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San Luis Obispo County officials have proposed a ban on smoking at all county facilities, including parks, parking lots, buildings, playgrounds, tot lots, and group picnic areas.

On July 17, county supervisors will be asked to change a section of county code to prohibit smoking in “certain public places.”

The proposal came about after public complaints, according to a county staff report. Officials from numerous public agencies have been floating the idea of such a ban to various county commissions—the Parks and Recreation and Health commissions, for example—as well as the communities of Avila, Cayucos, Santa Margarita, Templeton, San Miguel, Shandon, and the San Luis Port District.

But members of those communities oppose the proposed ban by two to one over supporters, largely because of concerns about enforceability, personal rights, and financial impacts. Other people, such as those who use regional parks and golf courses, expressed a greater interest in barring smokers from county spaces.

If enacted, the ban will be “self-enforcing and complaint driven,” according to a county staff report: “That is, county staff and enforcement officers will not spend time searching for people smoking. Rather, those who are offended by cigarette smoke are encouraged to politely address nearby smokers directly. Offended parties may also complain directly to county staff.”

No penalties have been outlined in the proposed ordinance.

Other local municipalities have toyed with similar proposals, including the city of San Luis Obispo, which prohibits smoking in public places.

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