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VENTURA : Council May Review Anti-Smoking Law

A Ventura City Council committee will ask the entire council to review its anti-smoking ordinance--one of the strictest in the county--before all its provisions take effect Feb. 24.

Formed largely because a handful of restaurant owners and bingo club operators objected to the new law, the smoking committee agreed Monday that the council should at least consider bringing its ordinance in line with state law, which is laxer.

State law does not force restaurants with bars to ban smoking until 1997. Ventura’s ordinance, by comparison, says that smoking in restaurants with bars must end by Feb. 24--unless the restaurant owner installs a ventilation system in the bar that directs the smoke away from the restaurant.

State law also says that if federal or state agencies decide that filtration systems are effective in cleaning the air of smoke, restaurants with bars can install the less-expensive filtration systems rather than investing in a new ventilation system. Ventura’s ordinance does not allow for that.

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Finally, state law gives bingo parlors more time to comply with the anti-smoking restrictions--unlike the Ventura ordinance, which says they must also ban smoking beginning next month.

The committee--composed of Councilmen Jim Monahan and Gregory L. Carson--agreed that the council should consider bringing its ordinance in line with state law on these points before the ordinance takes effect Feb. 24, city officials said.


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