In 1992, Sonoma voters overwhelmingly approved limits on smoking in most public places, with some broad exemptions for hotels, motels and restaurants. A quarter-century later, with fewer smokers and ongoing concerns about the nuisance and potential health hazards of second-hand smoke, the restrictions seem a bit dated. For example, the local ordinance still permits smoking in apartment complexes and other multi-family housing with shared ventilation systems. Measure W on Nov. 8 is an opportunity for voters to update Sonoma’s smoking ordinance to better reflect present state laws and public attitudes about tobacco.
A proposal drafted by the city, and placed on the ballot with a unanimous vote by the City Council, would prohibit smoking in enclosed public places, multi-family housing, hotels and motels and public spaces such as the Plaza and streets and sidewalks. The ordinance would cover e-cigarettes as well as marijuana and all tobacco products.
Unlike the existing ordinance, it would allow the City Council to adopt future amendments without placing them on the ballot. The Press Democrat recommends a yes vote on Measure W.