Santa Cruz, CA - extends outdoor smoking ban..

September 12, 2009 - Citing the dangers of second-hand smoke and the number of cigarette butts littering the streets and beaches, city leaders in Santa Cruz will meet Tuesday, September 8th to extend a smoking ban through much of downtown. (Santa Cruz to Vote on Major Smoking Ban,, 9/2/2009)

As expected city leaders on Tuesday, September 8th unanimously approved a smoking ban along Pacific Avenue, Beach Street and West Cliff Drive, among other spots, and agreed to consider a new fee on cigarette sales in the near future. These streets are in the city's downtown commercial district and the main street running along the beach. The measure also prohibits smoking within 25 feet of commercial doorways, windows and air ducts, and increases the required percentage of non-smoking hotel rooms in the city.

"Our kids are picking up cigarette butts, kids are breathing cigarette smoke and it doesn't encourage a family atmosphere," said Councilman Ryan Coonerty, who proposed the ban along with Councilmen Mike Rotkin and Don Lane at the prompting of many in town.

The ban was warmly received by the audience of about 40 people, most of whom supported the new rules. Corinne Highland told the council she hoped it would create a cleaner environment for her 3-year-old. "My 3-year-old picked up a cigarette butt and I shrieked," she said.

Some encouraged the council to go even further and eventually ban all outdoor smoking in Santa Cruz.

"The current amendments are a pitiful attempt to do the right thing. You get an F-plus," said longtime county resident Bob Yount, who first asked Councilwoman Katherine Beiers for a downtown smoking ban in 1996.

One opponent to the proposed ban wondered how big an impact the new rules will have, as cars are still polluting the air with their exhaust. "This room used to be filled with people smoking cigarettes at City Council meetings. No one died at those meetings," said Scott Graham of Santa Cruz. "If I were to back my car into this room and let it run for 10 minutes, everyone would be dead."

The new rules would take effect Oct. 20. For the first month, police would issue only warnings. After that, citations. Coonerty said the fines would run somewhere around $35-$50.

Reference: Santa Cruz approves smoking ban for Pacific Avenue, Beach Street, West Cliff Drive by GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER,, 9/9/2009; Santa Cruz considers expanded smoking ban, Associated Press, 9/2/2009; Santa Cruz Expands Smoking Ban
Ban Prohibits Smoking Within 25 Feet Of Commercial Doorways - Associated Press, 9/9/2009.

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