Senate votes to close smoking loopholes

Legislation to close loopholes in California’s groundbreaking anti-smoking laws has passed the Senate on a 25-14 vote.

Senate Bill 575 by state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, strips from the law most of the earlier exemptions that permitted smoking in some work environments of certain sizes including hotel lobbies, bars, taverns, banquet rooms, employee break rooms and warehouses. Smoking would be banned in private homes used as daycare centers during operating hours.

DeSaulnier did agree to reinstate the exemption for private smokers’ lounges such as tobacco shops.

Violation of the law is punishable by fines of $100 for the first violation, $200 for a second within one year, and $500 for a third and for each subsequent violation.

Read on for the full release.

Smokefree Workplace Legislation Approved by Senate

Senate Bill 575 (DeSaulnier) Closes Loopholes in California Law that Expose Workers to Secondhand Smoke

Today, with a 25-14 vote, the Senate passed SB 575 (DeSaulnier) to strengthen California’s once ground- breaking smokefree workplace law.  SB 575 will protect California workers and patrons by eliminating loopholes in the state’s smokefree workplace law.

While once the leader in protecting workers from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke, California has fallen far behind.  This is due to the exemptions and loopholes in California’s smokefree workplace law.  Because of these loopholes thousands of California workers and patrons of certain businesses continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

“It is time to bring California’s once ground-breaking smokefree workplace law into the 21st Century,” said DeSaulnier.  “Twenty-five states have surpassed California’s law and we should be ashamed.  This bill will bring us up to par with other states”

SB 575 would remove the current exemptions in the smokefree workplace law that allow smoking in certain areas of a hotel/motel lobby and meeting and banquet rooms, warehouses, breakrooms, businesses with five or fewer employees, owner-operated businesses and other specified locations.

“Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in United States,” said Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).  “Californians go to work to earn an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, not to breathe in toxic air.  Yet, one in seven members of the workforce continues to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work.  This bill helps assure a healthy workplace for all Californians.”

This bill is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association.  It will next be sent to the State Assembly for consideration.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Elwood

    Don’t you just love the nanny state?

    Resistance is futile.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Call me a nanny but I wouldn’t object if the Legislature banned smoking everywhere except in single-family homes where only you have to breath your smoke. I don’t care if people want to kill themselves but leave me out of it.

  • Wendy Lack

    Sorry to say it, Lisa, but that remark qualifies you as a “nanny.”

    Guess I need to leave California. I value personal freedom far more than a little bit of smoke here and there.

    Living is a terminal condition.

  • John W

    I vote with Lisa the Nanny.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    I’m happy to be a nanny, then. If it were just a “little bit of smoke” here and there, that would be one thing. But often, it is not.

    Both my parents smoked like stoves and they smoked everywhere. The car. The house. Restaurants, until it was banned. And they had four kids. It wasn’t until I had my son that I had the nerve to tell them they couldn’t smoke in my house or in the car with him! They complied but they complained. They didn’t care if others objected to breathing their smoke. It was their “freedom” to smoke where they pleased. If anyone feels that the freedom to smoke is paramount, then let him or her to move to a 100-acre spread (it could still be in California!) and smoke away. Alone.

  • Greg D.

    The State should just come right out and ban smoking altogether. That would at least be intellectually honest. But to ban smoking icrementally from almost all areas of life, trampling on our liberty, but then continue to collect massive taxes from it is cowardice.

  • EC Citizen

    These types of Bills only serve to glorify the author. The result is a mirage of laws that only consume paper and clog the system down further. For every law passed there should be a law repealed. Maybe even two laws repealed with the amount of nonsense laws that exist.

    Why does this guy keep getting elected ?

  • It astounds me that we have not come up with a smokeless cigarette.
    Banning smoking would cause a drop in revenue and a massive increase in crime.
    Considering that we have not been able to stop smoking in prisons when it is banned -the ultimate police state- the prospects of a full ban working is nil.

    Continued education, finding the right tax penalty price vs black market activities vs deterrence as a matrix is the best weapon against it. While public restrictions can be a pain and rile the civil rights bone in some’s bodies, it does have a function in the over all goal of reducing smoking. Now if you disagree with the goal that is displayed acted on, that is a whole different issue.

  • Elwood

    @ Wendy

    One of my doctors told me:

    “Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease.”

  • Greg D.

    Edi, You describe my position exactly – I disagree with banning smoking ANYWHERE. People should be free to decide which businesses they want to patronize, and part of that decision is whether they allow smoking or not. The statists who have been trying to ban smoking for decades were relatively unsuccessful until the dubious claims of second-hand smoke or so called “passive smoking” were made. I say dubious because despite the primary claim that second hand smoke is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death is based on a study that even the World Health Organization, no friend of conservatives there, has condemned as faulty science. If it weren’t for the sway the promoters of the second hand smoke folks have over the progressives, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  • John W

    Like Lisa the nanny, I grew up in a house where one parent smoked three packs a day. It was great that Mom saved all those Raleigh cigarette coupons that were occasionally redeemed for stuff for the family. We probably actually encouraged her to smoke more, so that we could get more stuff. Growing up with it, I didn’t think much about it. And I spent a number of years doing business travel on planes with those smoking and non-smoking sections (what a joke). But, now, second-hand smoke literally gives me a headache (and I detect it before I actually see the person(s) smoking); so it’s not imaginary. I can also smell it in my clothes when I get home. So, while I can’t forgive DeSaulnier for his role in sending Contra Costa on it’s way to bankruptcy while a supervisor and for other deeds as a legislator, I support him on this.

  • Wendy Lack

    @ John W., Lisa, et. al.

    Don’t get me wrong. I, too, grew up with smoking parents and, today, detest smoke.

    Where we differ is that I value personal freedom more than I hate smoking; and am perfectly OK voting with my feet and not frequenting smoky businesses (or permitting smoking in my home).

    More laws means more lawsuits and enforcement costs — both of which we can do without in CA.

  • Dr. Steve

    These laws are self-enforcing for the most part, and over time help folks to quit and avoid disease,disability, and early death. There are fewer widows and orphans and health-related bankruptcies–what’s not to like unless you are a tobacco dealer.

  • rosa

    While they’re at it, can they also ban talking on cellphones except in the privacy of a single family home? Noise pollution sucks. Hey! Now that the WHO has said cellphones might cause brain cancer, there’s actually a medical reason to ban cellphone use! Howzabout it, Mr. DeSaulnier?

  • Elwood

    @ Rosa

    Don’t give him any ideas.

    He can spawn enough idiotic schemes all by himself.