Smoking ban expected to balloon

San Francisco snuffed out smoking in bars, restaurants and transit stops, but now a whole new set of locations — from ATMs to concert lines — could join The City’s no-smoking zones.

A law expected to be introduced Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors does, however, stop short of stricter bans that have been enacted in other Bay Area cities.

The legislation would make secondhand smoke a “public health nuisance” and grant residents living above or adjacent to a business the right to go to small-claims court if bothered by secondhand smoke wafting in from an establishment. A judge could impose fines or prohibit smoking near the business.

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition worked on the legislation with Supervisor Chris Daly and other interested parties. Daly told the Examiner on Thursday that he plans to introduce the bill at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“Cigarette smoke kills,” Daly said. “It’s important we make sure people have clean air to breathe.”

The coalition’s co-chair, Alexandra Hernandez, said the legislation is modeled after smoking restrictions adopted recently in other California cities such as Emeryville, Belmont, Santa Monica, Davis and Oakland.

Usually ahead of the curve when it comes to health and environmental policies, “For the first time, San Francisco has fallen behind,” she said.

The draft legislation, which was obtained by The Examiner, does not include any clause that is as strict as the groundbreaking smoking law passed by Belmont that requires landlords to put no-smoking clauses into new or renewed leases at most apartments. Nor does it include an outright ban on smoking in all commercial areas, an ordinance that Berkeley’s City Council approved Tuesday.

Hernandez said that everyone should have the right to smoke-free air, and the legislation would further help protect that right.

The American Lung Association estimates that secondhand smoke causes the death of 3,000 nonsmokers annually from lung cancer and about 50,000 deaths from heart disease in adults.

The bill received mixed reviews from outdoor smokers The Examiner asked for comment.

Ryan Edwards, who was sitting at a cafe along Market Street, said the law goes too far.

“It’s still America. We do have freedoms,” he said. “I thought they took it too far when they banned it from bars and restaurants.”

Smoker Gretchen Gerhard said it’s a “tough call” if the law should be adopted.

“It’s generally rude to smoke where people don’t want you to, but I like to smoke everywhere,” she said. “People should just be polite.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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