Pinole Becomes Fifth Contra Costa Jurisdiction to Adopt Secondhand Smoke Protection Law
April 9, 2010
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Pinole recently voted to a adopt comprehensive secondhand smoke protections law, becoming the fifth jurisdiction in Contra Costa to take steps that will protect the public from secondhand smoke.
This new law will expand the current state law prohibiting smoking in indoor workplaces, as well as provide protections in many outdoor locations and in certain areas of multi-family housing. In 2006, Contra Costa County passed a similar comprehensive law in unincorporated areas and three other Contra Costa cities including Martinez, Richmond and Pleasant Hill have recently adopted similar laws.
"Science clearly shows the dangers of secondhand smoke. It's great that Pinole has joined the ranks of other cities that are protecting residents from this known toxic air contaminant," said Paul Doolittle, Co-chair of the Contra Costa Tobacco Prevention Coalition.
The new ordinance in Pinole will protect people in all indoor and most outdoor workplaces and within 20 feet of doors, operable windows, air ducts and ventilation systems of all indoor workplaces and buildings open to the public. Smoking will be prohibited in outdoor areas of restaurants and bars; public parks and walking trails; service areas such as bus stops and ATM lines; and at public events.
The new laws extends protection in multi-family housing (two or more units) including all indoor and outdoor common areas, and within 20 feet of all doors, operable windows and ventillation ducts of any multi-unit residence. The new law will also make 100% of all new multi-unit housing buildings smokefree.
Pinole Councilmember Pete Murray said laws like these are important to protect residents of multi-unit housing. "We all have a right to good health and that takes priority in situations like this," he said. "There's nothing that protects a person from secondhand smoke invading a unit in multi-unit housing. If someone is smoking in the building, you do get the effects from it. Anybody who has lived in an apartment can tell you that."
The policy will come into effect 30 days after the final vote April 19. Secondhand smoke was designated as a toxic air contaminant by the California Air Resources Board in 2006. The same year, the Surgeon General concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
"I think these types of protections have been a while coming," said Pinole Councilmember Virginia Fujita.
For more information about Secondhand Smoke Protections Policies, call the Tobacco Prevention Coalition at 925-313-6214.
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- Paul Doolittle