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Santa Monica council members approved a new measure on Tuesday, and if it clears a second reading in the coming weeks, prohibits any new tenant in a Santa Monica apartment or condominium complex from smoking inside their residence.
Santa Monica council members approved a new measure on Tuesday, and if it clears a second reading in the coming weeks, prohibits any new tenant in a Santa Monica apartment or condominium complex from smoking inside their residence.

News, City Council, Health, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Condo, Apartment Smoking Ban Receives A Reprieve

Posted Oct. 5, 2012, 2:33 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

Perhaps the third time really is a charm. A little more than two months after council members had second thoughts about a smoking ban ordinance it had originally voted to pass, a full dais voted Tuesday to approve an anti-smoking policy in apartments and condominiums throughout Santa Monica. The vote was 5-2 in favor of the proposed ordinance, with Council members Kevin McKeown and Pam O’Connor voting against.

The new measure, if it clears second reading in the coming weeks, prohibits any new tenant in a Santa Monica apartment or condominium complex from smoking inside their residence. Other tenants would be allowed to sue their smoking neighbors under the ordinance.

While the law would apply to new tenancies, current tenants must be surveyed by their landlords to keep a head count of sorts to figure out which units are occupied by smokers and those that are not. During the surveying process, residents have the option but are not required to disclose whether or not their units are categorized as nonsmoking or smoking.

All residents in apartment and condominium complexes would be entitled to a list of units – provided by homeowner associations or landlords – that are either designated or undesignated as nonsmoking or smoking.

A new kink in the multi-unit smoking ban: medical marijuana users are not exempt from having their units designated as a smoking residence. When the smoking ban failed in a second read two months prior, the language of that ban did not mention how the proposed ordinance would be applied to residences of medical marijuana users, an inquiry spawned by Mayor Richard Bloom.

Those medical marijuana users who use the substance to treat illnesses such as AIDS or cancer would be exempt, however, with adequate documentation.

The 5-2 vote came after a series of failed motions where council members struggled to agree the best way to enact a smoking ban. Four of the seven council members – Mayor Richard Bloom, Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis, and Council members Bob Holbrook and Bobby Shriver – believed the various iterations presented were either overbearing or underachieving.

After more than two hours of community input, deliberation, and discussion, a motion was presented to garner enough votes on the dais.

Council members reached its decision hoping this version of the smoking ban sticks. In July, an ordinance banning smoking in multi-unit residences failed to muster enough votes in its second reading even though council members had voted in favor of that same ordinance two weeks prior.

At both the first and second readings, there was not a full panel of council members on the dais. In the second to last meeting before the Nov. 6 election, all seven council members were present to vote on this new iteration of the proposed smoking ban ordinance.

Should the smoking ban ordinance make it past second reading later this month, it would be the latest prohibition against lighting up in Santa Monica. Previous municipal legislation governing smoking in the City included an ordinance making all hotels in Santa Monica smoke-free.

Prior to that, the city council banned smoking in common areas and patios located within multi-unit residences. Smoking is also banned in all outdoor dining areas on the Third Street Promenade and at Santa Monica State Beach.

In opposition, McKeown expressed concern that such an ordinance would effectively brand those who smoked in their own residences. Meanwhile, O’Connor thought the smoking ban was meddlesome and a violation of privacy rights.

The proposed ordinance states “more than 440,000 people die in the United States from tobacco-related diseases every year, making it the nation’s leading cause of preventable illness” and that environmental tobacco smoke “is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing over 52,000 non-smokers each year, including 3,000 deaths from lung cancer.”

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Oct. 5, 2012, 3:35:48 am

marcia said...

after living in calif for 39 years all i can say what is next no drinking beer and wine in your home that you pay a high rent tobegin with you pay a depsotit to cover repainting a unit so what is calif becomming russia? this is crazy. you should clean up the homless.

Oct. 5, 2012, 3:46:19 am

xboomer said...

Let the owners make their own decision about this issue. If they want a non smoking or a smoking building that should be their decision. The free market will help them make their decision, not the city council. Less government please.

Oct. 5, 2012, 5:19:16 am

GordonSantaMonica said...

Are you kidding??? What is next a ban on sex if there is to much noise. Come on this is outragous legislation!!!!

Oct. 5, 2012, 7:20:44 am

Ally said...

GordonSantaMonica: There are provisions in the Santa Monica Municipal Code regarding excessive noise. Marcia: Your English is poor. Xboomer: Owners are not permitted to simply "make their own decision" about tenants, e.g. their race or disability status. You may learn about the dangers of second-hand smoke elsewhere.

Oct. 6, 2012, 3:30:46 am

xboomer said...

Ally, if a owner wishes to own a building that allows smoking, he should have that right. If an owner wants his building to be a non smoking building he should have that right. The renters can then decide which building they want to live in.

Oct. 6, 2012, 3:55:49 am

HB said...

Reasonable people can disagree on this, but whenever my downstairs neighbors light up, they might as well be smoking in my own apartment. Closing windows was a terrible option this last, hot summer and even when I did, the cigarette fumes make their way in. I've seen those smokeless cigarettes... maybe that would make a difference, but this is a huge quality of life issue for those of us who can't stand the second hand smoke.

Oct. 6, 2012, 4:31:18 am

Jonas said...

I recommend the death penalty and torture. Yesterday was too late.

Nov. 3, 2012, 6:17:57 pm

John Dorsey said...

Is Santa Monica trying to kill its own tourist industry, real estate sales and rentals, ? I think they are shooting themselves on the foot trying to get votes of their constituents and not realizing the negative effects on the economy. The false belief that only the smell of a cigarette will kill people ! Have you ever smelled leaf blowers or bus exhausts? So let us ban dogs, crying kids, music, cooking in your unit, let us move ! BTW what is "undesignated" unit.? If this is possible why bother to designate smoking or non smoking ? ! Can anyone make sense?

Nov. 3, 2012, 6:42:58 pm

Doris Beck said...

Why S. Monica hotels are suffering from lack of tourists? Why Miami is booming in tourism where smokers and non smokers can coexist in peace ? Why a tourist that visits once never returns ? Why foreign travel agents divert their clients from going to Santa Monica? What is next in S.Monica? No cooking in your unit, no music, no dogs, no sex, is coming. Enjoy the Castro regime.

Nov. 20, 2012, 1:31:37 am

SK said...

People should be able to smoke in their unit all they want. The "smoke still making its way into other unit" is complete b.s. It is so overblown. Indeed, take a look at pollution by buses and cars. My mother smokes and I don't. I struggle with her, and I hate second hand smoke. But I lived with this all my life and is in perfect health. When you are as much as 10 feet away from the smoker in open air, you don't even get 1/100th of smoke vs. if you lived with them. So quit it, please!

Dec. 2, 2012, 4:32:10 am

leea franklin said...

Discrimination is not cool.

Jan. 26, 2013, 4:03:39 pm

lashta said...

SM has lots of old clapboard houses and many are multi unit - this is not turn of the century NYC prewar building. It is a HEALTH HAZARD TO TO OTHERS

Feb. 15, 2013, 12:16:26 pm

Carol L Herring said...

I agree with Marcia, this is becoming Communist USA, with all the things we can no longer do and say, for example, it is no longer allowed for the children in public school to wish each other a Merry Christmas, the school calendar says "holiday break", "spring break" - but all of the other religious holidays are noted by their proper names such as Yom Kippur and Rosh Ha·sha·nah. We can no longer smoke in public areas, and now we cannot smoke in our own homes. Wake up America, bit by bit we are losing our rights, and eventually we will not be allowed to do anything without proper consent from some government organization.

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