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Manhattan Beach Goes Smoke-Free in Public Places

Jul 22, 2014 07:38PM ● By DigMB Staff

Mayor Amy Howorth kick-offs Manhattan Beach's public awareness campaign to inform the public of the city's new Smoke-Free Public Places law.

City officials, environmentalists, health professionals and businesses launched Manhattan Beach's new smoke-free public places law Tuesday at the MB Farmers Market, partnering with market supporters to celebrate its 8th anniversary.

TV and print news reporters joined members of the public for the 11 a.m. downtown event that Mayor Amy Howorth presided over. The mayor introduced her fellow City Council members--Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell and council members Mark Burton, Tony D'Errico and David Lesser--as well as Dr. Lisa Santora, chief medical office of the Beach Cities Health District, Craig Cadwallader, MB resident and chair of Surfrider's South Bay Chapter, and Holly Maines of the Behavioral Health Services.

Said Howorth, "It is my great honor and I'm so proud to say that Manhattan Beach is a smoke-free city in all public places." A round of applause followed.

She thanked organizations and community members for their work on the new law, calling the launch of the city's public awareness campaign, "... a very, very special day.

"We have so many great people who are involved in making this community a great healthy place to be," she told the crowd.

Howorth said cigarette butts comprise 30% of trash on beaches in the city. Cadwallader added that cigarette butts don't biodegrade, and accumulate toxic chemicals in their filters. Drop one in a fish bowl, he said, and it will kill the fish.

Dr. Santora said a smoke-free environment "supports us living longer and livelier lives." She recounted how while walking to Beckers Bakery downtown recently, her four-year-old, who saw two individuals smoking, said rather loudly, "Mommy, they can't smoke here." She said she let her son "speak for us."

"It's very important to be pro-active," said Dr. Santora. "We need to encourage people to respect the smoke-free environment."

To that end, volunteers spent time Tuesday handing out materials about the new law, including business cards that tell why the law was enacted and where people may smoke. Smoking is allowed on residential property, in moving vehicles and in designated hotel and motel rooms. The card provides a phone number to call for information.

City literature says just 7% of residents smoke, more than 440,000 people nationwide die each year from tobacco-related diseases, and that secondhand smoke "is responsible for an estimated 38,000 deaths each year among non-smokers."

Posters, decals, business cards, coasters, letters, street banners, and ads will be used to inform residents, workers and visitors of the smoke-free public places policy.

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