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Petaluma City Council OKs tough smoking ban

By LORI A. CARTER

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Petaluma City Council unanimously voted Monday to broaden citywide restrictions on smoking to include private living spaces, medical marijuana and electronic cigarettes.

Most restrictions will take effect in a month in public places, such as bus stops, outdoor dining areas, city parking lots and commercial sidewalks.

The restrictions covering private living quarters will be phased in. In existing apartments, duplexes and condos — any housing with at least one shared wall — smoking will be prohibited beginning Dec. 16 to allow for leases to expire and to be changed. New multi-family housing units must be smoke-free by July 16.

Monday’s action was a second-reading of the ordinance, usually capped by a pro forma vote with little dialogue.

But questions had been raised since last month’s initial discussion, mostly about the inclusion of electronic cigarettes. No objections to regulating medical marijuana use were raised at either meeting.

Petaluma’s ordinance was the result of efforts by the American Lung Association and other health groups to protect nonsmokers from exposure to carcinogenic second-hand smoke.

Police Chief Pat Williams and Pam Granger of the Lung Association urged the council to treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarette smoke.

An e-cigarette consists of a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that contains a liquid suspension with nicotine. When a user inhales from the cartridge, the liquid is heated and a vapor is emitted. The devices often look like a cigarette or pen.

The federal Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate e-cigarettes that aren’t marketed as smoking-cessation aids. Because the safety of e-cigarettes hasn’t been fully studied, it is unknown how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals is being inhaled during use or expressed as vapor that could affect someone else.

With a lack of definitive studies, the council decided to restrict the devices.

“We’re going on what the best available science is right now for us,” Councilman Gabe Kearney said, who said he would be “more than willing to remove” the ban if studies later show e-cigarettes to be safe.

For Mayor David Glass, the issue was personal.

“I just finished 16 months of treatments for bladder cancer,” he said. “And the doctor says there’s a very good chance it was caused by second-hand smoke.”

Glass and Kearney joined Mike Healy, Teresa Barrett, Mike Harris, Chris Albertson and new Councilwoman Kathy Miller in voting for the restrictions.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com





10 Responses to “Petaluma City Council OKs tough smoking ban”

  1. oliver says:

    This isn’t about smoking but more about fundamental freedoms that are being taken away by neo nazis. what’s next ? you can’t have a pirate flag on your house, or paint it pink ?
    keep it up people!

  2. Patrick says:

    Why the ban on e-cigarettes? Because it looks like second smoke? Is that going to lead to something that looks like cancer?

    This is insane. They say they want to stop second-hand smoke, so what do they do? They ban something that helps people quit, and saves lives, out of ignorant fear.

    All the “best science” available shows that there is nothing harmful in exhaled e-cigarette vapor. By banning them in private homes, all they’ve done is shown they care more about keeping up the appearance of wanting to save people’s lives than to actually help save them.

  3. Sarah says:

    You could, as long as it did not cause any potential damage to anyone around you, or the air, or affected the environment in any way or even worse, your neighbor. There doesn’t have to be any proof that your combustion would hurt anyone, we are okay with making assumptions here in Petaluma, we don’t need facts or proof to make decisions. So go head and combust, just make sure we know who blame, we can’t have you leaving us with no one to point the finger at.

  4. Steveguy says:

    The way I see it is this– If I smoke in my own bedroom the Dems are controlling me, If I have sex the Repubs want to control me.

    Stay out of my bedroom, all of you. Leave me alone !!! Leave everyone alone, you Nazi’s.

    When does the ” Report Your Neighbor” for profit come into effect ? The normal ‘nosy neighbors’ now have Police Powers.

    Yes, the Police will get you for smoking. Make EVERYTHING illegal and fine us.

  5. Bill Clopton says:

    I thought the nanny state had it covered with our mandatory seat belts and helmets, but the nanny now wants us to not smoke at bus stops or parking lots. I’ll bet the Petaluma City council people then went out after voting and fired up their vehicles, spewing exhaust all the way home. Have you ever heard of anyone locking himself in the garage and smoking himself to death? Well, don’t try that with a car in the garage, or you’ll be dead before the car runs out of gas. I don’t smoke any more, but do enjoy the electronic “cigarette”, a misnomer, because there is no smoke, only steam. The ninnies in Petaluma also outlawed these, I suppose they’re too dumb to know the difference. When I did quit cigarettes, the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of car exhaust just about everywhere I went. Diesel is even worse. We have air pollution, light pollution (for us amateur astronomers) sound pollution and politician pollution. The politicians are the most offensive, in my view. Now that smokers are in the minority, lets stamp them out! Democracy is overrated. It’s 3 wolves and a chicken voting on what’s for dinner.

  6. brown act Jack says:

    80 years ago , when I was 10, every grammar school child, knew that cigarettes were dangerous and were , in fact, called “coffin nails” , but that never stopped them from trying to smoke!

    Perhaps the solution is to put a tax on smoking that would only go to a fund to treat lung cancer!
    You charge them 10cents a pack, or what ever is needed, to fund a program to pay for the cost of treatment or funeral for smokers.

    I was one of 6 children and only the non-smokers lived to be over 90 years old! 3 of them died young!

  7. Jim says:

    I think the city should ban the sale of cigarettes. So should the state and the Federal government. This would be a move in line with the Obama Administration’s health initiatives.

    Oh wait, then there would be $18+ billion dollars less in tax revenue. Guess they’ll keep talking out of both sides of their mouths. Business as usual.

  8. FedUp says:

    “Because the safety of e-cigarettes hasn’t been fully studied, it is unknown how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals is being inhaled during use or expressed as vapor that could affect someone else”

    “We’re going on what the best available science is right now for us,”

    I see, so now the _lack_ of evidence justifies curtailment of liberty.

    “I just finished 16 months of treatments for bladder cancer,” he said. “And the doctor says there’s a very good chance it was caused by second-hand smoke.”

    See comment above.

    Good-bye sweet America

  9. BigDogatPlay says:

    For Mayor David Glass, the issue was personal.

    “I just finished 16 months of treatments for bladder cancer,” he said. “And the doctor says there’s a very good chance it was caused by second-hand smoke.”

    Really? By someone blowing smoke up what?

    The council has far, far weightier issues to take up. And out new police chief, who I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to, seems to think this a large enough scale public safety issue that it warrants using the police power in this intrusive, privacy destroying way?

    It’s not going to be funny when the flight begins and the only thing left in town is city employees, politicians and people who don’t pay taxes.

  10. Grapevines says:

    So if I suffered from Spontaneous Human Combustion I couldn’t live in Petaluma, right??