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Entirely Supported by Tax-Deductible Contributions
Excerpts from: Apartment smoking may be banned
By Thomas D. Elias The
Washington Times [01/02/01]
Two years after California expanded
its toughest-in-the-nation ban on workplace smoking to cover
all bars and restaurants, both bar profits and the law's
popularity are on the rise — and a new movement to expand
smoking restrictions into the home has begun.
The new move began in the ultraliberal Los Angeles suburb of
West Hollywood, where the City Council in November passed an
ordinance allowing nonsmoking apartment dwellers to file
complaints when tobacco smoke drifts into their windows or doors
from a neighbor's unit. Tenants who refuse city arbitration will face
fines and eviction.
So far, densely-populated West Hollywood is the only
California city with such a law, but city councils in other liberal
bastions like Santa Monica and San Francisco say they'll
monitor how the measure works and may imitate it soon.
"Smoke is a serious health hazard to people who have
health problems and can't take being next to that smoke,"
said West Hollywood Councilman Paul Koretz. "But many of
these people are on relatively low, fixed incomes and can't
afford to move when they're bothered by their neighbors."
Reports from California's business tax agency and the
results of a state-funded poll of bar owners and customers
indicate consumer acceptance of the ban on smoking in bars
is on the rise and that business at bars has increased, even
though most regular barflies still don't like it.
The survey, conducted by the San Francisco-based Field
Institute, found that 92 percent of restaurants and 59 percent
of bars are complying with the anti-smoking law. Those are
increases of about 10 percent from a year earlier.
Among 1,000 persons who described themselves as
"recent bar patrons," 44 percent said they support the
smoking ban, up from 24 percent in 1998. And 75 percent of
bar customers described having a smoke-free environment in
taverns and restaurants as "important." That was an increase
from 66 percent in late 1998.
The state's Board of Equalization, meanwhile, reported
that sales were up 7.4 percent at restaurants and bars since
the smoking ban took effect. Taxable receipts increased 9.1
percent at establishments licensed to sell only beer and wine
and 6.3 percent at those serving all types of liquor.
"The only one being hurt in all this is the tobacco industry,"
boasted Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky,
who helped write city smoking restrictions while a Los
Angeles councilman in the 1980s. "Bars and restaurants have
been one of the last bastions of tobacco use, but the culture is
Los Angeles County officials said they believe the
survey numbers are correct. The county has randomly
inspected 700 establishments during peak nighttime hours
each year since the smoking ban took effect, and a public
health department spokesman said the poll numbers closely
approximate the county's experience.
Citing the poll's finding that 55 percent of bar customers
say they enjoy smoke-free bars more than smoke-filled ones,
state Health Director Diana Bonta said, "The majority of bars
and bar patrons are complying with the law."
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