The City of Richmond approved an ordinance this month that will ban smoking in apartments and other multi-unit housing by January 2011.

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt said that the ban came about following an American Lung Association survey of cities that gave Richmond an F grade because of ordinances and policies.

(View staff report of Richmond’s public smoking ban ordinance here

Butt recalled how commonplace smoking public places used to be as smoking was routine on trains, planes and buses, in restaurants, movie theaters and workplaces.

“I am sure there are people who have objected to it. I think that once it goes into effect it will be accepted,” Butt said. “An overwhelming majority of people support it. Once it comes on line, we won’t hear any more about it.”

Richmond Councilman Jeff Ritterman also noted that the F grade prompted the attention of the Council and believes other cities will follow suit.

Richmond, which had already banned smoking in many public areas, now follows the City of Belmont in adopting this similar ordinance.

Butt claims, “As a City Council member, I cannot stop people from killing each other with guns, just as I can’t and won’t stop people from smoking.

But I can legislate an end to secondhand smoke where if affects vulnerable people in multi-family dwellings, and it will probably be much easier to enforce than laws against murder. It may also save just as many lives.”

Butt expects that other cities will follow the City of Richmond in similar smoking ordinances.

This ordinance is the most recent in Richmond pertaining to smoking. It will be read for the second time on July 21 to the city council.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at