Smoking Outside: CA Los Angeles
L.A. Considers Extremist Outdoor Ban
Reported by: Michael J. McFadden, Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”
Suddenly the calm was broken. Sirens screeched through the night and the flashing red and blue lights and black vans filled with SWAT police swooped into the neighborhood. An anonymous caller had rung in a rat snitch on a tobacco smoker lighting up in an alleyway where children normally congregated to shoot medicinal heroin with government sterilized-and-approved syringes. The smoker tried to run but some decent public spirited muggers pulled out their pieces and laid down a withering line of automatic dum dum fire in his path.
The SWAT team surrounded him but was limited by their inability to approach close enough for a clear line of fire: he still held his burning murder between his nicotine stained fingers and poison gasses swirled around him. They called for backup and cleared the civilian population from the surrounding area. A borrowed military helicopter swooped in, dropped a low grade nuke, and the smoker was history.
Within hours, life as normal had returned to the bucolic street scene of healthy Los Angeles.
LA Council Considers Smoking Ban “Where People Congregate”
Nov. 10th, 2010
By Christina Villacorte
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously directed its attorneys Wednesday to prepare an ordinance that would ban smoking in “all public areas and common areas where people congregate.”
Councilman Bernard Parks said the idea is not to ban smoking, but regulate where it can be done.
“I think you go down a path that you can’t recover from (when you begin) talking about banning smoking because I think that’s an individual decision, but we can protect people who have no desire to smell smoke,” Parks said.
He expects the proposed ordinance to be ready for final approval sometime next year.
Smoking is already banned in restaurants and other public places, such as parks and beaches.
In Parks’ motion — approved 13-0 Wednesday — the councilman called for a comprehensive and citywide ordinance that would ban smoking in “all public areas and common areas where people congregate, including, but not limited to, indoor and outdoor businesses, hotels, parks, apartment common areas, restaurants and bars, and beaches.”
Parks added, “We need to implement legislation to regulate cigarette smoking by limiting it to specific places where there is no expectation of involuntary contact with people — wherever people congregate or there is an expectation of people being present, (then) smoking should be prohibited.”
Vanessa Peterson with the American Lung Association told the council that tobacco is the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease in California, and that more than 60,000 Americans exposed to second-hand smoke die each year.
A study prepared by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department showed about 1 million smokers countywide and about 435,000 in the city.
The same study estimated that tobacco-related diseases cost the county $4.3 billion a year.
Parks said smoking is a voluntary addiction and not a right protected by the Constitution, “yet secondhand smoke harms an involuntary population which has a right to clean air and a clean environment and which is protected by many public health laws.”
Monty Messex, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control and Prevention Program, said second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous.
“There is some data that shows that it is worse for you because the second hand smoke that people breathe is from the end of the cigarette, and also being exhaled,” he said. “Second-hand smoke that’s breathed by a person who’s not smoking has been cooled and sometimes will be breathed deeper into their lungs.”
Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Calabasas have already enacted ordinances similar the one being proposed by Parks.
Calabasas Mayor Barry Groveman testified Wednesday that his city’s ordinance is “nothing that stops people from smoking — it’s only designed to stop the second-hand smoke exposure to people who don’t want to face the consequences of second-hand smoke.”
“It’s no different than stopping people from firing weapons, or having bullets land on people,” Groveman added. “We have a right to use police power to protect people.”
Read more on the L.A.story and listen to an L.A. Councilman on our side at Juliette Tworsey’s blog:
Los Angeles Tobacconists Gear Up for Showdown on Outdoor Smoking
December 22, 2009
When indoor smoking was legislatively banned in Los Angeles restaurants, many restaurant owners opened outdoor patios in order to survive. Now, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, they face possible extinction as a move to ban outdoor smoking at restaurants picks up traction.
The Los Angeles City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee agreed earlier this month to prohibit smoking within 10 feet of restaurant patios, gardens and decks. Under the proposed ordinance, any space within 30 feet of a food truck also will be defined as an ‘outdoor dining area.’ The measure would not apply to nightclubs and bars that require patrons to be 18 or older.
The Committee is headed by Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes parts of Hollywood, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Koreatown. LaBonge has indicated he wants a final council vote on the ordinance before the end of this year.
Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR, said LaBonge was exhibiting signs of a tobaccophobe because he seems to be obsessed with an irrational fear of tobacco.
“This makes no sense at all. Councilman LaBonge is being irrational, anti-business, and is depriving all Californians and out-of-state tourists their constitutional rights. Supporters of this measure have been misled into blindly spreading misinformation about smoking,” he said.
McCalla cited the claim that there is no safe level for secondhand smoke.
“That simply isn’t true. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are safe levels for secondhand smoke. In fact, OSHA says they are up to 25,000 times higher than are found in bars and restaurants,” McCalla said.
“Los Angeles restaurateurs already have been deprived of their right to decide whether or not to go smoke-free in their establishments. But when the City Council wants to ban outdoor smoking at these restaurants, that’s when we – smokers and non-smokers, alike – must challenge them,” said McCalla.
“The premium cigar and pipe tobacco business is not ‘big tobacco.’ For the most part, our 2,000 members are a collection of mom-and-pop neighborhood businesses that employ local people and pay local, state and federal taxes. People enjoy our products as they would a fine wine or specialty beer with friends. And we will fight for our right to do so, even on Los Angeles’ restaurant patios,” he said.
