La Mesa to reconsider citywide smoking ban

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LA MESA, Calif. -- The City of La Mesa is set to reconsider updating city code to ban any kind of smoking in all public places at Tuesday's city council meeting.

Initially, the ban was highly restrictive and confused a lot of downtown businesses and patrons when it was first introduced in November, but it seems city council members have made some revisions.

"People were concerned we would lose this favorite place to come to because I can’t exist with just the beer," said  Phil Hoffman, owner of cigar bar Hoffer's.

Just a matter of months ago, Hoffman was worried a new smoking ban in the might mean the end of the road for his business and plenty of others.

"The other bars in the town have also added patios in the back for smoking and people like to have a beer and drink and be able to smoke," said Hoffman.

La Mesa outlawed smoking in public parks more than a decade ago, but toward the end of 2019, city council members decided it was time to update city code. Two council members proposed banning any smoking, including vaping, in all public places.

The amendment is now on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. It’s been rewritten with exemptions for existing businesses like Hoffman’s and others that already have designated areas for smoking.

Hoffman is now cautiously optimistic heading into the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at council chambers.

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