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RESTAURANTS / RETAIL : Group Opposes Anti-Smoking Laws by Cities, Urges Universal Approach

August 05, 1993|Greg Johnson / Times Staff Writer

Where there's smoke . . .

Now that Los Angeles has enacted an ordinance that prohibits smoking in restaurants, will mandatory controls pop up in Orange County?

"We haven't heard of any recent proposals," said Michael Rhodes, president of Frontier Restaurants Inc. in Orange and president of the California Restaurant Assn.'s Orange County chapter. "We hope the L.A. ordinance is overturned. We believe that anti-smoking ordinances should be universal, not segmented by cities."

The restaurant association also argues that it's unfair for government to ban smoking in restaurants but allow it in other places of employment.

"We do recognize the health hazards of secondhand smoke as outlined by the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), and we're aware of the possible health problems it may cause to employees," Rhodes said. "Secondhand smoke puts employers at risk through lawsuits and worker's comp claims."

Restaurant owners in Orange County continue to enact their own no-smoking bans on a voluntary basis.

Rhodes outlawed smoking at two of his company's Russell's Famous Hamburger locations, because the restaurants were simply too small to accommodate both "smoking" and "no-smoking" sections.

And Knott's Restaurant Group is converting its Mrs. Knott's Restaurant in Irvine to a no-smoking facility. If that restaurant conversion goes smoothly, the company will ban smoking at its Mrs. Knott's Restaurants in Moreno Valley and Mission Viejo. The Irvine location will prohibit smoking after Sept. 1.

Smoke won't get in your eyes at Gustaf Anders, the South Coast Plaza Village restaurant. Smokers will be shown the door--which leads to the restaurant's outdoor patio, where smoking will be allowed. The smoking ban begins Sept. 1.

Smoke--the wood-fired kind--will remain in evidence at Laguna Hills Mall, where the 33rd California Pizza Kitchen location opened this past weekend. The Los Angeles-based chain is known for its wood-fired, upscale pizzas. The menu includes any number of non-traditional pizza toppings, including Thai Chicken, Shrimp-Pesto and Santa Fe Chicken.

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