By Crystal Crawford
Mayor, Del Mar
Over the past few years, there have been more and more studies documenting the health dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. The Del Mar City Council recently reviewed some of this information on July 27, when council members discussed whether to pursue changes to the city's smoking and tobacco regulations (Del Mar Municipal Code Chapter 11.08).
The council did not take any formal action that evening but did provide direction to staff regarding amending the regulations. Staff will use that information to create a draft ordinance that will be reviewed at a future public hearing.
In expressing their preliminary thoughts about amending the city code, council members focused on three areas of concern: 1) the health impacts of secondhand smoke; 2) the visual impacts of tobacco-related litter; and 3) the health impacts, especially to children, from the handling of tobacco litter. One common theme expressed was the desire to protect patrons in outdoor dining areas from secondhand smoke.
The council directed staff to prepare amendments to the current ordinance language that would prohibit smoking in any outdoor dining area. (Smoking is already banned by state law in all indoor bar and restaurant areas.) The council also discussed how to ensure that the areas immediately adjacent to outdoor dining spaces would also be smoke-free. This was in recognition that secondhand smoke carries over the rails and glass panels that line outdoor dining spaces.
The City Council did not take any formal action on July 27 but did discuss the overall goal of amending the city's smoking ordinance. A number of members of the public were in attendance, all speaking in favor of a comprehensive smoking ban. The council expects that there will be more testimony when the item comes back for the formal hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for the council's Sept. 21 meeting. If you would like to hear the discussion from July 27, you can watch the meeting on the city's Web site:
under City Council meetings, videos on demand. As always, I look forward to hearing your opinion on this issue. Please e-mail me at