Laguna Woods - city would be the first in Orange County to ban smoking on patios and balconies in multi-unit residential areas..

March 22, 2011 - Laguna Woods has become the first city in Orange County, California, to prohibit tobacco smokers from lighting up on their home patios or balconies, according to a story by Claire Webb for the Orange County Register.

The City Council’s new law, which will go into effect in just under a month, will apply whether the patios are open or enclosed, though residents would be allowed to smoke tobacco on enclosed patios if all patio windows and doors were closed.

The city adopted an ordinance prohibiting smoking in enclosed and unenclosed public areas. The ordinance was amended in 2006 to prohibit smoking in shared carports and entryways in multi-family residential buildings.

In December, the council asked that its ordinance be revised to prohibit smoking in and on unenclosed patios and balconies in multifamily residential facilities – apartments, condominiums, cooperatives and group homes. The council also considered prohibiting smoking
inside homes unless all windows and doors of the units are closed, but tabled that provision for further study.

"We are not yet ready to regulate smoking within houses," said Mayor Pro Tem Cynthia Conners.

Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach have similar policies that prohibit smoking on outdoor patios and balconies for restaurants and dining areas. Some cities in Orange County have banned smoking at public parks and beaches. Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and San Clemente have ordinances that prohibit smoking on beaches and piers, according to Earth Resource Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on environmental education.

Keane said the city's code enforcement officer first would issue a warning and would cite a resident if complaints continued. A citation carries a fine of up to $50. Each day a violation continues is considered a new violation, according to the report.

Outside Orange County, Belmont has prohibited smoking inside all apartments and condominiums that share common walls with another unit. Calabasas has prohibited smoking in all indoor and outdoor common areas in multi-unit housing, and in Northern California, Dublin, CA strengthens smoking rules for apartment complexes with 16 or more units - San Francisco Bay Area..

Thirteen cities and jurisdictions in California - Contra Costa County, Sebastopol, South Pasadena, Pinole, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, Rohnert Park, Dublin, Loma Linda, Novato, Calabasas, Belmont and Temecula – have prohibited smoking in a certain percentage of units in multiunit housing complexes, according to The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing. The ordinances are an attempt to protect tenants from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to center reports.

Thirty four cities and counties in California have smoke-free housing policies, meaning ordinances that restrict smoking in residential areas in an effort to address secondhand smoke affecting neighboring units, according to the center.

Policies on the city and county level can range from requiring smoking to be prohibited in a certain percentage of units to encouraging landlords to designate nonsmoking units.

Another Orange County new brief: California - La Palma's Central Park will be tobacco-free starting February 1, 2011..

Reference: Residential patio smoking ban first in O.C. by CLAIRE WEBB, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/17/2011.