I think it’s about time the Laguna Beach City Council follow suit with neighboring communities and sister cities when it comes to protecting its residents against secondhand smoke. Over a year ago, our neighbor Laguna Woods, passed a law preventing smoking on balconies and common property where smoke travels in others units. The beach city of Santa Monica not only passed the same law but has even proposed preventing smoking with in multi-dwelling units (which may go too far on personal liberties). The City of Pasadena also passed a law preventing smoking on common property on multi-dwelling property.
The California State Legislature just reviewed a bill to ban smoking on common property and within residential multi-dwelling units. It failed primarily because of the inclusion banning smoking within a person’s own unit. Unfortunately, the section of the bill that included restriction on balconies and common property was also denied as it was all in one bill.
This is a very serious health issue to our community. Why doesn’t the Laguna Beach City Council protect our multi-dwelling homeowners and tenants from being the recipient of second hand smoke? It’s kind of ironic; people do not smoke in their homes because they don’t want their home to stink. But, when it flows inside their neighbors’ home, they don’t care.
The American Lung Association recently graded local communities on their ability to regulate smoking. In the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2013” assessment, which uses a point grading system where high numbers meant cities did good jobs at regulating tobacco and low numbers meant they didn’t, Laguna Beach’s overall score came out to a 1. The city earned a ‘D’ grade with its ability to regulate smoke-free outdoor environments, and received an ‘F’ grade in smoke-free housing and how the city reduces sales of tobacco products. That’s downright shameful. They ban the use of plastic bags to protect the environment but do nothing to protect our health.
I hope the City Council will get serious about their residents’ health. Multi dwelling units in Laguna Beach are a considerable tax base and should be considered a priority. The HOAs and management are afraid to do anything in fear of lawsuits and are looking to the city to respond. I am asking them to.
Michelle Semple, Laguna Beach