Smokers soon won’t be able to light up in or near parks, restaurants patios and other public places in La Cañada Flintridge.
The City Council approved an ordinance on Monday night that bans smoking at or within 20 feet of city-owned property, outdoor dining areas, shopping centers and public events. The law also prohibits smoking on recreational trails.
The law is scheduled to go into effect in September.
The city’s Youth Council proposed the smoking ban to the council in July, which is intended to reduce second-hand smoke in La Cañada.
Council members and city staff said they haven’t received many complaints from residents or business owners who would be affected by the change. Some letters written from community members to council members criticized the law for infringing on an individual’s rights, they said.
But City Council members ultimately decided to go forward with the law, calling it an appropriate measure to improve public health.
“This is different than unruly customers at a restaurant, this is different than somebody talking on their cellphone,” said Councilman Donald Voss. “That’s not going to harm your health. This is going to harm your health.”
Councilman Dave Spence abstained from voting on the measure, calling it an unnecessary layer to add to existing smoking laws.
“It’s overreaching, in my opinion,” he said.
Less than a dozen restaurants will be affected by the ban. The Youth Council pondered adding the option for business owners to apply for a permit to allow smoking on patios, but decided it was contradictory to the purpose of reducing second-hand smoke, said Chris Castruita, a management intern for the city.
Smoking will still be allowed on public sidewalks, in unenclosed areas surrounding commercial and industrial properties, and at designated “smoking outposts.” The ban excludes electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.
Smoking is already banned in most enclosed public places and near playgrounds and government buildings.
Mayor Laura Olhasso said the law was a natural next step in reducing smoking in public places.
“It wasn’t infringing on people’s rights when we banned smoking in airplanes, it wasn’t infringing on people’s rights when we banned smoking in restaurants...” she said. “To me, this is not unreasonable.”