Solana Beach City Council to consider requiring retailers of electronic smoking devices to obtain a license

By Kristina Houck

After officially adopting an ordinance that bans the use of electronic cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, the Solana Beach City Council on March 13 agreed to consider requiring retailers of electronic smoking devices to obtain a license.

The council on Feb. 12 voted to amend the city’s existing smoking ordinance to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes, and all similar devices, in all public places where smoking is banned. A couple of speakers on March 13 urged council members to take an additional step and amend the city’s existing tobacco retail permit ordinance to require shops that only sell e-cigarettes and similar devices to also hold a license.

Concerned about similar stores opening up in Solana Beach, resident Peggy Walker pointed out that two stores in Encinitas do not sell tobacco, just e-cigarettes and other electronic devices.

“Because they don’t sell tobacco, they’re not required to have a tobacco retail permit,” Walker said. “I’m concerned and many people in the tobacco prevention and drug prevention community are concerned about this because … the simple device called the e-cigarette appeared on the scene a couple years ago and now adolescent smoking is on the rise again.”

“You don’t have a standalone store yet in Solana Beach, so it’s very preemptive on our part to suggest it,” added Judi Strang, executive director of the San Dieguito Alliance for a Drug Free Youth. “But on the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to just get it added to your tobacco retailer’s permit and be done with it?”

At the direction of the council, staff will bring the issue before the council at a future meeting.

“It’s an added step,” said City Attorney Johanna Canlas. “It’s a procedural process. We will have information on who they are, where they are, the type of business that they are doing.”

“It makes them jump through another hoop,” added Mayor Thomas Campbell.