Berkeley smokers will have fewer places to puff now that the City Council has banned smoking on sidewalks in all commercial areas.

The City Council unanimously passed the ordinance, which goes into effect in May, at its Tuesday night meeting.

The ordinance carries fines of up to $100 for a first offense and $500 for a third offense in one year, said Lauren Lempert, senior management analyst for the city.

It also stops smoking in parks and recreation areas; near ATMs; bus stops and taxicab stands; within 25 feet of doorways and windows of buildings open to the public; and within 50 feet of buildings used for health care, child care or senior centers.

The measure replaces a no-smoking law passed Dec. 11 that was part of Mayor Tom Bates' Public Commons for Everyone initiative. That law banned smoking on sections of 16 streets in commercial areas, but not in all of them.

The city decided to expand the sidewalk-smoking ban, because police complained it is too difficult to keep track of where smoking is outlawed and where it is not. Also, citystaffers decided to add southern and western Berkeley where a higher proportion of black adults live, who are 1.6 times more likely to smoke than white adults, according to a city of Berkeley Health Status Report.

Children under age 5 have a higher rate of asthma in south-ern and western Berkeley, one consequence of inhaling secondhand smoke, according to the city.

Lempert said the officials originally decided not to ban smoking on all commercial sidewalks, because it conflicted with a health department campaign urging people to smoke outside, rather than inside, where others are affected by secondhand smoke.

In the end, the city decided that it won't hurt those people who go outside to smoke to walk a few extra blocks to a noncommercial area.

"We felt (the new ordinance) is more supportive of public health goals of the city overall," Lempert said. "You have to balance all kinds of needs and interests."

About 10 percent of Berkeley's population, or 11,000 people, smoke, according to the city of Berkeley Health Status Report. City officials hope the new law cuts that number.

"It is known that by expanding restrictions, it reduces the number of people who smoke," Lempert said.

One area that will be hit hard by the new rules is the sidewalk in front of Berkeley City College on Center Street, Lempert said.

"Even though it's outdoors, nonsmokers who work down here go all the way around the block, because you practically choke going down that corridor," Lempert said.

A couple of blocks away, Danielle Hays, 16, and her friend Shalane Hawkes, 17, were enjoying a smoke outside the East Bay Media Center on Addison Street.

The two like to hang out on Telegraph Avenue for shopping, and will find the new law a pain.

"I guess we'll have to go smoke where there are no stores," Hays said.

Contact Doug Oakley at doakley@bayareanewsgroup.com.