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Smokers: Enjoy Your Last Weekend of Freedom

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Los Angeles' 15-year-old smoking regulations are about to be expanded. Come Tuesday, smoking will be prohibited both inside and outside of restaurants. The ordinance (pdf), passed unanimously by City Council in January 2010, is likely to have a mixed reaction from restauranteurs, patrons, and passerbys in one of the greatest cities for year-round al fresco dining in the world.

The new rules prohibit smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas including restaurant patios, cafes and food courts, and within 40 feet of food kiosks, food carts and mobile food trucks in the City of Los Angeles. What?!? No smoking while waiting for that seven dollar grilled cheese?

Smoking at L.A. parks, Santa Monica beaches and basically anywhere people congregate" is already prohibited. But come Tuesday, there will be literally no refuge for the 14.3 percent of Angelenos who like to top off a good meal with a cigarette or two.

Outdoor dining-area smoking restrictions already exist in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Glendale, Pasadena and Santa Monica. New York City recently approved new outdoor smoking restrictions that are expected to take effect later this spring. County of L.A. Public Health built a website around the March 8 new rules for smokers, nonsmokers, and restauranteurs alike at