Opinion: West Hollywood Needs to Deal with Secondhand Smoke

Boystown
A night on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood’s ‘Boystown.’ (Photo by Jon Viscott)

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]want to talk about something that is making our citizens and visitors sick and even causing death. It’s secondhand smoke. It affects everyone: gay, straight, adults, children, infants, men women.

Being a nurse practitioner and working in hospitals for over 20 years, I know, first hand, the effects of secondhand smoke. Too many lives have been cut short and too many people continue to suffer from serious health issues due to the toxic effects of secondhand smoke.

West Hollywood is in the dark ages when it comes to progressive regulation that protects is citizens and visitors from poisonous and deadly chemicals.

I live on Larrabee Street in West Hollywood, and in order for me to walk to the store or the park I have to walk through the “smoke zone”, a wall of secondhand smoke from the patios of the bars and restaurants on Santa Monica Boulevard.

This is a serious matter. Something needs to be done. It’s time for the City Council to stop ignoring it. Most of the smokers are not citizens of West Hollywood, yet they are allowed to make us sick.

West Hollywood recently received a “D” in the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report and rates as one of the worst cities in the state when it comes to secondhand smoke. We need to follow the model that Santa Monica has created to protect people from this deadly situation.

It’s time for we, the citizens, to get organized work with attorneys to start a lawsuit against the City since the Council members turn a blind eye to this totally preventable situation.

It’s also a good time to start organizing to vote the current council members out of office in favor of people who care. It is so bad that a potential candidate for City Council (Larry Block) sells cigarettes in his clothing store in the “smoke zone.” this is not a good sign for the future.

West Hollywood resident Jack Cline lives on Larrabee Street and is a nurse practitioner.

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genedy
4 years ago

There is a clear body of scientific evidence that secondhand smoke harms. Denying this is like denying that pollution cases global warming. Although different individuals have different reactions and effects. For example, some people immediately get high blood pressure and headache, while others not. If you don’t have adverse reactions to secondhand smoke, don’t assume that others also don’t have them too.

Chokin On Second Hand Smokin
Chokin On Second Hand Smokin
5 years ago

One heavy smoker and one second hand smoke victim are both dead from smoke. Smoke Free housing in WeHo is BS

audreysilk
audreysilk
5 years ago

Tiffany, I’d be more concerned about your choice of doctor because he’s practicing quackery. Did he also tell you that vehicle exhaust — same constituents but 1000s of magnitudes higher and on a daily basis — could be fatal to you? He should have if he believes that molecules of transient cigarette smoke can do that. Barbecue smoke too. Did he tell you to avoid that as well? Your doctor is not only passing on bad information but he does so at your emotional expense. He’s stressing you out for no reason. It’s your doctor who is aggravating your condition.

Tiffany
Tiffany
5 years ago

I recently suffered a stroke and was told by my doctor to avoid secondhand cigarette smoke or it could be fatal for me. However my apartment neighbors who live beneath me constantly smoke and the secondhand smoke seeps into my bedroom through my air conditioning unit when they smoke on their back balcony and into my living room when they smoke out front. Since I am no longer willing to put my life at risk, I am going to be forced to leave. WeHo really needs to do something about this problem.

Boris the Democrat
Boris the Democrat
5 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

It’s sad that cities don’t take the problem seriously. Secondhand smoke is a physical assault on another human being, and should not be tolerated. You should move, cause you have to think of your health first, but consider a lawsuit against your landlord for failing to protect you from physical assaults, that is if you can document how many times you brought it to their attention. Good luck.

Diane
Diane
8 years ago

Wow. I can’t believe the number of ignorant comments concerning second hand smoke. Are you guys so embedded in 1984 that you don’t know the truth? Or, s it that you just want to be spoiled little boys and not fa e the scientific and medical facts. SECOND HAND SMOKE KILLS. There’s NO debate about that. It’s a deadly exposure for many people. It’s also selfish, ignorant, immature, and just flat out dangerous to cling to old science. Cigarettes, first hand, second hand, and the newly recognized ‘sticky nicotine byproduct’ known as third hand byproduct is harmful and deadly. Why… Read more »

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago
Reply to  Diane

Diane, can you name the study which proves what you are saying? Also, a quick walk by some cigarette smoke is not going to take your life, sorry. And I am not a smoker, and never have been. I don’t like it, but I think stating unproven facts is not right. xo

wehoenthusiast
wehoenthusiast
8 years ago

Well I understand that when I go out, and want to be on the patio of a nightclub or bar I will be around smoking. I don’t smoke but don’t care if others as long as they don’t blow it in my face. Most people are polite about it. I would be more concerned of air quality and the exhaust as someone put it due to cars in gridlock. Regular restaurants do not allow smoking but a bar with food does. I’m sorry to say it like this but its where you choose to go. A chain smoking roommate or… Read more »

