“I just finished reading the article in the Dispatch regarding the cigarette smoke. Our house is located next to a mutli-unit dwelling and a church. What has occurred here is everyone is outside smoking and they are out in front of our house. We are sandwiched in between. They leave their cigarettes around. All these people are outside smoking right in front of our house. I have a mother who is on oxygen. And there isn’t supposed to be any smoking around this area. I don’t know if that law applies to them. Does it also apply to the church and their congregation? Who do I call in response to them smoking?”
Red Phone: Dear Smoked Out, The new laws that were approved in November make it illegal to smoke within 30 feet of outdoor service areas in unincorporated areas of the county (Ordinance No. NS-625.5). It also limits smoking in multi-unit residences in the unincorporated part of the county to designated areas only (Ordinance No. NS-625.6).
Unfortunately for people like yourself, this doesn’t help you because the new laws don’t apply to those within city limits, said Scott Barron, Gilroy code enforcement officer.
The state has a regulation against smoking (California Labor Code Section 6406.5), but this is primarily just for businesses, he said.
Property owners can set up designated nonsmoking areas. Other areas that are off limits to smokers within the city as defined in Gilroy Municipal Code 19B include elevators, hospitals and health care facilities, places of public assembly, public lobbies and hallways, museums, libraries, galleries and public restrooms.
Barron recommended contacting the individual property owners to see if there is anything that can be done. If residents of the dwelling or patrons of the church light up outside in front of your home, you may consider writing a letter to the church and the owners of the residential dwelling explaining your concerns.
County residents can report violations by calling the Santa Clara County Health Department at 793-2700 or the Secondhand Smoke Helpline at 999-0500.
Hope this helps, good caller.