Culver City will make existing city restrictions on smoking even tougher when a new law goes into effect next week limiting smoking in restaurants, public places and in the workplace.
The amended ordinance expands a 1975 law that was one of the first of its kind in the United States. That law restricted smoking in certain public areas and retail establishments. The amendments were passed unanimously by the Culver City Council on Aug. 10.
"It's strong enough to make a significant statement and . . . it allows people to have a smoke-free environment if they want it," City Atty. Joseph W. Pannone.
The strengthening follows on the heels of a Beverly Hills ordinance that requires owners of large restaurants to limit smoking to no more than 50% of dining areas. That law originally imposed a total ban on smoking in most restaurants, but the Beverly Hills City Council eased the restrictions when it passed an amendment last July.
Similar Laws Elsewhere
Dozens of communities nationwide have passed similar laws in recent years.
The Culver City amendments, which take effect Sept. 10, require restaurants seating more than 25 customers to devote two-thirds of their tables to nonsmokers. Owners must post signs designating smoking and nonsmoking sections.
In addition, businesses employing more than three workers will have to honor requests from nonsmokers to forbid smoking in their immediate work areas. Smoking will be banned entirely in restrooms, hallways, elevators, conference and meeting rooms, classrooms and auditoriums in all places of work.
Employers also will be required to take annual polls of employees to determine how much space should be devoted to nonsmokers in lunchrooms, cafeterias and lounges.
Smoking will be forbidden during business hours in Culver City's retail stores and in common areas of offices, banks, hotels and motels.
The law also prohibits smoking in cinemas, public restrooms, passenger elevators, buses, taxis and other forms of public transportation. Smoking will be banned in public transit depots unless separate waiting areas are established for smokers and nonsmokers.
The ordinance exempts private residences, bars, hotel and motel rooms, tobacco shops and restaurants seating fewer than 25 customers.
The restrictions on smoking in the workplace are similar to measures adopted in Los Angeles in 1984. That law required employers with more than five workers to enact policies that would respect the rights of both smokers and nonsmokers.
The Los Angeles City Council this month is expected to vote on an ordinance proposed last spring by Councilman Marvin Braude that would limit smoking to 50% of floor space in restaurants seating more than 50 customers. The law would ban smoking in parts of child-care facilities and in public areas of libraries, museums and art galleries.
To date, more than 100 cities in the country have passed laws restricting smoking in restaurants, according to Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. More than 30 jurisdictions in California have limited smoking in the workplace.