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Anti-smoking advocates push Santa Rosa for apartment ban

Anti-smoking advocates emboldened by the passage of Sebastopol's smoking ban for multi-unit dwellings are eyeing a similar ban in Sonoma County's largest city.

Santa Rosa, which already restricts smoking in outdoor patios and public places, may soon be asked to take the ban indoors by restricting residents of apartment buildings and other multi-unit complexes from smoking inside their residences.

Clean-air advocates met with Councilwoman Susan Gorin, who was then the mayor, several weeks ago about bringing such an ordinance to the city, said Pamela Granger of the American Lung Association. They are in a preliminary stage of the process, meeting with the city's largest apartment owners to gain support.

Once property owners are on board, Granger said, she and other groups plan to petition the Santa Rosa City Council for a ban that protects apartment dwellers from second-hand smoke.

Studies have shown that even when smoke remains inside a unit, second-hand smoke can be a health problem for neighbors, Granger said.

"There is no such thing as a place you can go where the second-hand smoke doesn't have an impact," Granger said.

Anti-smoking advocates will be pressing for strict bans covering 100 percent of units and covering tobacco and marijuana, unlike the partial bans in Rohnert Park and Sebastopol.

Rohnert Park requires 50 percent of existing units to be smoke-free by June 2011, and 75 percent for new construction.

Sebastopol's City Council earlier this year passed a ban that covered 100 percent of units, but contained a controversial exemption for users of medicinal marijuana.

Granger said Santa Rosa should not allow similar loopholes because the dangers of second-hand smoke from both cigarettes and marijuana warrant a complete ban, she said.

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