Smoking Ban Ordinance Passed in Oceanside

Smoking on Patio

Oceanside City Council in the state of California approved new ordinance which bans smoking in outdoor eating areas of bars and restaurants. The smoke-free ordinance passed with 3-2 vote last week, on March 18.

On public hearings held before the ordinance approval, the majority of city residents and Council Members spoke in favor of it. Their major argument was the necessity to protect visitors from secondhand smoke effects. However, bar and restaurant owners spoke against the proposed smoking ban.

Tom Ratowski is one of owners of The Draft Restaurant & Sports Bar and tells about difficulties he faced when building the patio, because there was a high necessity to correspond to city’s specifications. Ratowski explains that patrons often do smoke cigarettes in patios, therefore the restaurant does not serve food on the patios. He considers that the smoking ban should be established on case-by-case basis.

Another owner of The Draft Restaurant & Sports Bar is Derek Mascia and together with Ratowski they own the establishment for seven years. He also is against the ban.

Joe Jeffery, owner of Junkyard Grill & Sports Bar, also dislikes the proposal as well, and he told on the public hearing that existing bar and restaurant smoking patios should be grandfathered in. Just like Ratowski, he made a patio exclusively for partons to smoke.

Two councilmen who voted against the ban are Jack Feller and Jerry Kern. They support the viewpoint of business owners and say that businesses should be free to decide to allow smoking or not in their own patios. Kern considers that the government goes to far with such an ordinance and soon smokers would be forced to go to the distant areas to light up or be allowed to do it only in their homes.

Jim Wood, the Mayor of Oceanside, claims that 90% of Californians do not smoke, but are forced to inhale tobacco smoke if it is permitted on restaurant patios.  Most vulnerable here are kids, non-smoking adults and elderly people.

Jimmy Figueroa is a frequent bar visitor and he is especially worried about his pregnant wife whom he wants to protect from secondhand smoke.

First Oceanside’s attempt to pass similar ordinance failed in 2013. Now the city would join a number of major cities who adopted smoking ban in patios: Solana Beach, National City, El Cajon, Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad,  Chula Vista.

Smoking ban ordinance in Oceanside imposes a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 fine for the second offense, and $500 fine for the third offense.

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