Pleasanton squeezing smokers out of their puffs

Council ruling prohibits smoking at special events downtown, other festivities

Smokers are gradually being squeezed out of their puffs in public places in Pleasanton by more rules aimed at encouraging them to abandon their habits or take their smokes into back alleys where they're still allowed.

Last Tuesday, the City Council amended the municipal code to prohibit smoking at special events downtown to allow those at street fairs and other festivities to enjoy a non-smoking environment.

The action follows a ban on smoking in all Pleasanton parks put in place in July 2014 at the recommendation of the city's Youth Commission, which argued that secondhand smoke poses a threat to others in the parks. That ruling also prohibits smoking on public trails and in city parking lots serving parks and trails. The council exempted, however, Callippe Preserve Golf Course, although the course's clubhouse already prohibits smoking inside the building and on its outdoor patio.

Members of the Youth Commission were given the Environmental Stewardship Award for their work at the Pleasanton Weekly's Tri-Valley Heroes awards ceremony last October.

The council's newest ruling goes well beyond downtown, stretching the no-smoking rule to all enclosed and some unenclosed public places in the city. These include elevators and public restrooms, buses and taxicabs, and ticket, boarding and waiting areas at public transit depots, all retail stores except tobacco stores, grocery stores and supermarkets, bars, banquet rooms and restaurants, outdoor dining areas, including those on Main Street, and "all areas available to and customarily used by the general public."

The ban, adopted unanimously by the council, doesn't go as far as what City Councilwoman Karla Brown wants, which is to ban smoking in all of downtown Pleasanton and in all multifamily apartment and condominium complexes. That could come next since Brown has asked the city staff to work with the Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA) to determine where and how extensive a smoking ban could be imposed downtown. She's also acknowledged that such a ban would require support from downtown businesses and apartment and condominium owners.

The council's new law also applies to any building "not open to the sky" that is primarily used for exhibiting activities open to the public, and to health and residential daycare facilities, including those serving adults as well as children. Hotels and motels can now set aside no more than 25% of their rooms for smoking guests.

Although smoking bans like these block secondhand smoke, studies show that the most effective strategy to reduce smoking is to raise the price of the tobacco product. This has been demonstrated repeatedly, with a typical estimate that a 1% price hike would reduce smoking by 1%. Clean indoor nonsmoking regulations have been shown to be successful in the U.S. and other countries. Physician counseling is also effective.

The largest external cost from smoking is harm to an unborn infant when the mother smokes. This is due to nicotine in the smoke. Even e-cigarettes are "nicotine-delivery devices," which means we should add these to no-smoking regulations and tax them as tobacco products.

Employers can play a role by offering smoke-free environments and discounts on health insurance for non-smokers. Insurers can play a role by educating physicians to include no-smoking advice in their consultations with patients and by covering those visits with low patient cost-sharing.

There's also the cost incentive. WalletHub, a personal finance online social network, calculated the potential monetary losses brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. The study included the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health-care expenditures, income losses and other costs. It showed that smoking can not only ruin your health, but it can also burn a nasty hole through your wallet.

Tobacco use accounts for nearly half a million premature deaths in the U.S. each year and is the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association. Even those around tobacco smokers aren't safe from its harmful effects. Since 1964, smoking-related illnesses have claimed 20 million lives in the U.S., 2.5 million of which belonged to nonsmokers who developed diseases merely from secondhand-smoke exposure.

However, the economic and societal costs of smoking-related issues are just as staggering. Every year, reports show, Americans collectively spend a total of $326 billion, including nearly $170 billion in direct health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Given the cost for taxpayers who must fund many of these expenses, City Council members said their action was more than regulatory; but really amounted to a significant tax break for the community.

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35 people like this
Posted by Lung-Cancer
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

Please increase TAX on all smoked items, including e-cigs. Be bold add 50% to cost to set an example !

Yes, this will kill a couple business, but, the greater good is health for ALL !!!!

4 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:44 am

The ban includes weed too, right!!?

4 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2016 at 11:24 am

So who is going to enforce this rule downtown? The shop owners? I think not, why eliminate potential customers by asking them not to smoke in front of your store or restaurant. Call the police? I can't get them to come fast enough to get handicap parking violators, good luck having them curb smokers. I have no problem with e-cigs, at least I don't have to smell them.

