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San Francisco Smoking Ban Would Prohibit Smoking In Public Places (But Smoking Weed Is Okay)

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A San Francisco Supervisor is looking to crack down on the smoking in public with a proposed bill that would ban tobacco use at outdoor events such as street fairs and concerts.

Don’t worry, smoking pot is still cool--this is San Francisco, after all.

The bill, proposed by Supervisor Eric Mar, would require the organizers of all outdoor events held on property owned by the city to be smoke free and post signs to that effect.

"This is another step forward to protect the public's health from the dangers of second-hand smoke," said Mar, who noted that 73,000 non-smokers die every year from said effects. "It's a critical public health danger with no safe level of exposure."

Small-scale events, like neighborhood block parties, would be exempt from the rule.

Medical marijuana smokers wouldn't be affected. "My hope is that people wouldn't light up at community festivals," Mar explained, "but if it's something medical and prescribed by a doctor, that should be permitted."

While Mar's bill does exempt medicinal pot, that doesn't mean it's okay to light up anywhere one pleases. The city's health code prohibits toking in public parks.

The bill is written not to demand any additional resources from law enforcement; instead it's supposed to make the organizers of festivals more responsible for keeping their events smoke free.

Mar has long been the Board's leading voice on anti-smoking issues. He was the chief sponsor of a 2010 piece of legislation that prohibited smoking in a bevvy of new locations, such as sidewalk cafes, outdoor restaurant patios and ATM lines.

"Those communities that have adopted ordinances like this [2010 smoking ban] have actually seen decreases in the numbers of deaths," San Francisco chief public health officer Dr. Mitch Katz told the San Francisco Chronicle. "So by passing this ordinance you are all saving lives, and I can't think of a higher calling than that."

A report on tobacco control by the American Lung Association gave San Francisco a grade of B for its anti-smoking policies, whereas three Bay Area cities--Albany, Union City and Richmond--got top marks. Two-thirds of municipalities in California received failing grades.

The Golden State banned smoking in most indoor public places in 1994 and extended the prohibition to bars and nightclubs four years later.

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