Step Forward Towards a Smoke-Free Oceanside

Smoking Woman in Bar

Last week, on February 18, the city of Oceanside in California provided its city attorney with the instructions to draft a smoking ban on outdoor dining areas.

With the move the city would join a number of other cities in North County which already have such a ban in place: Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas.

The proposed law would not permit bar and restaurant owners and visitors to light up cigarettes on outdoor patios. The major aim of the law is to protect people working at restaurants from secondhand smoke.

On the meeting there were present owners of restaurants who told that the change would make smokers move from patios to the front door entrances and this would not protect establishments from tobacco smoke. Some bar owners created for smokers special patios as smokers requested it strongly.

Joe Jeffery, owner of Junkyard Grill & Sports Bar, says clients desires are their priority and the state has nothing to do with their business.

Jerry Kern is the Council member who supports bar and restaurant owners position who consider that smoking should be permitted on patios, and owners should decide by themselves to allow smoking or not in their establishments. Bearing this in mind, workers may select where to work.

Kern also considers that government should not interfere with private businesses and now the city does not need a new anti-smoking ordinance.

Oceanside Mayor, Jim Wood received a great number of calls from residents who concern about smoking in bars. Namely this made him push the ordinance.

In 2013 similar proposal did not receve support from councilmen. It restricted tobacco use only on patios adjacent to public sidewalks, and permitted smoking on restaurant patios on private property and second floors.  However, the current smoking ban would include all restaurant and bar patios.

Today nearly half of restaurants in Osenside do not allow smoking outdoors. This was their voluntary choice. Council member Esther Sanchez says it makes the ban easier to enforce.

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