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Ban on Smoking in Outdoor Dining Areas Held for 45 Days

By Ed Fuentes and Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, September 03, 2008, at 04:30PM

A city council committee today passed a ban on smoking at farmers' markets, but held onto a ban that would have outlawed smoking at outdoor dining areas citywide. The Arts, Parks, Health and Aging committee considered the two items at a meeting that was well attended by non-smoking advocates.

The committee easily passed the farmers' market ban, which would apply to markets that the city permits. That ordinance now moves on to the full council.

The more controversial item, banning smoking within five feet of outdoor dining areas, was held in the committee for 45 days in order to allow time to outreach to the restaurant community.

Councilman Tom LaBonge made the point that one of the reasons outdoor dining in Los Angeles was so popular was because it allowed for smoking. It's easy to see that argument in Downtown, where the volume of buses can make sidewalk eating a less than pleasant experience. It remains popular, though, particularly with those looking for an option on where to light up.

The city of Burbank passed a similar ban recently, and the city of Calabasas passed an ordinance banning smoking in most public spaces. In recent years, the city of Los Angeles has banned smoking on public beaches and near playgrounds.

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