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El Cajon May Pass Ultra-Strict Anti-Smoking Law

California has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the country. El Cajon may be the next golden state city to make it even harder for smokers to light-up. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has mo

California has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the country. El Cajon may be the next golden state city to make it even harder for smokers to light-up. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has more on the proposed smoking ban. Last year, Calabasas, a city just north of Los Angeles, became the first in the nation to ban smoking in all public places where non-smokers are likely to be found. Since then, Santa Monica and Burbank also adopted public smoking bans. Now, the El Cajon city council is proposing a similar law and asking for community input.

Gary Kendrick , El Cajon councilmember: Twenty-four years ago, my sister came down with lung cancer. She found out that she had terminal lung cancer the day that her baby was born, and she went from the maternity ward to the cancer ward.

For El Cajon councilmember Gary Kendrick, the desire to pass a strict non-smoking ordinance in the city is personal. His sister, a non-smoker, died of lung cancer when her baby was only two-and-a-half years old. Kendrick says El Cajon is ready for a move that will help protect its citizens from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Kendrick : El Cajon is striving to become family-friendly. We have a lot of family-oriented events downtown, and smoking is not a family-friendly activity.

If the proposed ban passes, you won't be able to smoke here , here , here or in any other place where you're likely to affect non-smokers.

This has some smokers like Richard Brown upset. He believes a public smoking ban would infringe upon his personal rights.

Richard Brown , 46-Year smoker: If I choose to smoke in a public area, I shouldn't have to go out in my car or drive out of town to smoke a cigarette. Most people have legs and they can move away from whoever is smoking or vice versa.

And critics argue a law that bans smoking in so many public areas would be difficult to enforce. El Cajon Police Department Lieutenant Mike Moore says while the department would have to come up with an enforcement plan should the law pass, he thinks most of the work will be done by people policing themselves.

Moore : I think voluntary compliance is something that is quite likely, and that most people will follow the law and it may take very little enforcement at all.

But some smokers disagree.

Brandon Knox , 20-Year Smoker: It wouldn't affect me a bit because I wouldn't abide by whatever laws they try and set. It doesn't affect me at all.

The City of El Cajon will hold a hearing at City Hall tomorrow night for public comment on the proposal. Councilmember Kendrick tells me the council will then vote on the ordinance during their meeting. If it passes, he says it could become law within 60 days.