Tag Archives: California

California Failed to Adopt Anti-Tobacco Laws

Cigarette Smoker

On their latest regular session, officials in California failed to adopt a package of anti-tobacco laws that aimed to restrict use of e-cigarettes, increase legal smoking age to 21 and raise the tobacco tax by $2 each pack.

Officials told that there is no chance that this law will be voted till the end of the year.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins explained that on Friday the Legislature ran out of time. Versions of the anti-tobacco laws were introduced in a special session that may be expanded to the beginning of 2016 when the laws may be discussed again.

Due to the fact that this is a special session, lawmakers have more time to have discussions. On Friday they just did not manage to move forwards on those laws. Good news is that they have the time to take a decision, and the failure of Friday does not mean the law rejection.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper carried one of the bills to regulate use of e-cigarettes. He is upset that the law was not adopted and people will continue to use e-cigarettes. Sen. Mark Leno also came with a bill regulating e-cigarettes and says that manufacturers have their lobbists in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. He explained that anti-tobacco laws were always discussed but never put on vote.

There is a need to be patient. The proposed bill of Leno and Cooper prohibits e-cigarettes use in public spaces including restaurants and theatres. However, vaping industry opposes the change claiming their smoking devices are safe.

Another proposed law increases legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21 and aims to reduce smoking rates among youth. Other laws prohibit smoking at schools, impose on cigarette distributors an annual fee, permit counties to increase taxes on the tobacco industry.

California to Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21

Girl Smoking

California State Capitol wants to adopt a number of statewide anti-smoking laws. Four years ago former state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger folded his cigar smoking tent on grounds of Capitol and now the sate makes a new step towards reduction of tobacco use.

At the beginning, there will be adopted a bill increasing a legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Legislators talk about concerns about public and kids health, health costs, and adult responsability.

Ed Hernandez, state Senator, is the author of the bill called Senate Bill 151, which expands Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act (STAKE).

The existing anti-smoking law bans posession and purchase of cigarettes and tobacco products by people under 18.

However, the proposed extension of the law says:

“A person is prohibited from making various promotional or advertising offers of smokeless tobacco products without taking actions to ensure that the product is not available to persons under 18 years of age. Existing law also requires the State Department of Public Health to conduct random, onsite sting inspections of tobacco product retailers with the assistance of persons under 18 years of age.”

It increases to 21 the buying age and imposes that State Department of Public Health may make random compliance inspections of retailers. The major purpose of the bill is to prevent kids from becoming addicted to cigarettes at an early age.

According to California branch of the American Lung Association, 90% of smokers begin before they turn 19.

However, the opposers claim that if people can make military and vote at age of 18, it seems nonsense that they cannot buy cigarettes. Opposers agree with 21 as legal age, because drinking is more harmful than smoking.

Health experts say the law is needed, because annually 21,300 California kids start smoking.

San Mateo County Bans Smoking in Housing Units


The Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County, California, with the majority of votes approved a n ordinance which prohibits use of tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes inside condominiums, apartments and townhomes in unincorporated areas.

Supervisors Adrienne Tissier  and Carole Groom are those who proposed the ordinance which bans use of cigarettes in multiple-unit buildings with one or more shared floors, ceilings, walls, ventilation systems.

The ordinance is applied to any such building in the county.

Health officials in the San Mateo County say that tobacco smoke in one apartment presents a hazard to the neighbours. According to Tissier, their main task is to protect the health of their residents.

However,  San Mateo County Association of Realtors expressed their disagreement with the decision claiming that condominiums should not be included in the ordinance because they are individually owned, not rented.  Paul Stewart, government affairs director for the Realtors group, says that it would never do to say a townhome buyer that he cannot smoke in his proper house costing $862,000. Today cigarettes are a legal product, therefore it will never do to ban it.

The ordinance will be applied to North Fair Oaks and unincorporated zones of Redwood City, where are found 105 of the 134 multi-unit facilities.

The new ordinance comes into action in 30 days after it was adopted, and it touches new housing units. As to existing housing facilities, they will not be hit for another 14 months.

It should be said that smoking will not be allowed at the distance of 30 feet of building complexes. The ordinance does not include motels and hotels.

In order to inform people about the new smoking ban, there will be placed no smoking signs in zones where it is banned. There will be created designated areas at the distance of 30 feet from any door, window, ventilation system.  Those violating the law will be subjected to a $100 fine for the first offence, $200 for the second offence and $500 for each next offence.

Calaveras County to Eliminate Tobacco Smoke from Apartments


In an attempt to protect its residents from secondhand smoke, Calaveras Multiunit Housing Workgroup in the state of California said it wants to make its apartments smoke-free. Last week, on September 10, they presented a 12-minute video called “Share Walls, Not Smoke” which features interviews with an apartment owner and several residents.

The Workgroup includes apartment managers, residents, owners and smokers who are willing to restrict their neighbors’ exposure. In the campaign do participate young anti-smoking activists who will encourage smokers to smoke their Bond cigarettes outside apartments. They are glad to learn more about the effects of secondhand smoke exposure and make part of an anti-smoking camapign. Now they know that tobacco smoke via ventilation syatem enters the apartments of residents neighboring a smoker.

According to Joan Mazzetti, health education manager for Calaveras Public Health Services, it is only the beginning and more is to be done.

