Pleasanton senior housing to implement no-smoking policy

(January 24, 2012)

 A group of Pleasanton seniors is helping the city charter its no-smoking rule, with residents at the two city-owned senior housing complexes becoming the first to implement a city-backed smoke-free policy.

Pleasanton's housing commission approved a no-smoking policy in October for Ridge View Commons and Kottinger Place. The policy prohibits smoking in all common areas and in all apartments. Additionally, there will be a specifically designed smoking area in place for a two-year period, after which smoking will be prohibited there, as well.

The city hopes to have the policy in place by March, said Assistant City Manager Steven Bocian.

"There were folks, a vast majority, that didn't smoke and had been unhappy that people were allowed to," said Barbara Hempill, who chaired the commission before retiring in December. "(The smoking ban) had been mentioned over the years and it had already been done at the private home across the street."

The no-smoking policy at the privately-owned Pleasanton Gardens has been in place for years, and was met with little resistance. Bruce Fielder, who ran the complex across the street from Kottinger Place before retiring last year, was part of the push to get the policy implemented at Kottinger Place and Ridge View Commons.

Fielder could not be reached for comment, but told the commission in October that Pleasanton Gardens did not experience any enforcement problems when the policy was instituted, and has reaped the benefits associated with reducing secondhand smoke.

"We ran notices about the policy and asked for suggestions, and as far as I know no one complained," Hempill said. "So it seemed to us that it was OK and the time was right for it."

The American Lung Association, which grades each city in California on tobacco-related issues, recognized Pleasanton's efforts toward increasing its point total for smoke-free housing, but still issued a "D" to the city in that category and overall.

Pleasanton wasn't the only Tri-Valley city that failed to make the grade. Danville, Livermore and San Ramon also received overall grades of "D" from the lung association.

Only Dublin, which recently approved having its staff develop zoning and licensing ordinances to limit tobacco sales, received a passing grade of "C." That grade is expected to rise once its tobacco sales ordinances are approved, which could be later this year.

"This allows everyone in their public housing to enjoy clean air," said Serena Chen, policy director for the Bay Area region of the American Lung Association. "And (Pleasanton) did it with very little hoopla."



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