By Ted AYALA
Glendale residents may find themselves gasping for breath a little more desperately these days. Glendale City Council on Tuesday tightened restrictions on smoking within city limits. The ordinances, voted for unanimously, will add further penalization for scofflaws as well as banning any smoking in all future newly built apartment and condominium units.
The city has stopped short of banning smoking outright in all units citing difficulties in enforcing such an ordinance. Neighboring cities, such as Pasadena, have passed these types of ordinances.
“We’re going to wait and see all cities that have put in ordinances banning all smoking in apartments and condominiums if they are effective [in enforcing them],” said Mayor Dave Weaver. “We’ll return to [this matter] again. But this council has taken great strides this year.”
The city council also empowered private citizens to sue smokers that disobey the law, allowing them to be held liable in civil court.
When the ordinances were discussed by council earlier this month, city staff mentioned that some developers were uneasy over the regulations saying that they may potentially lose an edge to living spaces in other cities.
Councilman Zareh Sinayan qualified his support for the ordinances by adding that they alone are not able to mitigate addiction to smoking.
“Whatever measures are taken limiting one’s ability to smoke has to be coupled with educational measures,” he said.
Those found violating the ordinances could face fines of $250 for each day they break the law. However, the fines would not be imposed until after the violator was caught in the act twice and had received a prior written warning.
Esther Schiller, representing Smokefree Air for Everyone, praised the council for its work, though noted that much still needs to be done.
“[The ordinances] will not help residents suffering from unit-to-unit transfer of tobacco smoke,” she said. “A non-smoking building will provide a healthy environment for those quitting smoking.”
She also said that more could be done to protect children from second-hand smoke in outdoor dining areas.
The ordinances will take effect in 30 days.