Foodservice Equipment Reports

No-Smoking Ban Expands To L.A.’s Sidewalks

The natural ventilation afforded by a fresh breeze isn’t enough to protect a restaurant’s outdoor patrons from secondhand smoke in Los Angeles, according to city officials there. Last week, the city enacted an ordinance that makes it illegal to light up in outdoor dining areas.

The prohibition makes Los Angeles the nation's biggest city with a smoke-free outdoor dining policy. And it is believed to be one of few that includes mobile food vendors.

The ordinance prohibits smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas and food courts and within 40 feet of food carts and mobile food trucks. Bars, clubs and private events at restaurants remain exempt. Although the city council unanimously approved the restrictions in January 2010, enacting the law was delayed to give businesses time to inform their customers and post "no smoking" signs. Violators, both customers and businesses, face fines of up to $500.

Smoking tobacco products is already prohibited at city beaches and parks, as well as within 25 feet of playgrounds, sports fields and picnic areas.

In recent years, at least four other Southern California cities, including Calabasas and Santa Monica, have passed smoke-free outdoor dining laws.

The nation’s largest city hasn’t yet gone that far. Smokers can still light up in New York’s sidewalk cafes, but as of May 23, smoking will be banned in all parks, boardwalks, beaches, recreation centers, swimming pools and pedestrian plazas.

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