WEST HOLLYWOOD—The city of West Hollywood which was slated to implement a “Smoke-Free Housing Ordinance,” which bans smoking tobacco in citywide multi-family dwellings, to take in effect in March 1, 2021 is being re-considered by the City Council.

According to the city of West Hollywood website, in 2011, the city prohibited smoking tobacco in outdoor and dining areas. In 2016, West Hollywood adopted the “Tobacco Retail License Ordinance” to ensure tobacco retailers comply with sale of tobacco and bans sale of all tobacco to minors. In 2021, the use of coupons and discounts for tobacco was prohibited, smoking any flavored tobacco was prohibited, and on September 15, 2021 the sale of flavored will be prohibited.  

The City Council’s decision to delay the “Smoke-Free Housing Ordinance” may be the result of loopholes and concerns for West Hollywood residents. 

Mayor Pro Tempore Lauren Meister raised concerns that landlords could use the smoking ordinance to evict people on the basis that smoking would not be allowed on multi-family premises. She said in a statement: 

“This ban is setting up a 5,000 plus people for eviction. Although code compliance is saying it’s not enforceable by them, landlords can go to court with this. The city’s own rent stabilization ordinance allows this, If we think landlords won’t use that to evict smokers so they can raise the rents and get new tenants…this ban really presents an opportunity to abuse the system.” 

During the City Council meeting on March 15, it was revealed that they added a new chapter to the smoking ordinance called “Smoking in Multi-Family Dwellings,” which is to “protect the public health and welfare from secondhand smoke by prohibiting tobacco and cannabis smoking and vaping in enclose and unenclosed common areas of multi-family dwelling units…and to promote  self-enforcement through educational outreach regarding smoking prohibitions.” 

New provisions added to the ordinance, includes the ban of smoking cannabis and vaping in all common areas after July 15, 2021 and unless if already stated in a tenants lease, there can be no change without agreement of smoking in existing unit due to the rent stabilization ordinance. On Monday, April 5, the West Hollywood City Council will deliberate the revisions of the smoking ban in two parts.