15 November, 2006

Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking

Belmont to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking
By Dana Yates, Daily Journal Staff

Belmont is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere else.

The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one's car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

The actual language of the law still needs to be drafted and will likely come back to the council either in December or early next year.

"We have a tremendous opportunity here. We need to pass as stringent a law as we can, I would like to make it illegal," said Councilman Dave Warden. "What if every city did this, image how many lives would be saved? If we can do one little thing here at this level it will matter."

Armed with growing evidence that second-hand smoke causes negative health effects, the council chose to pursue the strictest law possible and deal with any legal challenges later. Last month, the council said it wanted to pursue a law similar to ones passed in Dublin and the Southern California city of Calabasas. It took up the cause after a citizen at a senior living facility requested smoke be declared a public nuisance, allowing him to sue neighbors who smoke.

The council was concerned about people smoking in multi-unit residences.

"I would just like to say 'no smoking' and see what happens and if they do smoke, [someone] has the right to have the police come and give them a ticket," said Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach.

Yes, TODAY, a CITIZEN has the RIGHT to have the POLICE GIVE them a TICKET!

I think it is time for me to break out my Zippo...


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