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Los Angeles County Strengthens Smoke-free Ordinance to Protect More Residents

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Yesterday on 3/19, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors passed amendments to strengthen the County’s policies on smoke-free environments and to close loopholes where smoking is permitted. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) provided recommendations to close the gaps of existing County smoke- free ordinances.

The approved changes to the ordinance include:

  • Updates to the definition of “smoke” and smoking” to include Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) and cannabis;
  • Ban on smoking for all outdoor areas of County facilities, including near windows and entryways, handicap ramps, parking lots, and driving range and eating areas at County golf courses, and in County vehicles and at parking areas of public beaches and parks;
  • Restrictions of smoking within 25 feet of outdoor areas for all dining and bar establishments that offer food to the public, within 40 feet of any mobile food vendor or temporary food facility, and at bus stops in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

The U.S. Surgeon General has stated that there is no risk- free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death and kills nearly 41,000 non-smoking Americans annually.

“Public Health supports stronger regulations that protect the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Exposure to secondhand smoke represents a significant public health problem locally. Los Angeles County’s comprehensive approach to tobacco control is a model example which can be applied to help local cities strengthen their own tobacco control policies.”

According to the 2015 Los Angeles County Health Survey, 53% of adults were exposed to secondhand smoke in outdoor areas and 70% of County residents were in favor of a law prohibiting smoking in outdoor dining areas. In Los Angeles County, over 70 cities have adopted smoke-free parks/recreational area policies, 27 cities have adopted smoke-free outdoor dining policies – 17 of which included ESDs and cannabis in their definition of smoking, and 16 cities have passed comprehensive smoke-free policies that cover outdoor dining areas, public events, service lines, parks and recreational areas, and other public areas.

In partnership with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, Public Health hosted a webinar and conducted six in-person informational town halls throughout the County to provide information and to allow opportunities for the public and stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed ordinance changes.

For more information about the approved ordinance, call the Tobacco Control and Prevention Program at (213) 351-7890.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,100 employees and has an annual budget of $1 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealthinstagram.com /lapublichealthfacebook.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/Lapublichealth.

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