NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: A woman smokes in a Times Square pedestrian island on September 16, 2010 in New York City. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on smoking in city parks, beaches, and parts of Times Square. Citing the danger of second hand smoke, the mayor sees the proposal as an extension of a popular public smoking ban in 2002 in workplaces and a ban in 2003 in restaurants and bars. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Starting Tuesday, it will be illegal to smoke in outdoor dining areas throughout Los Angeles, including at restaurant patios and around mobile food trucks.
Bars, nightclubs and buildings hosting private events are exempt from the policy. Those who violate the smoking ban -- diners and business owners alike -- face fines up to $500.
The state already prohibits lighting up inside restaurants and bars. The city is expanding the smoking ban to within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas, including food courts; and within 40 feet of food kiosks, food cars and mobile food trucks.
In a news conference last week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city is setting "a standard for healthy living.''
The city council approved the smoking ban in January last year, but businesses were given a grace period before the ordinance takes effect.
Los Angeles will become the largest city in the nation to outlaw smoking in outdoor dining areas. Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Glendale, Pasadena and Santa Monica also have similar policies.
Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director and health officer of the county Health Department, said, "This ordinance continues Los Angeles' commitment to protecting the health of our residents and reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema and the many other diseases associated with tobacco smoke."
He added the vast majority of Los Angeles County residents -- 85.7 percent -- are non-smokers.
The council is considering another ordinance that would ban smoking in "all public areas and common areas where people congregate.'' Its chief proponent, Councilman Bernard Parks, said the idea is not to ban smoking, but to regulate where it can be done.
He called in November for a comprehensive and citywide ordinance that would ban smoking in "all public areas and common areas where people congregate, including, but not limited to, indoor and outdoor businesses, hotels, parks, apartment common areas, restaurants and bars, and beaches.''
Vanessa Peterson with the American Lung Association told the council in November that tobacco is the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease in California, and that more than 60,000 Americans exposed to second-hand smoke die each year.
A study prepared by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department showed about 1 million smokers countywide and about 435,000 in the city. The same study estimated that tobacco-related diseases cost the county $4.3 billion a year.