Los Angeles City Councilor Claims that Secondhand Smoke is More Harmful than Active Smoking; Pushes Ban on Smoking Everywhere Outdoors
August 13, 2008
By Michael Siegel
According to Los Angeles City Councilor Bernard Parks, breathing in secondhand smoke is more dangerous than actively smoking. In a commentary in City Watch and a press release, Parks uses this “fact” to justify his proposed ordinance which would ban smoking in virtually every outdoor location in Los Angeles. Anti-smoking groups, including Breathe LA, are supporting the ordinance.
According to the commentary: “Research has shown that inhaling secondhand smoke is more harmful than actually smoking, primarily due to the unfiltered nature of the smoke and its having been cooled by the air.”
The ordinance would ban smoking in every outdoors location where people “reasonably congregate.” Essentially, this means that there would be no outdoors smoking anywhere, with the exception of some dark deserted alleys. If enacted, this would be the most restrictive smoking ban in the nation.
The Rest of the Story:
I now understand why anti-smoking advocates and groups are distorting the truth. Because they are promoting such extreme proposals that go far beyond the documented scientific evidence that they need to create their own facts in order to justify these proposals.
You can’t credibly argue that smoking needs to be banned everywhere outdoors to protect the health of nonsmokers using the actual truth about the severity of health risk from secondhand smoke exposure. There simply is no evidence that a few wisps of secondhand smoke, as one might encounter from someone smoking on a sidewalk or in a street, parking lot, or park puts people’s health at risk and represents a significant public health problem.
The only way to advance these policies, then, is to artificially build up the severity of the harms of secondhand smoke so that you can convince people that any exposure – even a few wisps of smoke – is a severe health hazard.
This, I now realize, is the impetus behind the widespread fallacious claims that are being made by over 100 anti-smoking groups about the cardiovascular effects of brief secondhand smoke exposure.
I no longer believe that this distortion of the science, which goes right up to the level of the Surgeon General (who claimed that brief secondhand smoke exposure was sufficient to cause heart disease and lung cancer), represents a simple, innocent mistake.
It is now clear that this is part of a new agenda (one that I never thought was part of the movement) to extend smoking bans beyond workplaces, restaurants, bars, and other places where there is substantial exposure. The movement is now to virtually ban all smoking outside of the home, so that no nonsmoker ever has to even see a smoker in public.
There simply is no credible alternative explanation for claims – like this one – which are so absurd that they are patently false on their face. You need only think about it for about 3 seconds before you realize that secondhand smoke exposure cannot possibly be more harmful than active smoking.
The epidemiologic evidence obviously does not support such a conclusion. The relative risk of lung cancer associated with chronic active smoking is about 17. The relative risk for lung cancer associated with chronic secondhand smoke exposure is about 1.3. That’s a 13-fold difference. It is intuitively clear that smoking is worse than breathing in secondhand smoke. This isn’t an example of stretching or exaggerating the facts – it’s an example of creating (i.e., fabricating) them.
I should point out that if you take this message seriously, then a rational nonsmoker might actually start smoking. After all, according to the message, it’s better to smoke yourself than to be exposed to secondhand smoke. The message truly undermines the severe health effects of active smoking because it states that active smoking is less harmful than secondhand smoke exposure. Thus, the statement is not only fallacious, but it is a dangerous one which undermines years of education of the public about the severe harms of active smoking.
While the main reason why I object to the fabrication of the science is that I view it as unethical, I wish to point out that I also think it undermines our cause of protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. It gives the public the impression (rightly so, apparently) that our goal is not just to save lives and prevent serious medical conditions but instead, that our goal is simply to protect nonsmokers from ever having to breathe in a wisp of secondhand smoke or see a smoker. It makes it appear that we are trying to prohibit smoking through the back door and that de facto prohibition is our real agenda, rather than a legitimate public health interest in protecting nonsmokers from a severe health threat.
To use a half-marathon analogy, I feel like I have been running a half-marathon and I get to the finish line and stop, but everyone else keeps running. I thought the goal was to provide a safe working environment for all employees and to protect nonsmokers from a substantial health hazard in certain outdoors locations where they cannot easily avoid tobacco smoke exposure. Instead, the movement just keeps on going, trying to ban smoking in every possible outdoors location and even starting to infringe upon the private home.
I feel all alone at the finish line, wondering where everyone has gone.
The rest of the story is that I have come to the conclusion that the distortion of the science by anti-smoking groups is not merely an innocent mistake or an uninformed interpretation of scientific evidence. It is, instead, a deliberate attempt to promote an extremist agenda by fabricating scientific evidence that will support an agenda that is simply not supported by the scientific truth.
By Bernard Parks August 12, 2008
August, 2007 – By Lisa M. Krieger
The Stanford University School of Medicine has declared its entire campus a tobacco-free zone, with no smoking allowed on the patios, seating areas or open areas bounded by Welch Road, Pasteur Drive and Campus Drive West.
By M.S. Enkoji – Bee Staff Writer
BY CHRISTINA HANFORD
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously gave its final approval to an ordinance banning smoking in all of the city’s public parks Wednesday, August 1st.
The move also comes in the midst of one of the driest seasons on record.
LOS ANGELES—The City Council has tentatively agreed to ban smoking in all city parks, aiming to lower the risk of wildfires during extremely dry conditions.
Dry Weather Prompts Possible Smoking Ban In Parks
(CBS) LOS ANGELES Parks commissioners agreed Wednesday to ask the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to write an ordinance that bans smoking and open flames in most parks, because of record dry conditions this year.