PALO ALTO (KCBS)— A Palo Alto city council committee voted Tuesday night (3-0) to significantly expand the city’s smoking ban to its downtown and commercial areas. Stanford Shopping Center customers and area residents have mixed feelings on the proposal.

Palo Alto banned smoking in parks and open space preserves last summer. Now the council’s Policy and Services Committee has approved broadening to include virtually all commercial areas like California Avenue and Stanford Shopping Center.

“That’s going to be a problem. Where can I smoke? I already have to walk away from my job to go all the way to the other side of another building to smoke,” said Mike Anthony, who works at the shopping center.

Shopper Shayla Furlong voiced support for the proposal.

“For me personally, I think it’s safer for our community our children, our families if we can provide a smoke-free environment at businesses. It’s a healthier work environment for the employees that work at these businesses as well,” she said.

The plan would also ban smoking at all outdoor eating areas. One employee said that’s taking it too far and that it’s taking too many rights away.

A committee member also suggested a smoking ban at multi-unit buildings. The ordinance affecting commercial districts could go into effect this fall.


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