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been on the forefront of many innovations in tobacco control. Survey data indicate that a majority of Californians support a ban on smoking in outdoor public places such as parks, beaches, golf courses, and sports stadiums (Gilpin et al. 2004). In November 2003, Solana Beach, California became the first municipality in the county to ban smoking on beaches, and a number of other cities in California have since followed suit. Effective January 1, 2004, the California legislature enacted a ban on smoking within 20 feet of all entrances to government buildings and state university and community college buildings. In addition, on January 25, 2005, San Francisco adopted the most expansive “curb-to-curb” outdoor smoking ban in the state, prohibiting smoking in city parks, plazas, piers, gardens, and recreational fields (Bonta, Appendix B).

Given the competing values at stake, the committee believes that this is an issue that should be resolved at the community level.

Recommendation 10: States should not preempt local governments from restricting smoking in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and beaches.


In 1992, Congress enacted the Synar Amendment, aimed at addressing the continuing illegal sales of tobacco to minors. The legislation required that all states enact and enforce youth tobacco access laws and prescribed loss of federal block grant substance abuse and treatment funding as a sanction for noncomplying states. Under regulations subsequently adopted by the DHSS, the states were required to reduce the rate of retailer violations of youth-access laws to 20 percent or less by 2003. In a complementary effort, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopted a comprehensive set of youth-access regulations in 1996 that included a major compliance check program under the auspices of the FDA. As noted above, however, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the FDA program in 2000 on the grounds that tobacco regulation was outside the scope of the agency’s authority.

Although every state has baseline legislation prohibiting tobacco sales to minors (usually the restriction of tobacco sales to those younger than age 18 years), both the Synar Amendment and the failed FDA effort reflected the fact that in the 1990s, states and localities were not enforcing youth-access provisions with any vigor. In 1996, once the rules promulgated by the Synar Amendment came into effect, the logical inquiry was whether the legislation would exert an independent positive influence on state and local enforcement practices. In an analysis of 1997 substance abuse block grant applications from all states, DiFranza concluded that “states and DHHS are violating the statutory requirements of the Synar Amendment rendering

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