Smoking law closer

The Glendale City Council is one step closer to adopting the first major controls on outdoor smoking following this week's meeting.

The smoking control ordinance, which has been the subject of a number of debates over the past several months, has been officially introduced and will be voted on next week. All signs indicate a unanimous approval for the law as currently constituted.

Some fine tuning Tuesday involved another approach to one of the major issues in the law, a ban on smoking in outdoor eating areas, and a clarification of the limits on smoking near schools.

The council had worked out a compromise by which smoking areas would be allowed in outdoor dining if they could be separated with a barrier or located at least ten feet from non-smoking tables. The council decided the ten-foot rule was unworkable, and opted for language calling for a marked separation between smoking and non-smoking areas. Under either rule, the law will ban smoking at smaller outdoor dining establishments.

The council also decided to add a specific ban requiring no smoking within 20 feet of schools, except in private residences. The language will strengthen existing state law banning smoking near schools and playgrounds.

Despite continued lobbying by anti-smoking groups, the council decided not to address the subject of a ban on smoking in multi-unit apartments, though landlords will continue to be asked to enforce a smoking ban in public areas of apartment buildings. The law does not include any controls on condominium units.

The law will ban smoking in outdoor assembly areas, though the city can designate a smoking area, and at places of employment open to the public.

Tuesday's debate was free from the tinge of ethnic dispute, when the smoking battle was sidelined into a dispute over whether Armenian Americans were more likely to be smokers. The Glendale Chamber of Commerce softened its opposition to the ordinance, citing compromises such as the outdoor dining controls as modified.

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