SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sweeping changes to smoking rules have been supported by Santa Barbara leaders.
The City Council favored a citywide ban in most areas with only a few exceptions.
Certain areas were unanimous, including parks, parking lots, beaches, paseos, public sidewalks and Stearns Wharf.
There's already a ban in areas such as Santa Barbara City College and the Paseo Nuevo Mall.
Where there were some sticking points involved outside dining areas and bar patios. Those were left out of the new ordinance, along with the playing area at the municipal golf course.
Many business owners were on hand to speak about the impacts of smoking and in some cases the benefits of having a smoking area on their property.
Bob Hansen the owners of SOHO nightclub and restaurant for 23 years said some of his guests are smokers and do so on the outside patio. He values them as a solid component to his business. "It's said that 80 percent of your profits comes from the last 20 percent of your revenue. So without that we would be out of business," said Hansen when speaking to the council.
Councilmember Cathy Murillo said "this is a tremendous step forward" towards public health. Councilmember Bendy White said he was "grateful we struck a nerve."
With smoking patios in the nightlife district downtown Tamara Erickson from the Hotel Santa Barbara urged the council to consider her guests that may sense second hand smoke nearby.
As the vote was taken Mayor Helene Schneider said the "butt stops here."
It will still take several weeks for the ordinance to be enacted. At that time there will be an outreach effort and and educational component to the changes for both local residents and visitors.
Enforcement will be in the form of a citations. That can be handled by Santa Barbara Police and Harbor Patrol officers. The downtown Community Service Officers will also be making contact with smokers about the new rules.