The District of Columbia City Council voted 10 to 2 yesterday to extend the existing ban against smoking in department stores and supermarkets to almost all retail outlets in the city.
The measure also would require taxicab passengers to have permission from the driver and all other riders before lighting up. It would bar smoking in public areas of hospitals and clinics and at public meetings at buildings owned or leased by the city government.
The bill brings the city into line with suburban areas, including Fairfax, Prince George's and Montgomery counties, which have bans against smoking in retail establishments and many other public places.
Violators in the District of Columbia could be fined from$10 to $50 for a first offense and from $50 to $100 for each subsequent offense. Property managers who fail to post signs listing the restraints, or those who deface the signs, could be fined as much as $300.
Under a timetable contained in the bill, its provisions could not take effect until sometime next fall. The precise time depends on how soon it is signed by Mayor Marion Barry and sent to Congress for review and possible veto. Since home rule began in 1975, Congress never has invoked its power to block passage of a councilenacted bill.
The measure passed yesterday was much weaker than bill that have been considered intermittently since 1976, including one that was killed by the council last fall under heavy lobbying pressure from the tobacco industry.
The earlier version would have prohibited smoking by anybody who was at work, other than in segregated areas or private offices, as well as in such places as hotel lobbies, barber and beauty shops and in restaurants other than in segregated smoking sections.
Despite the weakened provisions, Larry C. Williams Sr., lobbyist for the Tobacco Institute, continued to fight its enactment. He criticized the criminal penalities and said restraints on tobacco smoking should be replaced by broadly effective clean-air rules.
Enactment of the bill was opposed during debate yesterday by the two members who voted against it - Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7), who called it unenforceable, and Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), who said it would have the greatest impact on small, minority-owned businesses. William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5) abstained from voting.
Hardy also called the bill ambiguous, since it apparently would prohibit smoking at indoor carry-out counters that sell hot dogs and hamburgers, but would permit smoking in restaurants located within large retail stores. Jerry A. Moore, Jr. (R-At Large), chief sponsor of the bill, said it would permit smoking in establishments specifically licensed by the city as restaurants.
Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) called the bill "a very mild extension . . . of (fire) regulations already in effect" that prohibit smoking in stores with 20 or more employes.
Most of the city's large chain and department stores and most supermarkets already are in that category. Smoking also is prohibited now in elevators and public transit vehicles. Among retail stores, the only ones specifically exempted from the new smoking ban are specialized tobacco stores.
At yesterday's meeting, the council also confirmed five of Mayor Barry's nominees for top city offices. It was the first time the council had acted under a new law that requires such confirmations, and will permit the mayor to remove his appointees when he chooses.
Those confirmed for appointment or reappointment yesterday were Burtell M. Jefferson, chief of polic; Robert L. Moore, director of housing: Douglas N. Schneider, director of transportation; Judith W. Rogers, corporation counsel, and Anita Bellamy Shelton, director of the Office of Human Rights.