Anti-smoking ordinance goes into effect in SF

April 24, 2010 6:48:03 PM PDT
Smokers have precious few options left for lighting up cigarettes in San Francisco. A new law effectively bans smoking almost anywhere in public and goes into effect this weekend.

A lot of people heard about the new law for the first time Saturday.

ABC7 asked several people standing in line to purchase tickets to the Giants game at AT&T Park Saturday if they would call the Health Department to complain if someone started smoking in line.

"I would not call," said one man. "I like people to have their freedom, even if I don't smoke."

"That's a tough one," said another woman. "I'd really feel like I'd rather be direct with them and that's what I've done in the past."

"I don't think people should complain a lot," said another man. "The problem with America is that too many people complain."

None of the people who spoke with ABC7 said they would call and complain. But, that is how the ordinance works. San Francisco police will not be out in force enforcing the ban. It is all complaint generated.

People are not allowed to smoke while in lines, for example, at an ATM machine. If someone complains and calls the Health Department, officers can write a citation. The San Francisco supervisor who sponsored the ordinance thinks it will definitely make an impact.

It may take some Department of Public Health citations at restaurants or night clubs for example, to enforce it," said Supervisor Eric Mar. "But, I think largely it has to be communities that raise their voices to say that smoke is harmful to people's health."

People will also not be allowed to smoke on restaurant patios, but restaurants themselves have asked for a little more time to get used to the idea which will not go into effect for another six months.


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