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Smoking laws get air time

City’s education campaign on new ban will extend to the previews at local theater.

May 08, 2009|By Laura Drdek

CITY HALL — A six-month public education campaign to prepare Glendale for one of the most comprehensive sets of anti-smoking restrictions in the Southland is scheduled to hit the airwaves later this month, city officials said.

The regulations officially took effect in November, but code enforcers have been holding off on strict enforcement until after the education campaign.

Glendale’s historically permissive smoking culture was struck down last year when the City Council voted to prohibit lighting up on all city property, including parks, in common areas of apartment complexes, outdoor dining areas that can’t meet strict separation requirements, and nearly all publicly accessible private property, such as the Marketplace and Americana at Brand.

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To prepare Glendale for such a change, the council also approved an outreach campaign, which kicks into high gear later this month.

Moviegoers can expect to watch a 10-second advertisement that will run at the beginning of all films shown at the Pacific Theatres Glendale 18 at the Americana on Brand. And in June, utility bills will include an educational insert about the city’s anti-smoking ordinance.

Public service announcements are already running on the city’s government-access TV Channel 6, but more will follow, city officials said.

“Our job is to make sure we provide help and support and help them in their line of business,” said Armine Jimenez, ambassador for the city’s Fresh Air campaign.

In addition to direct mailers and no-smoking decals, city officials plan to ramp up efforts at educating the roughly 20% of the adult population that smokes in Glendale. Emphasizing education over enforcement will be less dramatic and just as effective, Jimenez said.

“Our key thing is not to be the smoking police; our key thing is to educate,” she said.

While the outreach plan is heavy on media and personal visits to stakeholders, Amiee Klem, a strong community proponent of the smoking restrictions, said she hoped the city would also install more signs.

“I hope to see more signs, especially in the parks,” she said. “I don’t mind telling people not to smoke, but it’s a lot easier for me to do when there’s signage to back me up.”

The city has so far issued five $100 citations — three to individuals and two to businesses.

There are currently six code enforcement officers and five officials working on behalf of the ordinance. Outreach efforts have so far been limited to roughly 45 businesses, she said.

Outreach officials plan to educate all Glendale businesses, in addition to 22,000 multifamily units — the entire city stock — by February 2010.


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