Santa Monicans for Non-Smoking Renters Rights is excited to be expanding its mission and changing its name to Smoke-Free Living Santa Monica to reflect that new mission. Now that Santa Monica has a law which, over time, will result in all apartments and condominiums throughout the city becoming non-smoking, the group is reviewing all of the tobacco control laws which have been passed in the last 10 years by the city council.
“If residents knew about and complied with all of the laws which have been passed to protect people from tobacco smoke,” says Beth Miller, a member of the group. “Santa Monica would truly be a smoke-free city. But as articles and letters published in the Santa Monica Daily Press over the past year show, there is a lot of education and enforcement that needs to take place along with posting of more no smoking signs.”
Education and signage
Santa Monica beaches and the pier are supposed to be non-smoking, but an article in the Santa Monica Daily Press in August, 2013, told of Chinese exchange students collecting and counting a significant number of littered cigarette butts around the pier and the boardwalk.
The paper reported in another article that cigarette butts are still being flushed into the ocean by people smoking on sidewalks in front of new apartment and condominium buildings. Signs and containers for ashes and cigarette butts in appropriate places would help educate and remind people where not to smoke.
One letter writer to the Santa Monica Daily Press in March, 2013 told of approaching a bus stop at Broadway and Fourth Street and seeing three men “screaming and acting in a very threatening manner.” A lady standing near-by indicated that they had been asked not to smoke at the bus stop and “they went ballistic.” Waiting for a bus should not be a potentially terrifying experience if you are courageous enough to remind people about the no smoking law, or the cause of an asthma attack if you don‚Äôt speak up. No smoking signs are very much needed at bus stops.
The law in Santa Monica requires no smoking within 20 feet of a door or operable window of a business. Workers often stand outside the building where they work to take a “smoke-break,” but taking a walk instead would insure compliance with the law, and even provide a health benefit. Also, the law requires no smoking on the entire Third Street Promenade and on restaurant and coffee shop patios.
Enforcement by police
A letter in December, 2013 to the Santa Monica Daily Press complained that the Santa Monica police don‚Äôt bother to even speak to people who are smoking in non-smoking areas, let alone give them a ticket. The letter suggested that if police gave tickets to people smoking in non-smoking areas, that would help to insure that Santa Monica lives up to the undeserved reputation it already has as a smoke-free city. Robin Sherry, another member of Smoke-Free Living Santa Monica says, “It‚Äôs really hypocritical to pass laws to protect people and then not enforce them”
People are using electronic cigarettes in the belief that they are safe, but scientists are indicating they may not be. Studies show microscopic metals and carcinogenic materials in the vapors. We hope the city council will follow New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and pass a law which requires no smoking of electronic cigarettes in any area where regular cigarettes are not permitted. And put up signs to inform people of this.
Smoke-Free Living Santa Monica supports a healthy, smoke-free environment.