For Solana Beach city councilmember Lesa Heebner, cigarette smokers should be confined to their houses with their doors and windows shut tight when they spark up. “My father died from smoking,” said Heebner during the June 24 city council meeting. “He started smoking when he was nine years old and my mom has health problems from second-hand smoke. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’d love to see [smoking] banned on public streets, everywhere, except in your own house with the windows and doors closed and nobody else inside.”
Heebner’s comments came just before Solana Beach city councilmembers banned smoking at outdoor restaurants, bars, playgrounds, street fairs, and farmer’s markets. In addition to the ban, the newly adopted ordinance requires that cigarette vendors apply for an additional license, issued by the city, to sell tobacco. By requiring the additional license, the city hopes to reduce underage smoking and decrease the overall affects that second-hand smoke has on nonsmokers.
Historically, Solana Beach has been at the forefront of imposing prohibitions on smoking. In 1992, Solana Beach prohibited smoking in the city’s restaurants. Nine years later, the city was the first in the nation to outlaw smoking on public beaches.
Representatives from the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and the San Dieguito Alliance For Drug Free Youth spoke to the ban during the Wednesday night meeting. All commended the council for taking on the issue.
“It is refreshing to see that times are a changing,” said councilmember David Roberts before asking that the ordinance be modified to include enclosed entryways.
“We want to live a healthy lifestyle here in North County,” added Roberts. “Smoking, we have heard from all the experts, that we have to get it under control. I think it’s all about behavior. We have to model the behavior so that people understand the implications.”
“It’s an exciting day,” said councilmember Joe Kellejian, who along with Roberts brought the ordinance to the council. “This city and this council should be proud -- we’re lifesavers. We’re saving our own life and the lives of others.”
After council comments, the five councilmembers voted unanimously in favor of the ban. Immediately after the vote, the representative from the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association gave the council a round of applause.