Los Angeles City Council Approves Preliminary Ban on Smoking in City Parks
The Los Angeles City Council last Friday approved a preliminary ban on smoking in most areas of the city's parks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The council unanimously voted to ask the city attorney's office to draft an ordinance banning smoking in "outdoor areas where large crowds and children gather" and within 50 feet of athletic fields, playgrounds and large picnic areas. According to Jane Kolb, spokesperson for the city Recreation and Parks Department, the new rules would apply to most of the city's 15,000 acres of park land in 385 parks. The Times reports that city council member Jan Perry proposed the regulation out of concern for the health of nonsmokers forced to inhale secondhand smoke. The proposal was "blasted" by smokers' rights activists, who called the move "anti-smoking fanaticism run amok and ... a violation of their civil rights." Louis Rosenberg, president of the San Fernando Valley chapter of Californians for Smokers' Rights, said that despite a lack of scientific evidence proving that secondhand smoke is a health risk, anti-smoking advocates are "still intent on outlawing smoking everywhere." Perry said the council will hold a public hearing on the proposal before making a final decision (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 12/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.