Los Angeles is one of the few cities in America where having to step outside to smoke can be pleasant year-round. This, obviously, must be stopped:
Lighting up on the outdoor patios of cafes and coffee shops may soon be a thing of the past in Los Angeles. The city’s arts and parks committee took a first step Wednesday toward a new ban on smoking on restaurant patios or within 10 feet of any outdoor establishment that serves food or beverages.
Bars with outdoor areas and other over-18 venues would be exempt…
Though questions remain about what the penalties would be and how the proposed law would be enforced, Councilman Tom LaBonge, chairman of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, said it was getting easier to enforce the smoking bans because of cooperation by restaurant owners.
“The patrons are really demanding it,” LaBonge said after his committee directed city lawyers to draft the ordinance Wednesday. “One day we’ll be an absolutely smoke-free world as we move forward, but people still enjoy it, so we’re still allowing it.”
The measure’s sponsor, 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.
The nerve of those smokers! Couldn’t they just go somewhere else? Well, no:
Though Calabasas and some other cities have far more stringent anti-smoking laws, the refuges for smokers in Los Angeles have dwindled in recent years. In addition to the state ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and other workplaces, smoking is prohibited on city beaches, in farmers markets and within 25 feet of playgrounds, bleachers, sport courts, fields and picnic areas.
In L.A. city parks, smoking is banned except on city-run golf courses and in designated areas, and violators face fines of up to $250. City officials allow exceptions for filmmakers as long as they seek permits from the city.
In other news, brain scans show that quitting smoking is harder when a person sees other people smoking. Clearly, smokers should only be allowed to light up in designated smoking pits dug 10 feet into the ground where no passersby will have to gaze upon them. Science demands it.