The Los Angeles City Council calendar is fairly quiet for the week of September 29-October 3 due to the beginning of the Jewish New Year. That means there will probably be no action this week on any of the smoking ban initiatives currently in front of the Council.
A meeting of the Arts, Parks, Health & Aging committee is scheduled for this week, but none of the smoking matters are listed on the agenda. An expected meeting on the impact of the proposed smoking area in outdoor dining areas has not yet taken place, but is expected soon.
Opposition to the ban has been forming. The new national grass-roots organization, Cigar Rights of America, opposes the ban, noting that events like the recent God of Fire dinner at the Hotel Bel-Air – which raised $228,600 for charities that benefit children – would be eliminated. Other groups, including the California Restaurant Association, are informed on the issue and are considering their positions.
It’s also noteworthy to see that in other cities, a pushback is being felt against anti-tobacco initiatives. In San Francisco, a ban on selling tobacco products in pharmacies has drawn two lawsuits, from Walgreen Co. (complaining that such products can be sold by large retailers such as CostCo and Wal-Mart and supermarkets, even though both have pharmacies) and Altria (complaining that the ordinance blocks a store from selling a legal product). On October 8, a fairly contentious hearing is expected in Boston on proposed new regulations which would ban outdoor smoking, sales in pharmacies and other restrictions.