Last several years Community Transformation Grant funded Calaveras Multiunit Housing Workgroup so that they could solve the problem of chronic disease health management. Calaveras was chosen among 12 rural counties to get the funding. However, September is the month when the Grant expires and numerous organizations told they are ready to fund the initiative to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure in apartments.

Mazzetti says that though smoking is a personal choice, community should take particular measures to protect children, pregnant women and people with chronic deases from exposure to tobacco smoke, as it impacts their health. Tobacco is a legal product, but its use must be restricted because it affects not only health of the smoker but also health of other people.

Recently Millhouses of Adams announced about its plans to become smoke-free.

Pleasant Hill to Expand Smoking Ban

Smoking Woman

In 2013, Michael Harris, the Council Member of Pleasant Hill proposed to prohibit smoking in the downtown shopping district, but the proposal did not gain any support. So the ban was not adopted. Harris considers it was not a perfect moment to come with such a proposal as City Council had on its agenda the regulation of gun sales.

However, Harris says regualting smoking in the city is one of most important issues to deal with today. A lot of families with kids do walk in downtown for shopping or in restaurants, and they are forced to inhale tobacco smoke there. Harris considers smoking should be prohibited there, because secondhand smoke affects negatively human body, especially in kids.

He considers that smoking ban in downtown is the best thing to do for residents to improve the environment in places they most often do visit.

Last week Harris asked the City Council to reconsider his proposal of smoking ban in downtown and include e-cigarettes in it. The Council will discuss the proposal this week at City Hall. Smoker John who chooses Kent cigarettes is against the ban and says that in 2013 the Council had to decide the issue with gun sale and there was not a right time to put into discussion the smoking ban.

Data presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that annually thousands of people suffer from smoking related diseases and here secondhand smoke plays not a last role.

In 2013 Walnut Creek approved a policy that bans smoking in all public places, including downtown, recreational areas and multiunit housing. There was expanded smoking ban around Todos Santos Plaza.

During past several years  Pleasant Hill adopted several smoking bans. Back in 2006, the city prohibited smoking in many public places and workplaces. In 2010 smoking was banned at bus stations, ticket lines and ATMs. In 2011 smoking was prohibited in city parks, hiking trails, open areas, parking lots and other places.

Residents Want to be Protected from Secondhand Smoke

Vintage Smoking Woman

Tuolumne County Public Health Department along with Calaveras Public Health Services revealed the results of a new survey which demonstrated that the majority of residents in multi-housing units do support the reduction of exposure to secondhand smoke.

59% of Tuolumne County and 64% of Calaveras County residents favored smoking bans in outdoor common areas of complexes. 56% of Calaveras County and 63% of Tuolumne County residents support the idea of banning smoking inside apartment units.

According to Todd Stolp, Tuolumne County Health Officer, prohibiting smoking cigarettes in multi-unit housing is a great initiative which will help to improve living conditions for residents and reduce maintenance and turnover costs.

Dean Kelaita, Calaveras County Health Officer, says no wonder that residents want to avoid tobacco smoke as studies showed that secondhand smoke is hazardous to health. Now more and more people want to be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke not only in public places but also in their apartments. Around 29% of Calaveras residents and 33% of Tuolumne residents surveyed told thay are living in a building with secondhand smoke entering into their unit in the past year.

There are no local laws in Calaveras County to restrict secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit buildings. In the State of California the statewide law bans smoking inside apartment common areas (community and laundry rooms). Back in 2006 secondhand smoke was classified as toxic air substance together with cyanide, arsenic and asbestos.

In the survey participated 12 counties in California and it was made by phone in the course of American Lung Association CA4Health, a project of the Public Health Institute.

Smoking Inside Apartments to be Banned in San Mateo County


Smoking inside apartments and other multiple housing units soon may be banned in San Mateo County, state of California.  The Board of Supervisors discussed recently the effects of secondhand smoke in order to return soon to smoking ban proposal.

The draft of proposed law had been created at the beginning of March by Brian Zamora, Family Services Director, and Jean Fraser, Health System Chief. Smoking ban was proposed by Supervisors Carole Groom and Adrienne Tissier and was supported by their board colleagues.

Tissier is happy with the proposed initiative saying that people who grown up in families where one or two parents were smokers, now do not want to do same harm to their kids. Modern science revealed that secondhand smoke affects people negatively.

Neil Klepeis, a researcher from Stanford, on the meeting explained how tobacco smoke drifts between housing units through ventilation systems. People who live next door to a smoker are exposed to high levels of smoke particles.

Groom considers that ban should include not only tobacco products but also e-cigarettes that are extremely popular today among smokers who believe they are absolutely safe for their body. In fact, e-cigarettes aren’t safe.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution which prohibits e-cigarettes in county buildings and noted that it would consider ban into other anti-smoking ordinances.

Smoking in San Mateo County will be banned in all housing facilities with two or more units. It will work in common zones and newly rented or sold units, but would not be applied to current residents until 14 months after the law is adopted.

According to the Health System, there will be made an exception for buildings with designated areas located at least 30 feet from the non-smoking spaces. People who will violate the law will be subjected to fines ($100 first infraction, $200 second infraction, $500 all the next ingractions).

The new anti-smoking law will be applied to more than thousand residential units within the unincorporated areas of the county, most of which are in North Fair Oaks.