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Martinez and Richmond Receiving Awards for Secondhand Smoke Protections on Sept 23rd and 22nd


For Release September 11, 2009

Contact:  Keisha Nzewi, 510-812-3390

Denice Dennis, 925-313-6825

Martinez and Richmond Receiving Awards for Secondhand Smoke Protections

      The cities of Martinez and Richmond will each receive a California Clean Air award from the California Clean Air Project this month for their recently adopted comprehensive secondhand smoke protections laws.

      The California Clean Air Award, given by California’s Clean Air Project (CCAP), a Statewide Program of ETR Associates, recognizes City Councils and County Boards of Supervisors for passing and enforcing smokefree laws in their community.  The new laws passed by Martinez and Richmond expand the current state law prohibiting smoking in indoor workplaces, as well as provide protections in many outdoor locations and in certain areas of multi-family housing.

The City of Martinez will receive their award at the September 23rd Martinez City Council meeting and the City of Richmond will receive their award at the September 22nd Richmond City Council meeting.

      “We are very happy to see Martinez and Richmond take the lead among Contra Costa cities in expanding protections for residents,” said Paul Doolittle, Co-chair of the Contra Costa Tobacco Prevention Coalition. “Science clearly shows the dangers of secondhand smoke. Other Contra Costa cities can take similar action to protect their residents from this toxic air contaminant.”

      While several other Bay Area cities including Oakland, Berkeley, and Hayward have similar protections, Martinez and Richmond now have stronger protections than the County and many other cities in the Bay Area.  The new ordinances in Martinez and Richmond will protect people in most indoor workplaces and within 20 feet of doors, operable windows, air ducts and ventilation systems of all indoor workplaces and buildings open to the public.

Smoking is also prohibited in outdoor dining areas; public parks and walking trails; service areas such as bus stops and ATM lines; and at public events.

      Both cities extend protection in multi-family housing (two or more units for Richmond and 4 or more units for Martinez) including all indoor and outdoor common areas, and within 20 feet of all doors, operable windows and air ducts of any multi-unit residence and private multi-unit outdoor spaces such as balconies and patios.  Martinez requires landlord disclosure of smoking units, however this provision becomes effective later. Richmond adopted a second ordinance in July, which may be the strongest of it’s type in the nation, prohibiting smoking in all multi-unit housing units (with two or more units) effective January 1, 2011.

      In discussing the proposed protections, Martinez City Councilmember Mark Ross cited studies showing that communities that adopt these types of measures have seen a verifiable decrease in health problems.  For example, one city in Colorado saw a 27% reduction in heart attacks 18 months following the passage of a similar law.

      One of the sponsors of the measure in Richmond, City Councilman Tom Butt, explains why Richmond has decided to address secondhand smoke.  He says, “We’ve got a lot of threats to public health in Richmond.  We need to start getting rid of the ones we have control over.”

      For more information about Secondhand Smoke Protections Policies, call the Tobacco Prevention Coalition at 925-313-6214.


Jaime Jenett, MPH

Tobacco Prevention Policy Coordinator

Community Wellness and Prevention Program Contra Costa Health Services

597 Center Avenue

Martinez, CA  94553

phone:  925-313-6216

fax:       925-313-6864