21 people like this
Posted by Jaime, J'aime Bridal
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

I am happy to ask smokers in front of my store to move along. If you have smoked in front of my store on Main Street, you have already been yelled at. My brides, my staff, and I do not need to be subjected to your smoke. I do not want my dresses to smell like smoke.

Please ban smoking downtown.

19 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

I agree with LC, tax smoking products at extreme levels -- $25 per pack? -- and keep adding it up until people cannot afford it. I also think that any smoking caused illness should not be covered by insurance. Got lung cancer from smoking? Pay up front or no medical treatment.

3 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Add banning of wood burning fireplaces and we will help everyone's health.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Avila

on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I love "sin" taxes. One area where I do appreciate what our state has done. It's a health issue, it's a nuisance, spend anytime in another state with "smoking and non smoking" sections in a restaurant and the appreciation for what our state has done is understood.

4 people like this
Posted by Devils Advocate
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2016 at 1:40 am

You can't smoke anywhere, but you can drink everywhere. Smoking in movies changes the rating, but in a movie there can be 100 adults in a scene and everyone can be drinking alcohol, and that could be in a family friendly movie. Smoking is "bad" for everyone's health, but drinking and driving, doing drugs and driving is on the rise. Yet we continue to encourage lax marijuana laws, and perpetuate the idea that we need alcohol to have a good time, and at our festivals, parades, and events. Our society is dumb and hypocritical.

Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 26, 2016 at 6:49 am

I hope this does include marijuana. I don't know how many times I have been subjected to marijuana smoke just walking down the street. The police won't do anything about it because they just say they probably have a medical license. I lived in Stoneridge apartments for a while and throughout the warm months when I wanted my windows open, my apartment would be filled with marijuana smoke every single night from someone smoking on their balcony below me. I had no recourse because they had "a medical license." It doesn't have to and probably shouldn't be "smoked" for medical use. But, these new restrictions are great progress. Let's keep it going.

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2016 at 9:08 am

DA makes a few good points about other things being bad, or even worse for us than smoking. However, your drinking and your drug use do not force me to consume or breathe what you are doing. Smoking makes all of us victims.

I strongly believe that when your drinking or drug use does affect me -- while driving for instance, the user should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Kill someone while driving drunk or on drugs? Life in prison, no parole. Period. But if you choose to drink in your own home, have at it and keep away from your car.

Like this comment
Posted by danielhammond
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2016 at 11:40 am

Chemical analysis of exhaled human breath using a terahertz spectroscopic approach

“As many as 3500 chemicals are reported in exhaled human breath. Many of these chemicals are linked to certain health conditions and environmental exposures. This experiment demonstrated a method of breath analysis utilizing a high resolution spectroscopic technique for the detection of ethanol, methanol, and acetone in the exhaled breath of a person who consumed alcohol. This technique is applicable to a wide range of polar molecules. For select species, unambiguous detection in a part per trillion dilution range with a total sample size in a femtomol range is feasible.”
http: //

“Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council acting director of public health, said, “Second hand smoke can harm our health and contains over 4,000 chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer.”

Well compared to the 3500 chemicals reported in human breath, some of them known to cause contagion, Cynthia Lyons’ concern over only 4,000 seems quite pathetic,

I don’t particularly want to breath the contents of some stranger’s lungs either, but up until now had considered it unavoidable.
Of course banning other people breathing in all enclosed public spaces would be impracticable – compulsory masks, perhaps?

2 people like this
Posted by danielhammond
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2016 at 11:41 am

This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

2 people like this
Posted by danielhammond
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm

OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

This sorta says it all

These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ''SAFE LEVELS''


All this is in a small sealed room 9x20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes.

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA.

Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

Like this comment
Posted by hookah hal
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I hear a hookah lounge is thinking of opening somewhere downtown.
seems like the temperance movement wants to stop drinking, again. so why not bring the smoke indoors.

Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2016 at 12:56 pm


I hope you're joking. If not, happy trolling!

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 26, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I agree that we have a double standard for smoking and drinking. You are correct they are not viewed the same. I don't smoke, I really hate being around others that do (I don't think they're bad people, I just don't enjoy the smell and how I feel after), and especially in areas where smoking is allowed (out of state restaurants).

I'll continue to vote for taxes on cigarettes.

Oh and vaping just looks really stupid while we are on the topic. We should tax the hell out of that.

Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:28 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

@Al: Have you ever been in downtown Pleasanton? There are no (zippo) handicap parking places for the Police to enforce.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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