L.A. smokers may face new restrictions

SHERMAN OAKS Smokers in L.A. have already been banned from smoking inside restaurants, and now they may be forced out of outdoor eating areas.

The Los Angeles City Council will soon hear a motion to clear the air around outdoor patios where food is served.

"I think it's the right call. I think it's important now because a lot of people are really infected by the smoke," said Shawn Forbes, a Sherman Oaks resident.

"I do understand it's a personal choice (to smoke), but it's a personal choice for me not to have to smell it when I don't want to," said Katie Peterson, a Sherman Oaks resident.

Councilman Greg Smith introduced the motion that is similar to bans passed by other local cities, including Beverly Hills.

"Secondhand smoke is a proven carcinogen and detrimental to people's health, so this eliminates that responsibility that smokers put on to nonsmokers," Smith said.

The ban would not affect bars with patios.

Some residents say the motion goes too far.

"I understand that it annoys some people, but I also believe that perhaps we should make a place for people to smoke," said Los Angeles resident Richard Bongeorno.

There's a long way to go before this becomes law, but it's bound to become controversial.


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