SJ city coucil approves new restrictions on smoking

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The ordinance amends the city's municipal code to make smoking illegal in outdoor dining areas, outdoor common areas of multi-resident complexes and mobile home parks, and in service lines, city officials said.

The vote followed comments from about a dozen residents, all of whom spoke in favor of expanding smoking restrictions.

Santa Clara County and the nonprofit Breathe California, which was commissioned to write a strategic plan for tobacco control in San Jose in 2004, will assist with the implementation of the ordinance, Breathe California executive director Margo Sidener said.

The county's Department of Environmental Health will help with outreach and training, and Breathe California is finalizing a memorandum of understanding with the city that will allow it to handle not only education and training, but to help put the ban into effect and handle complaints.

The cost of preparing the ordinance was paid for by the county, which obtained a grant for tobacco prevention and control from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, city officials said.

Sidener said she believes the grant played a major role in pushing the ordinance through to completion and approval.

Regarding Tuesday's vote, Sidener said, "We're feeling like dancing in the street. I'm very proud of our city for having the social will and political courage to pass this."

San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra was careful to point out that the ordinance is not meant to be "punitive to property owners."

"They are partners," he said.

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