It’s true that the approved instructions for a new ordinance still have to be turned into actual language by the City Attorney and the process could be derailed. But if the agreed-to compromise between Councilman Grieg Smith, the anti-smoking regulars and the opposition led by cigar smokers and the cigar trade with the help of Cigar Rights of America has several positive points in its favor for the future, in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Based on this important concept, which was the foundation of Wednesday’s agreement, one can envision a cottage industry of restaurants, bars and other facilities in which smoking will be allowed if entry is age-restricted. Indoor smoking is not permitted in California because of the alleged “need to protect” workers from secondhand smoke exposure, but even this may change over time for age-restricted facilities.
From the cigar smoker’s standpoint, this kind of restriction makes some sense because most cigar smoking does not take place in the presence of minors, except at home. And now the nation’s second-largest city has taken a position which does not simply humiliate smokers further, but balances the 86% majority of non-smokers against the appropriate and recognized rights of adult smokers to enjoy a legal product.
This is a significant and exportable line of thought and fully supports the rights of smokers to enjoy themselves in adults-only facilities such as cigar shops and tobacco bars.
Parks proposed that smoking be prohibited anywhere people gather, which would include on the city’s streets, in common areas of apartment buildings and so on. It raised the specter of a police state in which the Los Angeles Police Department would have to spend an enormous amount of time issuing tickets . . . or ignore the law.
Although Parks’ proposal will not be dismissed and will linger on the books for some time, it would have to come before the same committee once again to be considered. And for now and some time into the future, Councilman Tom LaBonge and his Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee don’t have much interest in debating smoking again.