Coronado votes to ban smoking on nearly all public property

CORONADO, Calif. - If you are looking to light up in the city of Coronado, think again. There are only a few places left in the city where that will be allowed.

The city of Coronado has voted to ban smoking on nearly all public property.

City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which would prohibit smoking in alleyways, streets, sidewalks, outdoor recreational areas and outdoor dining areas.

Tim Aaron owns Nicky Rotten's Bar & Burgers in Coronado. Like many other restaurant owners, he counts on the amazing San Diego weather and their outdoor eating areas to draw customers.

"We're trying to be a healthy community and I think for the well-being of everybody, it's a good thing," said Aaron.

He spoke at the council meeting in support of the smoking ban.

"The majority of my clients and customers are in favor of the ban, and I am too," Aaron said. "I think there are a few areas, though, that may cause some issues."

Although the smoking ordinance bans smoking in most public places, there are a few exceptions, such as places like the Hotel Del Coronado, the municipal golf course and outdoor dining areas that are mostly on private property.

Debra Kelley, who is with the American Lung Association, says the exceptions create some confusion.

"This ordinance would not work, for example, in the city of San Diego," said Kelley.

Although Kelley is happy the city has decided to approve the ban, she says it needs to be clearer.

"For many reasons, but if you look at the Gaslamp or Pacific Beach where a lot of restaurants congested together you would achieve nothing if you exempted every place with private property and there were all these exemptions," she said. "Smoking on private or public property needs to be regulated."

Lorenzo Higley of the Communities Against Substance Abuse spoke at the council meeting to show the organization's support for the ban.

"Coronado is part of a healthier movement happening," he said.

Higley said despite the language of the ordinance, Coronado's decision is a step in the right direction.

The city joins Chula Vista, El Cajon, National City, Del Mar, Carlsbad and Encinitas along with 62 other California cities that have taken a stand against public smoking.

"The city is part of a wave of cities that are now looking at living, playing and working in a healthier environment free of secondhand smoke, and that's something we support," said Higley.

The city estimates it will spend close to $20,000 educating its residents and the public through informational fliers and updated signage.

The ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2014

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