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Your City Council is convening a study session on September 9th to discuss updating the City's current smoking ordinance. The study session will begin at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers and is open to the public. We hope to have stakeholders in attendance such as health care professionals, businesses, and residents.
Why are we holding this session? Communities all around the nation have enacted local policies to protect their residents from exposure to second-hand smoke (mostly from tobacco derived products). Second hand smoke is the cause of many conditions including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The California Air Resources Board, whose mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state, has determined that second hand smoke is a "toxic carcinogen." Therefore, the changes that we will be discussing to the smoking ordinance are those that affect how second hand smoke affects all resident's health. It is a Health Issue!
I am writing this article from many years of experience with this subject. Prior to being your council member I was an employee of the American Cancer Society. While there, I witnessed the profound effect that primary tobacco use and second hand smoke has on the human body. I would not want this devastation to happen to anyone; therefore, I want changes to the ordinance to protect the health of all residents and visitors of Foster City. With the proposed changes, individual freedoms are preserved, but the societal impact on air quality, litter and unintended financial impacts of smoking in shared spaces are addressed.
During the study of our current ordinance and resolutions, Herb Perez and I identified four issues that we felt must be addressed.
1. Strengthening the resolution that addresses smoking in all of the parks in town as well as our wonderful public events like the "Arts and Wine Festival". We want our parks and those public events to continue to be a place of enjoyment for our residents and visitors.
2. Addressing the issue of tobacco product litter in shared places. We want to free our maintenance staff from this task, so that they can work on other issues.
3. Reducing smoking in outdoor seating of restaurants from the current allowable level of 50% to 0%. Our current ordinance is the equivalent to saying that 50% of an airplane is dedicated to non-smoking; it simply does not work.
4. Broadening the definition of a tobacco product to the following: "Tobacco Product" means any substance containing tobacco leaf, and any product or formulation of matter containing biologically active amounts of nicotine that is manufactured, sold, offered for sale, or otherwise distributed with the expectation that the product or matter will be introduced into a human body, but does not include any cessation product specifically approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in treating nicotine or tobacco dependence.
We are excited about taking this step to further protect the public health and we are looking for your input as we move through the process. Please contact me with your thoughts on this issue at email@example.com.
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