To the Smokemobile!


It looks like Belmont, California, will continue to allow smoking in cars and in detached, single-family homes. But the strictest version of a proposed ordinance the city council began considering this week would prohibit smoking just about everywhere else, including outdoor bar and restaurant seating, sidewalks, streets, parking lots, apartments, and condominiums. The innovation of telling people they may not light up in their own homes, while simultaneously telling them they may not go outside to smoke, has attracted nationwide attention since it was first suggested last year. 

Michael Siegel notes another interesting wrinkle in the draft ordinance: While smoking in a prohibited location would be an "infraction" punishable by a $100 fine, "causing, permitting, aiding, abetting, or concealing" such smoking would be a misdemeanor, raising the possibility of larger fines, jail, and a criminal record. Failing to report illicit smoking could be treated as a misdemeanor, Siegel warns, so if you must visit Belmont but want to avoid jail, "make sure to wear a bag over your head so that you cannot possibly see anyone smoking."

Yet another fun fact about the proposed law: Confirming conservatives' worst nightmares about California, it explicitly allows pot smoking (for medical purposes) while banning cigarette smoking.