Encinitas to consider citywide, outdoor smoking ban

e.nosmoke.1.121406.db.jpg/ Photo by Don Boomer/ A medical technician at Pomerado Hospital takes a smoke
Encinitas is considering an outdoor smoking ban.
(Don Boomer)

Proposal would apply to public places and places of employment


The Encinitas City Council will decide Wednesday, Feb. 15, whether to expand the city’s smoking ban so that it would cover sidewalks and parked vehicles.

Currently, the city’s ban on smoking in outdoor spots applies to beaches, city parks, trails and restaurants’ outdoor dining areas.

Area environmental organizations and youth health advocates have lobbied the council to broaden the ban, saying this will reduce cigarette butt litter and discourage youths from lighting up.

The item will go before the City Council at its 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking in public places generally, as well as places of employment and any area within 20 feet of a public place, except for private residential properties. It would cover the smoking of tobacco, electronic cigarettes, or “any other weed or plant,” including cannabis, a new city staff report states.

Places where smoking would still be permitted, if the ordinance is approved, include:

  • Private property, including residential properties;
  • Up to 20 percent of the guest rooms in a hotel or motel;
  • Inside a motor vehicle that is being actively driven.

The new proposal uses a Manhattan Beach ordinance as a model, the staff report states.
“The proposed ordinance is intended to address concerns that litter from tobacco and cannabis products (e.g., cigarette filters, vape cartridges, etc.) are a source of toxic plastic pollution,” it states. “In addition to plastic, cigarette filters and vape cartridges can contain arsenic, lead, and nicotine, among other toxins.”

In recent emails to the city, environmentalists and health advocates praised the proposal and, in some cases, said they wished the city had gone further. Suzanne Hume of wrote that Encinitas also should ban the sale of smoking products and prohibit smoking in multi-unit apartment complexes.

But some business representatives said the proposal was excessive government over-reach at its finest and took away private property rights.

Brittany Corrales, executive director of the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association, wrote that the ban will impact a number of businesses and their patrons in the city’s Leucadia region.

“Although myself and many of the people I’ve spoken to do not smoke, or appreciate smoke, we believe that the ban proposed, which covers private property, seems extreme,” she wrote.

Even some proponents wrote that they thought enforcement would be problematic. Elena Thompson wrote that she supported the ordinance, “but it won’t be easy to regulate,” noting that the city currently has trouble enforcing its gas-powered, leaf-blower ban.