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Local News in Brief : Smoking Ordinance Passes First Hurdle

The Santa Monica City Council, after 3 1/2 hours of debate, voted overwhelmingly to give preliminary approval to a smoking ordinance for all restaurants in the city.

If the law is given final approval in two weeks, eating establishments throughout Santa Monica, including some of the trendiest in Los Angeles, would be required to set aside at least 60% of their seats for non-smokers.

The vote was 6 to 1, with Councilwoman Christine Reed dissenting, saying it was unfair not to exempt small restaurants.

Last January, the council considered and voted down a stricter ordinance, which would have required restaurants to place 70% of their seats in no-smoking sections.

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A contingent of 18 people, including several physicians, urged the council to pass the strictest possible law. But restaurateurs asked that there be flexibility for eatery operators to shift no-smoking sections on a night-by-night basis according to demand.


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