Sonoma County takes aim at smokers

Sonoma County is considering banning smoking in apartments and condominiums, on county-owned property, in parks, campgrounds and beaches and at many other outdoor public and private areas where people gather.

The ordinance, which seeks to reduce the effects of second hand smoke, would affect all areas of the county outside city limits and prohibit smoking at public events such as fairs, festivals and parades, outdoor dining areas and service areas such as ATMs, bank teller windows, telephones, ticket lines, bus stops and taxi stands.

"There is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke," said Lynn Walton, manager of the Healthy Communities section of the Sonoma County Public Health Division.

"It is a toxic chemical, a Class-A carcinogen. That's why the (proposed) ordinance has the strong protections and provisions that it does."

The new rules, if approved by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, would represent some of the strongest smoking restrictions in the county, on par with restrictions in Sebastopol and Rohnert Park.

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