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Group seeks to change Palo Alto smoking ordinance

Original post made on Jan 26, 2012

On the heels of a toughened smoking ordinance adopted in Mountain View Tuesday, Breathe California, a San Jose tobacco-prevention organization, is looking to Palo Alto as the next stage of its campaign to reduce second-hand smoke. ==B Related story:==
• [Web Link Mountain View City Council passes smoking ban]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 26, 2012, 4:53 PM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Jim
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Fine. Arrest me for smoking on a sidewalk in downtown Palo Alto on a Friday or Saturday night. I hope each property owner in Palo Alto is prepared to cough up $1,000,000 each in an assessment to pay off the judgement I get when I take it to court. Doesn't the City Council have more important things to do than to financially destroy the city?

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Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I'm a non-smoker. But asking the city to ban people from smoking in their own apartments or condos is going way too far for me.

I understand that some landowners or condominium associations may decide to ban smoking in their building. That's fine, especially in cases where smoking from some tenants has bothered others. But there may also be cases where a majority (or all!) are smokers and want to be able to smoke in their homes. That should be OK too. I don't think the city should get in the middle of this.

Legislating on what people can do in their own homes is a Big Deal, and I think we need to be very cautious.

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Posted by Tired-of-Special-Interests-Jerking-PA-Around
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Another special interest group that doesn't even live in Palo Alto coming to town, perhaps even passing money around to Council Members, to take away people's rights to do what they want. It's only a matter of time before some group shows up and demands that the Council pass a law that restricts the size of people's homes, the amount of money that they can make, and the number of children that they can have.

So many groups think that they can use the name of Palo Alto to advance their causes. Time to breathe free of other peoples' "holier-than-thou" agendas.

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Posted by ron
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Jim it is You who is threatening to financially destroy the city when you take the issue to court. I'm a non smoker and I think that if the smoke bothers someone else (as in an apt with common ventilation system) then it should be settled between the tenants if possible. But in the open and not in the vicinity of anyone else people should be able to smoke. Oh and make sure you pick up your own butts!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I am a non smoker but I feel that some of these rules are going too far.

There is nothing wrong with smoking in the open air as long as it is not near a children's play area or something. I can't see it fair to stop people smoking in their homes unless there are shared ventilations, etc. But these issues should be home associations problems not city problems.

I think we have more pressing issues here in Palo Alto than smoking. If someone in an apartment has a problem with neighbors smoking then the apartment management need to step in, not the city.


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Posted by Waste of time!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

As though our City Council doesn't have enough to do right now!!! Perhaps we should include these ridiculous overkill bans on the City's list of top five priorities - way above the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Infrastructure Commissions!!!

I don't smoke but if people are stupid enough to do so and give themselves lung cancer, it's their life let them do it!! Here's a group of people micromanaging other peoples lives for them!!!!

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:29 am

Ten percent of children in Santa Clara County are smokers? Is that a pack a day or one puff ever in one's life? Is a 17-year-old still called a child?

"Smoke can have particularly adverse effects on people..." At what level? It's one thing to smell it and be annoyed, but another to be immersed in it. Should we outlaw all annoying smells? Or just the lethal ones like peanut butter, certain perfumes, and those we blame on the dog?

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Posted by JT
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:59 am

The county is dangling $51,000 out there for the city to grab? We can't pass up a bribe like that!!!!

Let's take this further and ban smoking in private homes and cars.

Let's ban movies that show people smoking.

Hell, let's prosecute people who even think about smoking.

Or those who only smoke after sex. Does anybody have sex in Palo Alto anymore? (Don't censor that comment you idiots at Palo Alto Online).

Let's prosecute those who have relatives in other states who smoke. Surely, we Palo Altans can nag them into stopping, and it should be a crime if we haven't done enough nagging.

And who is behind this? The county government. And that's Liz Kniss, the public health advocate (a nurse, don't you know) who is termed out as a county supervisor so she is running for city council. I kind of think of her as the nag-in-chief. It'll be fun to see her explain this in a council candidates debate.

Yes, council needs to push the infrastructure improvements aside and start working on this smoking ban right now.

