The city of Lodi is considering cracking down on places where smokers can light up.
State lawmakers have already written laws that prohibit smoking within 20 feet of a government building or at your place of work. But, they've left local smoking laws to local government and Lodi will now consider making smoke free zones outside apartment complexes and outside business buildings with multiple tenants.
According to the city, a tenant at one Lodi business park complained about one of his neighbors to the landlord, who then asked Mayor Bob Johnson for help. Steve Schwabauer is the Lodi City Attorney and says, "The tenant has a medical office. The tenant's neighbor smokes right outside the window and the air conditioning vent and smoke gets drawn into the doctor's building."
Previously, smokers and those against more nanny government have argued that such regulation infinges on their rights. Schwabauer disagrees. "The people have civil rights to be treated equally," he says. "They don't have a civil right to smoke outside."
The city council asked for a public comment session to be put on the schedule. Local businesses we spoke with favor banning smoking where it makes sense. Ken Sato of Ken Sato Studio says, "I think it's pretty broad to ban everything. I don't think it all should be banned. It should be a matter of personal integrity." Jennifer Bryan with Innovative Senior Rehab says she would be fine with smoking being allowed near buildings that are not providing medical services. "We offer physical occupational therapy to seniors," she says. "We do have people coming in with oxygen at times and have respiratory issues, so for me, the ban would be great."
The unnamed tenant approached the landlord, Randy Snider, three months ago. Mayor Johnson and the City Council asked Schwabauer to put the issue before the public for comment. He says that should happen within three weeks.