PeteP
PeteP
8 years ago

I’m as much against smoking as anyone, but this opinion piece made me laugh. What’s with the snide comment that the problem is being gererated by people who are not citizens of West Hollywood? Give me a break sweetheart. Do you have any idea how West Hollywood operates? It is the non-“citizens” who pay all of your bills. They plug your ubiquitous parking meters ($4,200,000 a year), they pay your parking tickets ($8,600,000 a year), they pay the hotel bed taxes ($15,500,000 a year) and a huge chunk of your sales taxes. In other words, these non-“Citizens” fund your City… Read more »

Randy Matthews
8 years ago

Jimmy, – I didn’t imply that they should take a poll on anything. I was talking about mobilizing people, and merely pointed out that the council might listen, if a group of people spoke out, and there was some sort of consensus. Look at recent decisions regarding Plummer Park and the Gay Flag at City Hall as recent examples. – Yeah, maybe it *should* only take one person, but that’s not usually how the world works. So good luck with that. – Nothing in your earlier comments led me to believe that you only wanted those that smoke in public… Read more »

jimmyf
jimmyf
8 years ago
Reply to  Randy Matthews

I guess where we disagree is that I consider secondhand smoke assault. A physical assault, no different than if someone punched someone in the face. It stinks, and it’s known and proven to be toxic. You consider it harmless, and you have no compassion for the people hurt by it. You prefer to pander to the smoking addicts who monopolize the taxpayer-funded sidewalks, which nonsmokers can’t use, eventhough they paid taxes for them.

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
8 years ago

jimmyf, you misread practically everything I said, or maybe you didn’t write what you intended. Assault can be defined in many ways. I’m assaulted by perfumes and colognes all the time. You keep saying that smoking spreads cancer (I assume you’re talking about second-hand smoke) but I don’t believe that. If we’re going to have a discussion, please keep that in mind and address that. That you would wish cancer on someone who does nothing more than cause you very brief unpleasantness, says an awful lot about you. I hope you’re very young when that kind of comment can be… Read more »

Randy Matthews
8 years ago

Jimmy, All due respect, but smoking is not EVERYWHERE. The City Council debated this, and determined that smoking was only to be allowed in bars, not restaurants, cafes, etc.. They established an ordinance for this. Public buildings in California are smoke-free. Many parks and public areas are smoke-free. Some apartment buildings are designated smoke-free. The list goes on and on. This does come down to where we each draw the line. I recognize it as part of the nightlife culture, and as a lifelong non-smoker, I’m OK to deal with it when I go out. Its the only place I… Read more »

jimmyf
jimmyf
8 years ago
Reply to  Randy Matthews

Wow Randy, you’re such a wonderful person. You pay taxes for the public sidewalks, but you don’t mind not using them to accommodate the people spreading cancer. It’s like anyone can just dump on you, and your attitude is, “that’s just fine”. The world would be a better place if more people had your casual attitude. It shouldn’t take any “groundswell” of people for politicians to decide if smoking is ok or not ok in bars, restaurants or anywhere else. It should only take one person demanding their right to be free of other people spreading toxins in public places.… Read more »

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
8 years ago

jimmyf, you’re stuck on the premise that second-hand smoke is dangerous, which I highly doubt. I wish nobody smoked (sorry Tommy G.) partly because I don’t like the smell of it, but it is their legal right to do so. I agree with luca d that smoking is legal only for the taxes it generates, so you’ll need to take that up with Bill Clinton. Your example of a smoking surgical team is a poor one because of the possibilities of falling ash and of an explosion with the oxygen. So try again. I don’t like people who are loud… Read more »

jimmyf
jimmyf
8 years ago
Reply to  BlueEyedBoy

BlueEyed, I don’t think I’m really “caught up” in the “premise”, as you put it, that second hand smoke is dangerous. Actually, I don’t care if the smoke is found to be HEALTHY. I just don’t like it. we all agree it stinks. That’s assault. That should be reason enough to band it in public. There is no “legal right” or constitutional right to smoke anywhere. You’re mistaken. Glad that you acknowledge that cigarettes have falling ash, and can cause explosions. Odd that you can somehow still defend the right to spread cancer, from a product you’ve now convinced me… Read more »

Randy Matthews
8 years ago

Jimmy, I’m not contending that “only people that live on my street matter.” It was a direct response to this columnists paragraph: “I live on Larrabee Street in West Hollywood, and in order for me to walk to the store or the park I have to walk through the “smoke zone”, a wall of secondhand smoke from the patios of the bars and restaurants on Santa Monica Boulevard.” And I happened to have lived on that street, so I know my way around that area. I personally do not believe that limited exposure, i.e., walking past these bars (even if… Read more »

jimmyf
jimmyf
8 years ago
Reply to  Randy Matthews

Randy, I guess the broader point is why would anyone bother thinking about their own person block or route. The smoking is EVERYWHERE, and it’s being done on taxpayer-funded sidewalks, that taxpayers should feel safe on. Smokers assaulting people on public sidewalks can stink up the nonsmokers clothes with just one little whiff of smoke. Rather than legislating every single place smokers are granted a privilege to pollute in public, it makes more sense to limit use of this highly controlled and toxic product to their private property, like inside their stinky home, with the windows shut. That is the… Read more »

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