Supervisors expand city’s ban on smoking

San Francisco expanded its historic 1994 smoking ban Tuesday by prohibiting the act in places such as ATM lines or common areas of residential buildings.

The legislation to expand where people can no longer smoke was 2½ years in the making and underwent at least 17 amendments recently to address concerns about the impact on businesses.

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-0 on Tuesday to approve the expansion.

“This legislation will protect thousands of San Franciscans from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced the legislation.

Mar said it’s meant “to strengthen San Francisco’s historic 1994 anti-smoking ordinance, which banned smoking in many enclosed areas.” San Francisco has no-smoking laws in effect for such places as restaurants, transit stops and parks.

The ban expansion makes it illegal to smoke in “service waiting areas,” like ATM, telephone and movie theater lines. It also bans smoking in common areas of residential buildings, like in stairwells or lobbies. Anyone lighting up outside entrances, exits or windows of buildings must smoke “at the curb of the nearest street, sidewalk or alley.” The legislation stamps out smoking in enclosed rooms of bars, but allows exemptions for existing ones under certain conditions.

“We are able to make these regulations without seriously impacting businesses,” Supervisor John Avalos said.

Increasing no-smoking areas in San Francisco will improve people’s health, according to Department of Public Health Director Mitch Katz.

“Communities that have adopted ordinances like this have actually seen decreases in the number of deaths due to cardiac disease,” Katz said. “By passing this ordinance, you are all saving lives.”

The expanded ban takes effect after six months.

In other action

  • In a 10-0 vote, authorization was approved to allocate $6 million from the rainy-day reserve fund to the San Francisco Unified School District.
  • In an 8-2 vote, legislation making it more difficult to add parking garages on residential buildings in District 3 was approved in a first vote. A second and final vote is set for next week.
  • In a 10-0 vote, legislation offering permit fee breaks for property owners to upgrade their buildings to withstand earthquakes was approved.

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