grab more money). The list goes on. There's nothing free about the US. They're taking your rights away one at a time
Sheila Lightfoot July 13, 2012 at 07:26 PM
This is truly creepy. Behold, the Nanny State in all its glory! I hate the use of Nazi comparisons because no horror could ever compare, but these tactics certainly bear resemblance. Weren’t Jews required to “turn themselves in” so they could be singled out? Will the next step be to encourage neighbors to turn in those who don’t step forward? And singling out the smokers on complex maps distributed to their neighbors? Will zealous non-smokers who have lived next to smokers for 20 years suddenly point to their newly revealed smoking neighbors as the cause of all their ailments? And what about marijuana smokers, do they have to turn themselves in? Will they have to reveal their weed of choice? Should their zealous anti-drug neighbors turn them into the Santa Monica police? A Council member pointed to smokers as the cause of illnesses like asthma. Seriously? I’m a baby boomer. As someone else mentioned, when we were kids everyone smoked everywhere… my Dad smoked in the car with the windows rolled up for crying out loud. I never knew a kid with asthma growing up and the country’s looming debt problems are partly due to the fact that we baby boomers are expected to live so long. Why aren’t we already dead from the effects from all those years of exposure to close proximity, indoor second hand smoke? Or, did it just become so dangerous in the last 10 years once it was discovered as a great political foil for our real problems?
Sheila Lightfoot July 13, 2012 at 07:26 PM
For politicians who want to ignore the real pollutants making people sick, from carbon emissions to the food we eat, they can always resort to schemes like this – TO PRETEND THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING TO PROTECT THEIR CONSITUENTS. Well, a big old pat on the back to you. You’ve just proven once again that the power to tell other people how to live their lives is what makes you feel important in this world. So, congratulations, you’re powerful and your superiority complexes and egomania are what make ME sick. You have no business being in positions of power! And for all you non-smokers who think this is great, just wait until they discover the thing about YOU that they can demonize to make themselves look good and feel superior.
SantaMonicaNative July 14, 2012 at 05:18 AM
If i remember correctly, mr. Shriver ran for office because he did not like the city telling him how high his hedges could be, How soon we forget the feel of the foot of opression from petty dictators who know what's best for you. With all the things in this town that need examination you fixate on smoking. What a pack of short sighted micromanagers. Since you want to tell me what to do in my apartment, you want to pay the payments too?
Mary Sanders July 16, 2012 at 08:35 PM
This is a total invasion of privacy. What we do in the privacy of our homes is not anyone's business. Again, this law is targeting "tenants" not homeowners which makes it another "class" law. And as someone already mentioned, why not just ban cigarettes altogether? Also, alcohol is another "killer." Why not ban alcohol in the city? Everyone knows smoking isn't a healthy choice, however, in a democracy we should be able to freely CHOOSE!!!!!
Mary Sanders July 16, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Right on! I'm so sick of these NIMBY's!
Jill July 16, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Here is my second post which I hope will expand on my first post. I have lived on Ocean Park Blvd. for many years, long before OPB became one more transit corridor. Clover Park is a great park, and kids and adults love it, BUT... it is built next to the S.M. airport where the rich zoom in and out on their private jets, and next to the business park where cars zoom in and out of the city, and a few yards from the Bundy, Centinela transit corridor of hell.. What will the Expo line give to people who live in East Santa Monica?. Not a damn thing but more dust and traffic. Second hand smoke ignores the building that has taken place between Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica city council wants you to believe there is one city council not two. One for north of wilshire and one for the rest of Santa Monica.
Rudolf Martin July 17, 2012 at 05:55 AM
another example of government trying to score cheap points with the public. reprehensible law.

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