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Smoking Ban in San Rafael, California Prohibits Cigarette Smoke in Certain Homes

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Oct 16, 2012 03:33 PM EDT

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In San Rafael, California it now illegal to smoke cigarettes in multi family homes including duplexes and condominiums. Reuters reported that the 57,000 populated town of San Rafael in Northern California has created the ban, voting unanimously and hope to set an example.

Mayor Gary Phillips said before they voted to Reuters, "We are happy to blaze a trail. We're most happy to be in the forefront of the issue because we think it will greatly benefit our residents and those visiting San Rafael, and we think it will set the tone for other cities as well." 

Some, such as Stanford University history of science professor, Robert Proctor believe that the ban will spread to other cities.

He said to Reuters, "We're on the downslope of a big curve. Smoking peaked in 1981 with 630 billion cigarettes sold in the United States. Now it's down to 350 billion. And that number will keep on going down until smoking is a distant memory." 

Reuters reported that secondhand smoke kills " estimated 50,000 Americans, including 430 infants, a year, according to a 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report. It concluded that concentrations of cancer-causing and toxic chemicals might be higher in secondhand smoke than in the fumes that smokers directly inhale."

It is not just for inside homes that the new ordinance affects, its also for outdoor spaces.

According to San Rafael's website, the new rules would prohibit smoking in the following:

  • "Outdoor dining areas
  • Within 20 feet of entryways to buildings or other places where smoking is prohibited, except while actively passing
  • Public events, but designated smoking areas permitted
  • Open space and recreation areas, such as parks, playgrounds, sports fields and courts, picnic areas, and dog parks
  • Service areas (bus stops, ATM and ticket lines, etc)
  • Sidewalks in Downtown, except while actively passing
  • Within 20 feet of working construction crews
  • Duplexes and multi-family residential units (apartments and condominiums)
  • Indoor and outdoor common areas of residential units, with the allowance of designated smoking areas
  • 80% of all hotel rooms

Other changes the ordinance would require include:

  • Prohibition of littering smoking waste (i.e. cigarette butts) citywide
  • Declaration of secondhand smoke in violation of this ordinance as a public nuisance
  • Posting of signage where smoking is prohibited"

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