The Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance

Monday, September 25, 2017

Next Tuesday, October 3rd at 6:45pm, the Emeryville City Council will hold a study session to review a draft proposal to update the city's Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance. All residents are welcome to attend and encouraged to participate and provide feedback.

During this past year, the city's Housing Committee reviewed the results of a citywide survey that sampled smoking prevalence, secondhand smoke impacts and preferences on regulation from residents all across the city. The primary goal of the survey was to identify ways for the city to improve smoke-free housing for residents, especially in multi-unit buildings.

Some of the data revealed by the survey include:

  • Roughly 44% of respondents said that they have secondhand smoke entering their unit.
  • 45% of respondents said that secondhand smoke in their unit came from tobacco products while 38% identified cannabis smoke as the source.
  • A majority of respondents in the survey preferred the city pursuing 100% smoke-free housing policies for multi-family housing (2+ units). A similar majority preferred this for building common areas and a smaller majority thought it should apply to private balconies as well.

The Housing Committee reviewed the survey results and recommended a number of changes to the Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance. The draft proposed ordinance is available online in its entirety for public review.

The Council welcomes your input on this issue. Like all agenda items, members of the public are welcome to speak for up to three minutes at this meeting. Among the items that will be discussed:

  • Whether to apply the ordinance to all or only some types of smoke, including but not limited to tobacco, cannabis, electronic cigarettes, etc.
  • Defining what constitutes a common area for a multi-unit building
  • Creating criteria for residential buildings to establish smoking-allowed areas
  • Consideration of a list of potential exceptions to the no-smoking restrictions, including a possible exception for cannabis smoke at a future dispensary site
  • Remedies for residents who are adversely impacted by secondhand smoke in violation of the ordinance

The Council will also have the opportunity to consider other provisions such as smoking restrictions at public events and restrictions on the sale of certain types of tobacco products such as flavored cigarettes. Council will give staff direction and bring back a final draft ordinance to consider and vote on later this year.

Emeryville lags behind most other cities in Alameda County when it comes to protecting the public health from the adverse effects of secondhand smoke. While the dangers of secondhand smoke are fairly well known these days, this comprehensive fact sheet detailing the effects secondhand smoke has on public health is worth a review by those interested in the subject.

State of Tobacco Control.jpgI wish you and yours a wonderful first week of fall and hope to hear from you!