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City Considering Establishing Smoke Protections to benefit people who live, work and play in El Cerrito
Proposed Smoke Pollution Protection Ordinance
City staff is currently developing a draft Smoke Pollution Protection Ordinance and an ordinance to establish a tobacco retailer's license.  It is expected that the draft ordinances will be presented to the City Council for their consideration this summer.

In early 2013, 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.

Since that time, City staff have been gathering community feedback on the level of smoking restrictions desired within the City of El Cerrito. Denice Dennis, Project Manager of the Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project, is providing technical assistance to the city in its public information and implementation efforts. 

On May 20, 2014, the City Council held a study session on this topic. Assistant City Manager Karen Pinkos made a presentation, and the Council heard from a number of community members and. After some discussion,  the Council directed staff to draft an ordinance that would establish a level of restriction on smoking, including e-cigarettes and marijuana, in the City. Parks, open space and commercial areas should be designated as entirely smoke free. The Council also directed staff to conduct research regarding smoking on all sidewalks and public through ways, including non-commercial areas, while also considering options for defining a non-smoking perimeter around schools. All multi-family dwelling units should be 100% smoke free with a phased in transition period of twelve months or when a lease expires, whichever is less. Additionally, staff was directed to research fines that are significant enough to fund an enforcement officer, signage and education.

The Council also directed staff to bring back an ordinance at the same time, to address regulating the sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes and raise the age for the purchase of purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21.

With this guidance from the Council, and input gathered from the community, staff is currently developing a draft ordinance.  It is expected that the draft ordinance will be presented to the City Council for their consideration this summer.

Background on the process
Summer 2013
Over the summer of 2013, 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.

Online Survey
Following these meetings, City developed an online survey to gather 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. 

February Community Workshop
A Community Workshop on Smoke Protection was held on February 27, 2014.  Click here to see the presentation given at the workshop. 

Information from the online survey and the February community meeting were included the presenation to Council in May.

June Community Workshop
Community members were invited to attend a workshop at City Hall to learn more and provide comments on proposed smoke pollution regulations, including
·Prohibiting smoking in parks, recreation areas, and open space
·Prohibiting smoking in multi-unit family housing (2 or more units)
·Prohibiting smoking in other public spaces
·Prohibiting smoking in commercial areas 
·Prohibiting smoking on sidewalks
·Establish a local tobacco retailer license program
·Increase the fine for littering cigarettes and cigarette butts

You can download the presentation from the 6/5 Community Workshop.

Contact Staff

If you have any questions, suggestions, or input on secondhand smoke protection regulations, please contact Karen Pinkos, Assistant City Manager. 

Resources to Help You Quit Smoking
Visit the Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project's Cessation Resources webpage to learn about resources available to help you or a loved one quit smoking.