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L.A. Moves to Restrict Outdoor Puffing

Alejandro Benes
Posted: January 8, 2009

Smoke them early and often, for in Los Angeles you might soon not be able to smoke outdoors in public.

The arts and parks committee of the L.A. City Council approved a measure on Wednesday that would ban smoking on restaurant patios and within 10 feet of any establishment that serves food and beverages. The proposal would exempt bars with outdoor areas and other "over-18 venues."

Currently, Los Angeles pretty much goes by state law, which allows smoking in "outdoor" venues, though some restaurants and clubs went to creative lengths to offer such spaces to attract smokers.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the sponsor of the ban, Councilman Greig Smith, said "He wrote the legislation after noticing that California's ban on smoking inside restaurants was driving smokers just outside the establishments' doors, exposing children and other patrons to secondhand smoke as they entered the venue or waited for tables."

Many other jurisdictions in California have used similar arguments to impose bans of varying severity.

It's unclear when the full city council will take up the measure, but a staffer for one council member told Cigar Aficionado that it would happen "soon." If the entire council passes the measure, the law could be in effect by this summer, the staffer said.

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