A year-old ordinance prohibiting smoking in outdoor dining areas went into effect on Tuesday.
Smoking on outdoor restaurant patios, or in cafes, food courts, food carts, or within 40 feet of mobile food trucks can now result in $250-$500 fines, but at two restaurants along the boardwalk, patrons were unaware of the new rule, and were using restaurant-provided ashtrays.
"It's good," said Marc Bauer, who was enjoying a beer and a cigarette at Figtree's.
He and his companion, both in Venice on business from Germany, noted that restaurant smoking bans were established there three years ago, although not outside.
"I don't smoke, and I don't like smoke," Michael Woerle said, "but for me, outside, it's no problem."
According to Ordinance 181065, eateries are required to prohibit patrons from smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas, as well as post signs that use the “NO SMOKING” phrase or international no-smoking symbol. As of Tuesday, signs had not been posted at Figtree's.
"This new smoke-free outdoor dining law will protect patrons and workers from the dangerous health effects of breathing in secondhand smoke, and provide nonsmokers and those who are trying to quit with a smoke-free dining experience," wrote Fresh Air Dining LA, a campaign featuring colorful outdoor transit ads placed throughout the city with the slogan "eating out is better with a side of fresh air.”
With parks, beaches, and farmers markets already smoke free, “The City of Los Angeles continues to set the pace for healthy living,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
At Venice Ale House, Julie Johansen sat with a glass of water, a pack of Marlboro Lights and an ashtray. Describing herself as a "casual smoker," Johansen also said that the ban was a good thing.
"All the rules are definitely helping people with quitting, because they can't smoke," she said.