Smoking in nearly all of Hermosa Beach's outdoor public areas will be against the law starting March 1, the has decided.
The panel in a meeting Tuesday night voted 4-0, with Councilman Kit Bobko absent, to introduce an ordinance prohibiting smoking in outdoor dining areas, Pier Plaza, all city parks, , the Strand, and public parking lots.
Smoking is already banned on the local beach.
Council members decided 4-1 to direct city staffers to draft the ordinance, and Bobko was the dissenting vote.
Now the new rules have been set to begin March 1.
As for enforcing the ban, Police Chief Greg Savelli told the council that such a law usually results in self-enforcement, or "we tell them they can’t smoke and they’re compliant."
Lisa Santora, chief medical officer for the Beach Cities Health District, in the council meeting praised the ban as a benefit to public health.
About 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking-related causes and secondhand smoke nationwide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Vitality City director Joel Spoonheim pointed out that the Vitality program could offer resources to help residents quit smoking.
Meanwhile, George Barks, a former council member, questioned whether such efforts were necessary. He told the council that he saw the smoking ban as limiting personal freedom, and added that he rarely sees people smoking on the Strand anyway.
"You have a pretty good restriction on smoking right now, and I believe that there is a responsibility on each individual to take care of their health," he said.
But before the council made its final decision, Councilman Peter Tucker said that smoking issues and their secondhand impact "affect everyone."
Do you think the ban on outdoor smoking in Hermosa Beach is necessary?