BTW, make sure that we don't ban marijuana smoking anywhere. Yes, it's worse for your lungs, but it's more politically correct.

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Posted by Jonnie
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:04 am

I will vote for a ban on smoking for apartments and condos that share a common ventilation system. My brother lives in a condo complex and shares the same air with other tenants. He has small children and his wife has asthma. It is a real issue when you can't breathe healthy air. During the cold winter months he has to open all of the windows to air out his condo every night. There is no landlord for their condos as they are all owner occupied. Having a ban through the city seems to be the only option.

If someone is smoking downtown or on the streets it is easy to walk away from the smoke, but in a living situation with shared ventilation you have no choice but to breathe the second hand smoke.

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Posted by Martha
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

Smoking and chewing tobacco were proven killers decades ago.

One way or another, we all pay for picking up cigarette butts, the cleaning bills, and the massive medical costs of those disabled by second-hand smoke.


I fully support whatever it takes to ban tobacco use.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

> Ten percent of children in Santa Clara County are smokers?

Could be. Santa Clara County Health Officials have previously claimed that 10% of the County's children have attempted suicide. Maybe smoking was considered as an "act of suicide" by these bureaucrats.

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Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Guess smokers can stop paying taxes.

Guess PA Utilities can raise raises again to off-set declining sales tax revenues.

Guess the state can cut more services due to declining sales tax revenues.

Guess the city will ask for ANOTHER bond issue to pay for enforecement costs.

I am SO tired of the nanny state!

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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

As a former smoker, I think government needs to stay out of peoples' homes. I've watched two loved ones die of lung cancer... and there are still moments I crave a cigarette. No one smokes because they want to bother YOU; they smoke because they are addicted to something said to be more addictive than heroin. It's hard to quit, and until you've seen yourself try and fail to quit smoking more than once or twice, please spare me your moralizing. Do we really want to return to the days of "Blue Laws"? _

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I wish that they would ban my neighbor from smoking. I hate having to breathe in his secondhand smoke simply because he feels a right to blow it our way.

BTW, I have no problem with a ban. After all, we have noise ordinances. Why shouldn't we have other ordinances that protect us from cancer (not to mention terrible sinus headaches).

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Posted by Koa
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Add another activity to the list of things (behind having a bbq grill) that are against the law in Palo Alto if you are not a multimillionaire homeowner. Hell, even they aren't allowed to use their fireplace whenever they want to.

I accept no health arguments regarding the danger of passing second-hand smoke on the sidewalk until we have banned SUVs from our streets. If you don't believe that's are a more pressing health concern, consider this: would you rather be locked in a garage for 6 hours with an idling Suburban or someone smoking cigarettes. One of them will kill you.

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Posted by a menace
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by $51,000
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm

$51,000 wont even cover the staff time to think about bringing this to the City Council. This is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

Smoking in buildings with common ventilation systems is a deadly menace and should be outlawed. No one is trying to outlaw smoking in private houses. Those who are dumb or self destructive enough to smoke in their own house are welcome to it.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

I thought editor's rules for PA Online discussion threads excluded racist comments like the ones from the people who signed on as "Menace" and "Outside Observer."

Perhaps it's time for a story about "Racism in Palo Alto."

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Posted by some guy
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

It bugs me when I'm walking down the sidewalk and someone comes out of a doorway and starts walking in front of me, and suddenly I'm smoking a cigarette; someone else's cigarette. I resent seeing cigarette butts *everywhere*. They'll always be there, because there are too many to pick up. Cigarette smokers are the biggest damn slobs. But the number one thing that bugs me about cigarette smokers is they way they always hold their cigarette so that the smoke blows into your face instead of theirs. They're the ones who want to smoke the damn thing, why don't they have it blowing in their own face?

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

I agree with Daniel, if the home is a single private home then they should be able to smoke if they choose to. But, if it is a shared ventilation system like in apartments and condos that is a much greater concern.

Like this comment
Posted by Angelo_Frank
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Angelo_Frank is a registered user.

I once read somewhere that smoking is safer than fascism...

Quite true.

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