EL CERRITO (CBS SF) — El Cerrito is going from zero to 100 in a move that would ban smoking from most public, residential and commercial areas.
The city unanimously approved the first reading of the Smoking Pollution Protection Ordinance at a City Council meeting Tuesday. If it passes in October, El Cerrito would have one of the most comprehensive smoking regulations in the state.
For years, El Cerrito has been fighting to improve its “F” grade from the American Lung Association. Neighboring cities like Richmond and Berkeley have maintained their “A” grades for laws that ensure smoke-free outdoor areas and housing while also reducing the sales of tobacco products.
Community Outreach Specialist Suzanne Iarla says it’s inspired the city to craft a similar ordinance that also identifies smoke as all forms of tobacco, marijuana, and any other weed or plant, including e-cigs.
“There was overwhelming support from the community to have these strong regulations to protect the public from effects of smoking,” Iarla said.
Smoke-free areas would include open and commercial space like the Ohlone Greenway, sidewalks, bus stops and other places where people publicly congregate.
The ordinance also targets multi-unit housing and would require landlords to keep private and common areas of residences smoke-free.
Iarla said several landlords expressed opposition to 100 percent smoke-free housing, but the majority were happy to comply.
The El Cerrito Police Department will be primarily responsible for enforcing the would-be law with penalties ranging from $100-500 per violation.
There will be a second reading at their Oct. 7 meeting, and if adopted then, it will become effective on January 1, 2015.