The following were among actions taken by the Alexandria City Council at its Jan. 12 meeting. For further information, call 838-4300.

NO-SMOKING AREAS IN RESTAURANTS -- The council tentatively approved an ordinance requiring most restaurants to set aside a least a fourth of their seats for nonsmokers.

The bill, which was passed unanimously but which the council must vote on a second time for final approval, would require all restaurants that seat more that 40 people to establish no-smoking sections comprising 25 percent of their seats.

Restaurants built after the ordinance takes effect would have to set aside 50 percent of their seats for nonsmokers. A final vote on the ordinance is expected later this month.

"We were hopeful that the restaurant owners would be more sensitive to the (nonsmoking) public voluntarily, but they are not," said Vice Mayor Patricia S. Ticer. "This should help."

The council's action reflects increasing concern about the effects of tobacco smoke not only on smokers but on people around them. Fears about the effect of passive smoking -- nonsmokers inhaling smoke from smokers -- have led several Washington-area jurisdictions to require no-smoking sections in restaurants.

Washington-area localities that require restaurants to have no-smoking sections include Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

"I'd like to see us go further," said council member Redella S. (Del) Pepper. "A lot of people are allergic to smoke, and they deserve a break."