City aims to cut smokers’ havens

Smokers in San Francisco said a cigarette sales ban at drugstores would raise the already high price for a pack of cigarettes,while business owners said a proposal to increase the number of nonsmoking public places is going too far.

“Pretty soon, its going to be you can’t smoke in your own house,” said San Francisco resident and smoker Mark Hanoum. “[It’s] getting kind of ridiculous. I sit out front here and have a cigarette and a cup of coffee, and I am not bothering anyone’s rights.”

Two separate proposals intended to reduce cigarette use will go before a Board of Supervisors committee Thursday.

The proposals come amid increasingly stricter laws placed on smoking by Bay Area cities, from banning smoking in downtown areas to requiring landlords to put no-smoking clauses into new or renewed leases at most apartments.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed prohibiting pharmacies or drugstores from selling cigarettes. Some smokers said that stores still allowed to sell cigarettes would raise the price as a result.

A bill proposed by Supervisor Chris Daly would increase the number of public places off-limits to smoking, adding to the current ban at most bars, restaurants, parks and transit stops.

Daly wants to ban smoking in lines for services such as the purchase of event tickets or automatic teller machines. He also wants to ban smoking at outdoor eating areas as well as 20 feet from entrances, exits and operable windows of private buildings.

Some restaurant owners are worried that Daly’s proposal will hurt business. The proposal requires workers to “request” that any person violating the law stop smoking.

Kevin Westlye, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said that could jeopardize the safety of workers.

Another provision would allow anyone to act as a “private enforcer” by bringing civil action against a business. Westlye said this provision could lead to extortion-like legal action.

Newsom’s spokesman Nathan Ballard said themayor’s bill would not affect supermarkets or big-box retailers. He said that selling cigarettes at a pharmacy is a contradiction.

“It is illogical to be selling tobacco products next to tobacco-cessation products or in the same location as a pharmacy dispensing medicine for smoking-related illnesses,” he said.

The two proposed laws are up for a vote at the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee meeting Thursday.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com  

Nonsmoking-area expansion

San Francisco is considering expanding its ban on smoking in public places to the following areas.

» Outdoor dining areas of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops

» Where customers wait to do business: ATMs, ticket lines, movie theater lines, athletic event lines, concert lines, cab stands

» Within 20 feet of private, nonresidential building entrances, exits and operable windows

» In tobacco shops

» In 75 percent of hotel and motel guest rooms

» At farmers markets 

» In enclosed common areas of multi-unit residences including common halls, elevators, parking areas, lobbies, waiting areas, bathrooms, cooking, dining, lounge, laundry facilities and recreation areas.

The measure would declare secondhand smoke a public health nuisance.

Drug store sales

Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing an outright ban on tobacco sales at drugstores and pharmacies.

61%: San Francisco drugstores that sold tobacco products in 2003

89%: San Francisco drugstores that sold tobacco products in 1976

Source: Draft legislation titled “Prohibiting Smokingin Enclosed Areas, Certain Unenclosed Areas and Sports Stadiums” and “Prohibiting Pharmacies from selling tobacco products”

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