December 12, 2007
Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-8327

The Santa Monica City Council last night directed the City Attorney’s Office to prepare an ordinance that would make business owners criminally liable for knowingly or intentionally allowing customers to smoke at outdoor dining areas. The Council requested that the proposed new ordinance also prohibit smoking anywhere on the grounds of Santa Monica libraries. 

The Council indicated its support of additional funding for a marketing, signage and education campaign to implement its outdoor smoking policies. 

In addition, the Council asked the City Attorney to return with information on the following issues:

• Multi-unit residential smoking: an update and analysis on what other California cities are doing in this area, with a special eye to preserving existing renters’ rights while addressing health issues of second-hand smoke for residents;
• Tobacco retailer licensing:  a report on what other cities are doing in this area; and
• Pharmacies:  a non-binding resolution for Council consideration that would recommend that local pharmacies refuse to sell any tobacco products.

The City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit had recommended that the Council expand liability to business owners who condone smoking at outdoor dining areas, after it was learned that many local restaurants still are allowing the illegal behavior by their patrons. Current local law places fines on smokers in such situations, but not business owners.

The City Council heard testimony from patrons and employees of restaurants who described the continued violations at outdoor dining areas and the difficulties they experienced in trying to persuade smokers to stop when the businesses would not do so. Community members and the local Chamber of Commerce also testified about the need for educational efforts.

The City Attorney’s Office will now prepare an ordinance for Council’s consideration and will report back with the requested information early next year.

Santa Monica law currently prohibits smoking in the following locations:

• all beaches and park
• the Santa Monica Pier (except designated areas)
• within 20 feet of the entrance or window to an open business
• the Third Street Promenade
• all outdoor dining areas
• all outdoor waiting areas (bus stops, ATM lines, etc.)
• Farmers' Markets

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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.