The City Council passed the ordinance 3-2 in March. The ban took effect May 12, but Burbank Police didn’t begin enforcing the law until August. Since then, 301 people have been cited for violating the ordinance, Police Chief Tim Stehr said.
Though Burbank Police have cited more than 300 people since August, the department has not been bogged down by the added enforcement, Stehr said.
“It’s just one aspect of our job that indicates we are enforcing the law,” he said. “It’s not taking away from anything else. We have not seen a huge increase in response time because of the ordinance.”
The base fine for smoking in areas where lighting up is banned is $50, though that fine can be more than $200, Stehr said.
While police have been citing more smokers, the fines do not represent a financial windfall for the department or the city, he said.
“We get a very small percentage of [the fine],” he said. “We’re not out there making money.”
The city receives about 10% for each ticket, with the rest allocated to various court-assessed fees, Stehr said, though the exact amount of money the city and the court receive is incalculable.
“All fees from the smoking ordinance are lumped in with all other citations,” Principal Planner Michael Forbes said.
Other cities have also grappled with smoking bans in public places.
In 2006, smoking was banned in a number of outdoor places in Santa Monica, including the 3rd Street Promenade, beaches and the Santa Monica Pier.
Since the ban went into effect on Thanksgiving Day in 2006, more than 100 people have been cited, said the city’s consumer affairs specialist, Paula Rockenstein.
“It has been a success, though more work needs to be done,” she said.