The new year has brought a new law to San Diego’s famous Coronado community: a ‘No Smoking’ ordinance that bans smoking on most public property – and then some.
According to the City of Coronado’s website, the new ordinance went into effect Jan. 1.
In addition to banning smoking on most public property – including all public streets, highways, alleys, sidewalks and parking lots – the ordinance bans smoking on public or private property within 25 feet of an enclosed building.
It also bans smoking on private property that is open to the general public for an event, for recreational purposes or if the private property is serving as a service area such as an ATM, ticket line or parking stand.
Before this ban was implemented, the prohibition on smoking in Coronado included a ban in public parks and beaches.
There are exceptions to the ban. For instance, smoking is still permitted on the Coronado Golf Course, as well as in an outdoor dining area if a majority of the dining area is located on private property. If that’s the case, the owner can decide whether or not to allow smoking, according to the ordinance.
Smoking is also permitted on private property, except in areas open to the public, as aforementioned. It also continues to be allowed on all outdoor residential property, regardless of its distance from any doorway or window of an enclosed building around which smoking is prohibited.
The City of Coronado is working to spread the word on the new outdoor law. City officials have created this webpage, which includes sample signs (one pictured below) that Coronado residents can publicly display to remind fellow residents of the new smoking ban.
The City has posted new signs in the Coronado business district, local parks, public parking lots and walkways.
City Manager Blair King said it cost a couple thousand dollars to put up the new “No Smoking” signs, which also include other prohibitions like “No Skateboarding.”
King said the old signs were aging anyway so now was a good opportunity to replace them and update them with the new “No smoking” prohibition.
On Tuesday, NBC 7 spoke to Coronado residents about the ordinance. Some said they were thrilled by the ban, while others said it may hurt the small seaside community in the long run.
Annelie Randall, a pregnant mother of two, said she’s very happy with the ban because it reduces exposure to smoke.
“When you sit down with the kids, it can be annoying when people are smoking right next to you or you don’t have that many options of where to sit down,” said Randall, who has lived in Coronado for five months.
Randall also feels the ban might keep children from growing up to be smokers because they won’t be exposed to adults smoking on the streets, perhaps preventing them from copying the behavior.
“[If] you don’t grow up with it, then maybe you would not consider [doing] it,” she added.
Mike O’Connor, part-time sports producer for NBC 7 and general manager of the Coronado Firehouse Bar & Grill, believes the ban could potentially hurt his business, because patrons won’t be able to smoke as they please.
"I am concerned – these 21-year-old young Navy kids – we have some regular patrons who are smokers, where are they going to go? And where is it all going to end?" remarked O'Connor.
James Williams, 29, has lived in Coronado his whole life and he’s a smoker. He doesn't agree with the new ordinance.
“There’s nowhere to smoke. It’s banned in the public parks – just about the only place you can smoke is your house,” Williams said. “I think it’s heavy-handed.”
According to the City of Coronado, the smoking ban will be enforced by City Code Enforcement staff. The Coronado Police Department will respond to complaints of smoking violations.
If someone fails to comply with the ban, the city can issue a citation in the amount of up to $100 for the first offense.
A spokesperson for the city said the ban does not apply to electronic cigarettes.
NBC 7 spoke with Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka about the smoking ban.
“In general, my feeling is there just isn’t much support for smoking in Coronado. There hasn’t been in beaches and parks. There hasn’t been at restaurants and so on, so I think our City Council took the step to do something more comprehensive,” said Tanaka.
The mayor said Coronado business owners will likely help enforce the ban in the community.
“The other element of enforcement is that the first line of defense, frankly, will be our business owners, our restaurant owners – those are the people that are most likely to confront someone smoking and they’re going to be the first ones probably to let someone know, ‘You know, you’re not allowed to smoke in Coronado,’” Tanaka explained.
To read some FAQs about the ban, read this city document.