Richmond City Council voted to adopt the amendment to city indoor smoking ordinance in order to include residential complexes and condominiums to the list of public places where smoking is prohibited. After implementation of this amendment Richmond would become home to the most rigorous anti-smoking legislations in the state.
Local enforcement agencies would force Richmond multiunit complexes to ban smoking within 16 months, by the beginning of 2011. The ban will include apartments, halls, lobbies and other commonly used territories belonging to complexes, because health experts claim that smoke can be absorbed by furniture and carpets, and thus all residents are exposed to second hand smoke. However, complex managers are entitled to launch a smoking are for residents, but it should be located within 25 feet or more from the complex.
Individuals caught on smoking in prohibited placed would be subjected to pay hefty fines of at least $100.
The latest amendment, approved by the Councilors last week, comes in addition to the legislations adopted two months ago, which ban smoking in such public places play grounds, parks, farmer markets, parades and beaches. And smoking is also banned in every indoor public place, be it an office center or an eating establishment.
The latest amendment shows a dramatic change in public attitude towards smoking, since only a decade ago we used to designate smoke free and smoke-friendly sections, and now we ban smoking even in apartments to get rid of secondhand smoke.
Councilor Tom W. Butt, who introduced the amendment to the council, said that he was delighted to have it approved, because non-smokers should be protected from hazards of passive smoking by all possible means.
Meantime, having approved the latest amendment, Richmond entered into the history of the state with it strictest anti-smoking ordinances in the state. Many cities have similar regulations on smoking, but not to this extent.
Cigarette smoke is a proven carcinogen according to American Food and Drug Administration.
However, with the latest amendment Richmond residents can smoke only in case they live I a house for one family only and also on the streets, but only not less than 25 feet from the venues where smoking is prohibited. There is still a possibility to smoke inside cigarette stores, but only if these stores have corresponding licenses permitting them to do so.
Public health advocates cheered the approval of the amendment; however the representatives of residential complexes were not so enthusiastic about it. They said they would try to persuade the council to delay the implementation of the law, citing financial crisis and other highly undesirable consequences.