LAGUNA BEACH — The only place people will be allowed to smoke in this resort town will be inside their homes and cars.
On Tuesday, May 9, the City Council voted unanimously to expand its ban on smoking that already covers beaches and parks.
The new ordinance bans smoking throughout the city, including on sidewalks, bike paths, alleys and in parking structures. The ordinance is the first such restrictive ban in Orange County. It will go into effect after a second reading in 30 days.
The ban also applies to vapes and e-cigarettes. Last summer, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of tobacco bills that included these devices in the state’s smoking ban restriction. The ban would also apply to smoking marijuana in the same places tobacco smoking is prohibited.
There would be a $100 fine for first violation and up to $500 for third violation.
“This recognizes that smoking is a bad thing,” said Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede. “The ordinance is balanced because we’re still allowing smoking in some locations.”
At least 10 residents and two representatives from the American Lung Association gave the council their opinions. Most of the speakers spoke on behalf of the ordinance.
“I support the ban for two reasons; environmental impacts and second-hand smoke,” said Curran Hendrikson, a student at Laguna Beach High School. “The environment gets pretty trashed when people throw their cigarette butts on the ground. It all leads to the ocean.”
Hendrikson, a football player, said when he was younger he suffered from asthma and was afraid of it coming back because of his exposure to second-hand smoke.
Also, “I really don’t want to walk down the street and see cigarette butts in the gutter,” he said.
Resident Catherine Williams, a 15-year-old at Laguna Beach High, told the story of her grandmother from Santa Barbara coming to visit once a month.
“We go to Zinc (Cafe) and the bus stop is right there,” she said. “When people get off, they stand there and smoke. One day a month, they ruin my family’s visit with my grandma. If we had the smoking ban, we could say, ‘You can’t do that here.’”
But Hillary Cole wondered what effect the smoking ban would have on the many European visitors drawn to Laguna.
“Maybe we can direct them to a place that’s more secluded,” she said. “Maybe there’s a way to modify it without chasing away the European tourists.”
In California, 70 cities have adopted some sort of outdoor smoking ban. Manhattan Beach passed a citywide ban in 2014 and Calabasas in 2008.
The Dana Point City Council last week also directed its staff to explore a citywide smoking ban and follow Laguna’s lead. Dana Point Mayor Debra Lewis pointed to Laguna Beach and Manhattan Beach as cities who are doing right by their residents.
Like Laguna Beach, Lewis said last week that the idea to consider the ban in Dana Point followed repeated complaints from residents.
The Laguna Beach City Council first took up the idea in…