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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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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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