City Manager's Updates

Monthly updates from El Cerrito City Manager Karen Pinkos.

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Nov 15

Proposed Smoking Restrictions Ordinance

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 4:41 PM by Suzanne Iarla

During the discussion on strategies for fulfilling the Strategic Plan goal of Ensuring
the Public's Health and Safety, both the City Council and members of the public
identified "Explore innovative and best practices for promoting public health,"
specifically referencing the regulation of secondhand smoke, as an objective for
the City. In the American Lung Association's 2013 "State of Tobacco Control"
report for California, which assigns grades for local tobacco policies, El Cerrito
received a grade of "F".

Over the summer as part of the EC STARS internship program, intern Amel
Alkaheli researched this topic and gathered information from other cities, Contra
Costa County, and non-profit organizations including the American Cancer
Society and American Lung Association. As part of her internship project, Amel
developed a presentation on the potential provisions that could be included in a
smoking restrictions ordinance for El Cerrito based on her research and the
criteria from the American Lung Association report. This was presented at
meetings of the Park and Recreation Commission and the Environmental Quality
Committee in July and August, respectively. Both advisory bodies were receptive
to such an ordinance and provided valuable feedback.

Following these meetings, City staff met to strategize gathering broad community
feedback on the provisions that were presented to the advisory bodies as well as
obtain input on the overall topic of smoking restrictions within the City of El
Cerrito. Staff also met with Denice Dennis, the Contra Costa County Tobacco
Prevention Project Manager to discuss how the County can provide technical assistance to the city in its public information and  implementation efforts. Ms. Dennis has provided excellent information and will  continue to be involved as the City moves forward in the process of obtaining  public input and developing policies and legislation.

To that end, staff will be implementing a number of outreach efforts over the next
few months. An online forum and survey are planned within the next couple of
weeks and will be housed on the City's website at
(as of 11/15 link is not live; check week of 11/18). A community meeting will be held after the new year
and will be announced in the next News and Views newsletter and the Recreation
Brochure. As staff gathers feedback, this information will be used to develop a
draft ordinance that will then be presented for community review and comments.
Following a public review period, an ordinance would then be presented to the
City Council for consideration. Staff anticipates this could be in spring or early

Staff will continue to keep the City Council informed of public outreach efforts and
steps in the process. Should the Council or members of the public have
questions, suggestions, or input on secondhand smoking regulations, please
contact Karen Pinkos or Suzanne larla.

Tag(s): smoking