Smoking may be put out in South City 

South San Francisco could soon join the growing list of San Mateo County cities to ban smoking in public places.

The City Council will vote at the end of the month on the proposed anti-smoking ordinance, which would ban it from indoor common areas, public events and outdoor public property such as benches, among several other specific places. It is the first of its kind in the city, affecting the downtown commercial area surrounding City Hall and mixed use zones along Linden Avenue.

But it isn’t unique legislation in San Mateo County. Belmont set the milestone in anti-smoking laws in 2007 with some of the state’s strictest regulations when it banned smoking in apartments and condos.

Within the past three years, cities including Burlingame, Pacifica, San Carlos and Redwood City are among the 21 in the county that have restricted smoking in parks, beaches or other public areas.

Officials in those cities can’t really measure the success of the bans — whether their cities are healthier or smoking less — but it has been an effective way for residents who don’t want to be subjected to the lung irritation to plead their cases.

“We get about two or three calls a month,” Belmont Code Enforcement Officer Kirk Buckman said. “[The smokers] understand when it’s explained to them. They’re not always happy, but I’ve never had to issue a citation.”

In Belmont, it’s a $100 fine if enforced, but South San Francisco is still working out details before the City Council votes July 28.

If approved, the law could go into effect in September.

And though it is a personal choice, health officials will always push for a way to reduce ingesting what they call a Class A

“We feel that protecting residents from the hazards of tobacco is something of a responsibility of the county,” said Edith Cabuslay, program services manager in the county’s Health Department. “We offer city councils a list of policies that have been implemented inside and outside of San Mateo County and model policies, and we have offered them resources as they consider them.”

A worker at the Fairway Cocktail Lounge, located on El Camino Real, said there already is a sign on that establishment’s door that asks people not to smoke within 30 feet of the place, which has hit the nerves of patrons, but smokers are fickle and when they want to smoke — they will find a way.

Butts out

South San Francisco will considering expanding its anti-smoking ordinance at a July 28 City Council meeting.

Current ordinance
Smoking is prohibited in ticket areas and waiting rooms of transit terminals and stations.

Proposed expansion

  • Places of employment
  • Indoor common areas
  • Public places (such as parks and tot lots)
  • City buildings
  • City vehicles
  • Elevators
  • Service areas
  • Public and quasi-public areas
  • Downtown outdoor public property (this includes, but is not limited to, sidewalks, benches and walkways within the downtown commercial and downtown mixed-use zones)
  • Downtown dining areas
  • Downtown entryways and exits
  • Public events

Source: South San Francisco

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