The Coronado City Council voted, 3-2, Tuesday to ban smoking in all public spaces in the city. Councilmen Al Ovrom Jr and Richard Bailey were the only no votes.
“The council has really moved to protect the health of residents and visitors in Coronado,” Lorenzo Higley from the Community Against Substance Abuse said. “It's a major public health achievement the council demonstrated real leadership.”
With the ban, Coronado joins several other cities, Chula Vista, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas and El Cajon, in the county in banning smoking in public places.
“We're very excited that Coronado has adopted a really smoke-free outdoor ordinance,” Debra Kelly from the American Lung Association said. “Right now they have a D-grade, by passing this they will leap to a B-grade or maybe an A-grade.”
Higley had also asked that the council to include electronic cigarettes in the ban.
“Electronic cigarettes are burgeoning at an alarming pace in most of the liquor stores and many large supermarkets,” he said. “The use of those electronic cigarettes, unless it's regulated, adds to the confusion whether or not the nonsmoking [ban] is in place.”
About 100 people were at the meeting and all the people who spoke were in favor of the ban. The adopted ordinance does allow an exception for some outdoors dining area where the majority area is on private property.
Linda Barbour from the American Cancer Association urged the council to rethink the policy and make all public areas non-smoking.
“We’re concerned with the exception provision for the outdoor dining section where the public and private exemption may create confusion among the member of the public and may make this provision hard to enforce,” she said.
Councilman Bailey disagreed.
“I generally in support of the ordinance with the big exception that I do not think we should be legislating a smoking ban on private properties,” he said. “I can’t imagine the situation where it would become an issue.”
Mayor Casey Tanaka also agreed with that assessment. He also is against adding electronic cigarettes to the ban.
“The whole public policy point of view is about second-hand smoke and electronic cigarettes don't put out second-hand smoke,” he said. “We're just bending it to bend it.”
Councilman Ovram, who voted no, said that the ordinance is an over reach by the city.
"I think it's overkill," he said. "The problem is around the business district and it seems to me that it's should be restricted to the business district.
The ordinance also bans smoking on all outdoors public events, regardless of whether they’re on public or private properties. The law will come in to effect Jan. 1. Anyone caught violating the law will be subjected to a $100 fine.