City proposes tighter smoking rules

By Tamara Steiner on March 5, 2018

A Grade of D from the American Lung Association for Clayton’s tobacco control efforts and an outdated smoking ordinance from 1993 have prompted the city to update its smoking regulations.

In 1993, electronic cigarettes did not exist and pot was illegal everywhere. New ways to smoke and new research on the effects of second hand smoke have left the city seeking clarity on use and enforcement guidelines.

The California Health and Safety Code prohibits smoking or ingesting cannabis in public or in any area where smoking is prohibited by local law, and within 1,000 feet of schools or other places where children are present.

City staff, however, is recommending the city go further and prohibit smoking and cannabis use in all indoor workplaces, public places and in apartments and condos where the units share a wall.

While the California Labor Code prohibits smoking in most indoor workplaces, it does list seven exemptions. City staff is recommending Clayton eliminate all exemptions from the new ordinance except for a retail or wholesale tobacco store that has a private smoker’s lounge.

The proposed tighter regulations will prohibit smoking inside all multi-family residences that share a common wall including cottages, condos and apartments regardless of whether the unit is rented or owner-occupied. However, landlords or HOAs can designate a smoking area on the grounds as long as it is away from any doorway or window.

The new ordinance will establish a 25 ft. smoke-free buffer zone around The Grove. During concerts, smokers will have to move across Marsh Creek to the Corral or further down Main St. or Center away from the playground to smoke.

Council considered applying the 25 ft. buffer zone to all of downtown, but backed off on this idea.

“It’s too restrictive,” said Councilmember Julie Pierce. “Everyone is too close to each other. You can’t get 25 feet away from one doorway without being right up against another business. I’m concerned about the economic impact this would have on our downtown businesses.”

Council directed staff to prepare a draft of the new regulations. The proposed ordinance will be mailed to residents, homeowners associations and local businesses for input before going to the City Council for final adoption.

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