County adopts tough anti-smoking ordinances

City Council is considering stepping up local enforcement of state law that prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously
today on two of three new ordinances for tobacco control that will
ban smoking inside multi-unit residences and strengthen other
protections against secondhand smoke.
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today on two of three new ordinances for tobacco control that will ban smoking inside multi-unit residences and strengthen other protections against secondhand smoke. The comprehensive measures, make Santa Clara County one of the most aggressive jurisdictions in the nation in preventing youth tobacco use and protecting residents from secondhand smoke.

The Tobacco Retailer Permit Ordinance requiring licensing of tobacco retailers, will come back to the board for its second reading and final approval Nov. 23.

“The residents of this county deserve strong policies to safeguard their health,” said Board President Ken Yeager, who brought the ordinance to the Board of Supervisors. “These ordinances make Santa Clara County a national leader in blocking tobacco sales to minors and protecting residents from secondhand smoke.”

The County’s Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance protects non-smokers from secondhand smoke exposure while in public. Under the measure, smoking is banned at the County Fairgrounds and at all County parks. More protections against secondhand smoke in workplaces in the unincorporated areas of the County will also be put in place. Smoking is prohibited in, and within 30 feet of, any outdoor service area, such as a ticket line or the outdoor portion of a restaurant, in the unincorporated areas. Additionally, motels and hotels in unincorporated areas will become entirely smoke-free facilities.

The Multi-Unit Residences Ordinance bans smoking in the common areas of all multi-unit residences in the unincorporated areas. It will also ban smoking in all units of apartments, condominiums and townhouses. The ordinance allows for setting up designated smoking areas for multi-unit residences provided that they are in unenclosed areas that are at least 30 feet away from operable doors, windows and other openings into enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited.

Funding for public education about the new ordinances will come out of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition to other educational efforts, the funding will also be used to advocate similar, comprehensive tobacco control policies in Santa Clara County cities.

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