Malibu poised to say yes to smoking ban

The city received an “F” rating from the American Lung Association earlier this year for its smoking policies.

By Olivia Damavandi / Staff Writer

The Malibu City Council at its upcoming Monday night meeting will vote on whether to adopt the ordinance that would prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas and at public events within the City of Malibu beginning July 31.

The ordinance would ban smoking within 20 feet of a public event, such as a farmers’ market. It would also ban smoking within 20 feet of outdoor dining areas on public or private property, such as hotels and supermarkets. Businesses with outdoor dining areas would be also required to conspicuously post and maintain “no smoking” signs within the area.

The council last month voted to adopt the ordinance but decided to make further revisions, which now require the implementation of smoking waste receptacles, or freestanding ashtrays, at least 24 feet from business entrances. Where this is not possible, the waste receptacles must be located at the furthest points from the entrances.

The revisions were made at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky, who last month argued that while banning smoking in dining areas and at public events would improve air quality, it would actually increase pollution. People would smoke outside the prohibited area and drop their cigarette butts on the ground when they are finished, she said. Furthermore, she said, the purpose of the city’s ban on smoking at the beach would be defeated, as littered cigarettes would ultimately end up there.

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The council had listed the smoking ordinance as one of its top priorities in May, after the American Lung Association’s annual report card gave Malibu an “F” grade along with 60 percent of cities within Los Angeles County for its smoking policies.

The report assesses each state’s efforts in four key tobacco control policy areas.

When broken down into individual municipalities Malibu scored an “F” for overall tobacco control, a “D” for smokefree outdoor air, an “F” for smokefree housing and another “F” for reducing sales of tobacco products.

Those opposed to the ordinance say smoking is their individual right, while supporters applaud the ordinance not only for its health benefits, but for environmental ones as well.

The cost to implement the ordinance has not yet been determined, but will be based on the amount of public outreach and level of enforcement, a city report states.

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