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Newport Beach : Anti-Smoking Proposal Results in 40 Letters

Forty people felt strongly enough about Newport Beach’s proposed anti-smoking ordinance to write letters to City Hall--almost all in favor of the law, which will be up before the City Council Monday.

Among the correspondents was County Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, whose letter was actually addressed to Newport Beach attorney Michael Christianson, who originally proposed that the city enact such a law. Riley noted that he was on the losing end of a failed effort to strengthen the county’s anti-smoking ordinance and added that “the Board of Supervisors has a responsibility to protect citizens from the present dangers of tobacco smoke.”

City employee Betty Connell urged the council to protect the rights of smokers as well as non-smokers. “This appears to be dictatorial in context and possibly an overkill,” she wrote.

Under the city’s proposal, restaurants would be required to reserve a fourth of their serving areas for non-smokers. All employers would have to prohibit smoking in an employee’s “work area” if requested, and the employer could be required to expand the no-smoking zone if the problem persisted.

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Smoking would be prohibited in elevators, indoor public meetings, theaters and auditoriums. Violations would be punishable by fines of $50 for the first offense, followed by $100 and then $250 successive infractions within a year.

Twenty-four letters were submitted by city employees and the rest by citizens, including three employees of the Bank of America next door to City Hall.


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