Del Mar council OK’s downtown smoking ban


Del Mar’s City Council is one step closer to stomping out cigarettes in the city.

The council approved an ordinance at the Oct. 5 meeting that will ban smoking at all city facilities and on downtown sidewalks, outdoor cafes and adjacent streets. The ordinance will be made official at the next meeting on Oct. 26 and take effect after 30 days.

The ordinance also prohibits mobile sales of tobacco products, such as hand-outs of coupons or free packs by cigarette company representatives.

Kathleen Sullivan, a policy manager for the American Lung Association, said that the city’s move to become smoke-free would have many positive health benefits.

Sullivan said recent research indicates residents of cities that outlaw smoking are 17 percent less likely to suffer heart attacks in the first year of the ban. The number goes up to 26 percent in the second and third year of the ban, she said.

Bans have a big impact on youth as well, Sullivan said, noting that youth are 40 percent less likely to pick up the habit when they live in a smoke-free city.

“The majority of people really do want smoke-free outdoor spaces,” Sullivan said.

The council received letters opposing the smoking ban, including one from Del Mar resident Jim Donovan.

“Why shouldn’t adults in our intended land of the free be allowed to make their own choices, whether or not to drink, smoke, eat junk foods or any other legal indulgence without laws to make decisions for them?” Donovan wrote.

Donovan, who identified himself as a non-smoker, said he believes less than 10 percent of people in Del Mar smoke and called the anti-smoking movement unnecessarily aggressive.

“The rights of smokers are doomed, but beware, yours may be next,” Donovan wrote.

Councilmember Donald Mosier said he doesn’t agree with the argument that they are stifling people’s rights. “One doesn’t have the right to kill your neighbors with secondhand smoke,” Mosier said.

He said the science behind the effects of secondhand smoke are “hard and old” and that any argument against its dangers are “specious and ignore well-established scientific facts.”