Palo Alto Council Passes Smoking Ban

The Palo Alto City Council passed a smoking ban on Monday night, but send the portion regarding the e-cigarette use back for more study.

The city council extended an existing ban to all commercial areas including downtown and the Stanford Shopping Center. The ban also includes all dining areas.Violators now face a $250 fine for the first offense and $300 for the second.

The former rule was the smoking was banned within 25 feet of doorways at businesses.

Claudia Keith, spokeswoman for the city, said the e-cigarettes portion of the ban was referred back to the council's policy and services committee for further review.

Last week, Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Scharff said he welcomed the ban.

"I definitely support [the ban]. First of all, it would make enforcement so much easier. It's a lot cleaner downtown and on California Avenue" he said. "Right now, you can't smoke within 25 feet of a doorway. But no one really knows what that means, but to say you can't smoke on University Avenue, that's a lot clearer."

Before the vote, some residents said the ban would make the air healthier.

"I personally think that it's good for people's health, not to be smoking," East Palo Alto resident Lance Newby said. "So, I think it's a good thing to help people out with pushing them towards better health."

But some had questioned whether the proposed ban is too strict.

"I think it's a little too much, it's a little overkill," Mountain View resident Michelle Deleonibus said. "If people want to enjoy a cigarette, then let them enjoy a cigarette."

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