ENCINITAS, Calif. — Encinitas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday evening expanding on an already existing smoking ban to include almost anywhere within city limits.
“I very much respect individuals’ rights, but I do think this is trumped by that nexus of public, private and environmental health concerns,” councilmember Allison Blackwell said.
Councilmembers voted unanimously to pass the ordinance after hearing from residents with concerns on both sides of the issue.
“Cigarette butts make up 20 to 25%, sometimes even 30% of what Surfrider volunteers find at beach cleanups countywide every year, it just blows my mind,” said Mitch Silverstein, San Diego County Policy Coordinator with the Surfrider Foundation.
The city’s current law already prevents people from smoking at beaches, city parks, trails and outdoor dining areas.
“I’ll smoke outside in the parking lot around nobody and I throw it out so I don’t litter. I’m not quite sure why the whole ban. I understand parks and all these other places,” Eli Stern said.
Now the ban will extend to all public places, places of employment and any area within 20 feet of a public space. The proposal’s goal is to help cut back on toxic plastic pollution from tobacco products.
Smoking in Encinitas will still be allowed on private property, in certain hotels rooms and inside a vehicle that’s being driven.
Cities with similar bans include El Cajon, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach.
Since this ordinance passed, there will be a second reading and then businesses will have 90 days to post no smoking signs and adhere to the new law. It will be enforced by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.