Folsom leaders are poised to ban smoking in apartments and in outdoor seating of restaurants and bars.
The City Council on Tuesday night directed staff to draft new amendments to the city’s 20-year-old smoking ordinance to impose those bans. The City Council began amending the ordinance last year with restrictions on smoking in recreation areas.
Officials said the changes are the result of greater concern over the effects of secondhand smoke.
A majority of council members indicated they were inclined to support smoking bans in apartments and restaurants and bars with outdoor seating after hearing a report from the city attorney about how businesses handle smoking and comments from the public. Several people spoke in support of restrictions, while the only opposition came from the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley.
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The proposals led to a spirited exchange between council members Jeff Starsky and Ernie Sheldon.
Starsky said he was worried that the restrictions “would stomp on someone’s civil rights.”
Sheldon, who has asthma, replied that “a smoker doesn’t have a civil right to affect my right to breathe.”
Starsky later said he agreed with Sheldon, that he intensely dislikes smoking, and supports restrictions, even though he worried they contribute to the idea of government as a “nanny state.”
City Attorney Bruce Cline was directed to come up with a proposal that would ban smoking in newly constructed apartments, and phase in a restriction on existing apartments over time. A time frame for a phase-in was not specified.
Council Member Kerri Howell, a smoker, wanted to find a way to allow bars and restaurants to keep outdoor smoking areas where food and drinks are not served. However, other council members said they thought such an approach would be unworkable.
Call The Bee’s Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065. Follow him on Twitter @BradB_at_SacBee.