Long Beach Council to Reconsider Smoking Ban

Long Beach officials could ease up on lighting up

That "No Smoking" sign could soon be coming down.

On Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council will consider a measure to ease anti-smoking bans in nearly 50 city establishments, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The proposed amendment would exempt strictly tobacco-based stores, including hookah bars and cigar shops, from the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces that went into effect in 1994. It would also lift the restrictions on the city's 13 cigar lounges.

Each violation of the smoking ban under the current law costs establishments a $500 fine.

The proposal has caused a rift between shop owners and anti-smoking agencies, which said passing the bill would lead to dramatic health consequences for California residents.

"This is a giant step backwards for public and employee health," Steven Gallegos, a spokesman for the American Lung Association of California, told the Times.

"This product kills almost half a million people a year," he said.

Opponents, including Gallegos, told the Times they will rally against the proposal at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

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