LA MESA, Calif. — The City of La Mesa on Tuesday became the latest in a string of California cities officially saying “no” to smoking.
The City Council voted unanimously to ban all smoking - traditional, electronic, cigars, and cannabis - in public from streets to sidewalks to hotel rooms and restaurants.
There was one exception: Cigar bars and over 21 establishments with patios.
The ordinance did face some opposition.
“This ordinance says La Mesa does not want smokers to live here,” said one resident.
In the end, the City Council sided with educators and parents.
Residents in La Mesa had expressed concerns over second hand smoke as a public health issue – one that should have been addressed years ago like other California cities and counties.
“I would like to go to a restaurant and sit outside and not have to inhale someone’s smoke,” said a La Mesa restaurant.
“I think it is a little overreach. I mean, not many people smoke anymore, and if you smoke, you’re a pariah anyway,” said another resident.
The goal is to roll out the ordinance slowly. Instead of sending out law enforcement to issue citations on city streets, violators will be warned at first, and then subject to a fine of up to $500.
Also on Tuesday, San Diego County supervisors tentatively approved a one-year moratorium on the sale and distribution of electronic smoking devices in unincorporated areas, while also backing a ban on the sale of flavored and smokeless tobacco products.