WeHo Council Will Consider Butting Out Apartment Smoking and Sale of Flavored Tobacco

Less than six months after the West Hollywood City Council failed to implement a total smoking ban in apartments and condominiums, the issue will be back before the City Council on Monday night.

Two new members have joined the Council since the issue was previously heard in August and city staff has supposedly done greater outreach to tenants, landlords and homeowners associations on the issue since that time.

Under the items being proposed:

  • Smoking tobacco or cannabis would be banned in all common areas, indoor or outdoor.
  • Smoking tobacco would be banned in all new units/new leases, but smoking cannabis would be allowed.
  • Smoking tobacco or cannabis in existing units would be permitted, provided it is not already prohibited by the lease.
  • Smoking tobacco or cannabis on outdoor private patios or balconies would be allowed.
  • Smoking tobacco or cannabis would not constitute a nuisance which could be considered grounds for eviction.

If a person is caught in violation, a first time offense would bring a $250 fine, a second offense would bring a $500 fine and a third offense would bring a $1,000 fine. Each of those fines carries an additional $50 administrative fee.

If the Council approves these items, they would take effect in 90 days.

Single family homes and duplexes are exempt from these ordinances, as are special needs housing facilities for people with disabilities, including substance addiction.

The Council did not pass these smoking bans in August because it was unclear if tenants, landlords, condo homeowners associations and other affected groups had been sufficiently notified about them.

An estimated 15% of WeHo residents smoke tobacco. There are no figures for the number of cannabis users.

Anti-smoking advocates have long pushed for a total smoking ban, both tobacco and cannabis, in apartments/condominiums, citing the health dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke. They note that smoke from neighboring units can seep into other units through windows, walls, floors and ceilings.

Flavored tobacco ban

In a related matter, on Monday night the Council will also consider banning the sale of flavored tobacco and vape products, including menthol flavored cigarettes.

The Council had previously discussed the matter, but held off taking any action since the state of California passed a ban on flavored tobacco products which was set the take effect in Jan. 2021.

However, a voter referendum received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Consequently, the flavor ban was put on hold until the voters can weigh in. That referendum will be held as part of the Nov. 2022 election, the earliest this can go before the voters under state law.

In the meantime, individual cities are still allowed to pass flavored tobacco bans, which West Hollywood will consider on Monday night.

Under the proposed ordinance, retailers would also be barred from accepting coupons or giving discounts for the purchase of tobacco products.

The City Council meeting will be held on the Zoom teleconferencing app beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday night.

Those who want to make a comment by telephone during the meeting are asked to email Acting City Clerk Melissa Crowder at mcrowder@weho.org no later than 4 p.m. on Monday to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling and what you wish to speak about.

Then, dial into the meeting ten minutes prior to the start. You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to speak. The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the meeting I.D. is 943 8398 2559, followed by the # symbol.

The City Council meeting can be viewed live on the WeHo TV portion of the city website (www.weho.org). Additionally, it will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television’s Channel 10 within West Hollywood’s borders. The meeting will also stream live on YouTube, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and Roku by searching for “WeHo TV.”

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Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
26 days ago

Landlords can make their properties smoke-free. Easy fix.

The Only Sane One Left
The Only Sane One Left
26 days ago

I’m still waiting from some of you ‘intellectuals’ to actually read the California tobacco law which states that: “22950.5. For purposes of this division, the following terms have the following meanings: (d)(1)  “Tobacco product” means any of the following: (A)  A product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, or snuff.”   Since tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, peppers, okra and tea all contain naturally-evolved nicotine and are… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
27 days ago

*Butting out* is the only proper response.

C.R.
C.R.
27 days ago

Nothing but government overreach. As a liberal, here’s a great example of something I don’t support because it goes too far. A ban selectively on flavored tobacco is a bad joke.

Joshua88
Joshua88
27 days ago

That sucks.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
28 days ago

Geez, who smokes anymore?! Hey smokers, 1987 called, they want their cigarette back.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
28 days ago

I am not a smoker. I have never been a smoker. I don’t like being in the company of smokers. What I like even less is a couple of buffoons on a virtue-signaling student council overreaching in the private behavior of anyone. What’s next?

Ken
Ken
28 days ago

Cooking animal meat also is carcinogenic. Let’s pass a law against cooking all meat. In fact make meat sales illegal for health environmental reasons. Ban alcohol sales. But marijuana use or sales is exempt from any government regulations. 6 dispensaries in walking distance from my WeHo condo.

carniv4
carniv4
29 days ago

Even if this passes, who is going to enforce it? Will WeHo have a “smoking task force” with a separate 800-line to report a smoker, and then they come out to ticket??? I seriously doubt that will ever be implemented. This is all just grandstanding nonsense by the council. They don’t enforce dog poop, and I never see a patrol car for anything. But suddenly, they’re going to ‘crack down’ on cigarettes by passing regulations that will go unenforced anyway.

Rob Bergstein
Rob Bergstein
29 days ago
Reply to  carniv4

It will be enforced as administrative actions by code compliance.

WeHo Poster
WeHo Poster
29 days ago

This again? Good grief! Let people do what they want in their own homes

Ryan Young
Ryan Young
28 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Poster

Managing externalities through deliberation and legislation. It’s called governance.

Bax
Bax
29 days ago

This is disappointing, I have rhinitis exacerbated by second hand smoke. My main issue is people smoking on balconies. We can’t open our windows, and it gets into our AC intake. Guess we’ll need to move to Beverly Hills, they seem to care more about peoples health.

Larry Block
Larry Block
29 days ago

Banning menthol cigarettes like Marlboro or Camel or Parliament seems like local government overreach . It’s on the state ballot in 2022 so are we going to adopt something that is then overturned? Makes no sense to support cannabis sales under the ‘we are an adult city’. Offer cannabis ‘smoking lounges’ and flower and the vape cartridges in a host of flavors, and more alcohol served per person than any other city in maybe the whole USA – and then tell people —- ‘you can’t smoke a menthol cigarette because we have your best interests in mind.’

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