Oct 16 2014

OPINION: Smoking Restrictions Are Needed in Piedmont

October 15, 2014

Dear Mayor Fujioka, Vice Mayor Wieler, and City Council Members Rood, King, and McBain:

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the City Council meeting this coming Monday evening, October 20, 2014, as I wanted to speak on the subject of smoking restrictions in Piedmont. Thus, I am writing to you as a third generation “Piedmonter”, being a resident for 50 years this October 2014 and a property owner myself for 34 years.

All three of our children grew up in Piedmont and enjoyed the amazing community and services offered by both the City and Schools, including attending recreation department programs, participating in sports, participating in after school educational programs, etc., with two of our children graduating from Piedmont High School. My wife Holly and I, and my father as well, have been tireless community volunteers and proudly helped both the Schools and City in so many ways. Thus, my family is very ingrained in Piedmont and seriously concerned about maintaining its wonderful quality of life.

With this, I am wholeheartedly in support of Piedmont adopting a No Smoking Ordinance as soon as possible. As such, I am in support of extending the secondhand smoke protections in Piedmont to include many of our outdoor public spaces and as well I strongly suggest that this ordinance address the proliferation of unregulated electronic cigarettes.

People who smoke need to be discouraged from smoking when they are around others, especially children, the elderly, and those with lung, heart, or other chronic conditions.  To ensure safe air passage for our children, their parents, our teachers and others to from school and around the schools, I strongly support the adoption of a smokefree buffer zone around the perimeter of all of our schools.

As stated above, it is just common sense to include the use of electronic smoking device emissions in the protections, since the toxins emitted like formaldehyde may not be safe to those nearby.  In fact, a recent study showed that non-users had measurable levels of nicotine in their bodies from being close by when these devices are used.  A note of importance, these devices can and have been easily altered to allow users to add other substances into the liquid solution for inhalation.

I also strongly support efforts to regulate the sale of these devices and prohibit the distribution of free sampling and the distribution of heavily discounted coupons for all tobacco products including these devices within the Piedmont city limits.  As an asthmatic myself and an American Lung Association volunteer for 30 plus years, I have long supported efforts to reduce tobacco use by adults and youth and I would hate to see electronic cigarettes with their “Captain Crunch” and Gummy Bear” flavors lure a new generation of youth into becoming addicted to nicotine.

Over 65 local California communities have already added e-cigarette regulations into their existing secondhand smoke protections including Hayward, Dublin, San Leandro, Berkeley, Union City, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, and Richmond.

In conclusion, I not only urge Piedmont residents to support the City Council’s efforts to protect all residents in Piedmont from outdoor secondhand smoke, but to also urge the school community to explore how they can partner with the City in keeping tobacco and nicotine out of our shared air and out of our lungs.

Thank you very much and with warmest regards,

Michael A. Gardner

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

Leave a Comment