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San Rafael Passes Strict New Smoking Ban

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SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – The San Rafael City Council on Monday evening unanimously approved a strict new ordinance that prohibits smoking in multi-family housing with two or more units and in certain outdoor public places.

The city’s municipal code currently prohibits smoking in common indoor areas of multi-unit residential properties.

The new law bans smoking inside all duplexes, apartments, and condominiums, on patios and balconies and in indoor and outdoor common areas.

“It covers 100 percent of multi-family housing,” said Rebecca Woodbury, a management analyst in the city manager’s office.

Owners of multi-family housing, however, can designate outdoor areas where smoking is allowed if those areas meet certain criteria, Woodbury said.

Multi-unit properties have one year to comply with the ordinance, which takes effect Nov. 15, Woodbury said.

The ordinance also prohibits smoking entirely in all city park and outdoor recreation areas, but allows designated smoking areas at community centers.

In addition, it bans smoking on all sidewalks, pedestrian areas and public places within a specific boundary of downtown San Rafael.

Pedestrians passing though those areas will still be able to smoke, but cannot remain stationary, Woodbury said.

“The thinking is, smoke disperses when people are moving and is less harmful,” Woodbury said.

In other public areas outside downtown San Rafael, smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of doorways of businesses.

Woodbury said San Rafael’s ordinance is stricter than others in the county.

The ordinance comes back to the council for a second reading on Oct. 15.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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