The Escondido City Council voted unanimously to move forward with an ordinance prohibiting smoking and vaping in outdoor dining areas, public places including sidewalks, and public events such as parades.
The way the policy is written, the areas where smoking is permitted include 80 feet outside of a city-owned building, including the parking lot, as well as one’s home (unless in an apartment or multi-unit housing community that prohibits it) and privately-owned residenceS. However, smoking is not permitted in any outdoor public spaces, recreational areas, community events or restaurants.
“Congratulations to Escondido for becoming the first North Inland city to take these vital steps to protect residents, visitors and restaurant workers from toxic secondhand smoke, “ said Lisa Archibald, tobacco control program manager for Vista Community Clinic. “Escondido is the first in North Inland but will not be the last. We are also working with community members from San Marcos to enact similar protections.”
During the council meeting, Cecilia Arias reported that staff from Vista Community Clinic visited all 140 Escondido restaurants with outdoor dining areas and found that only 78 were voluntarily smoke-free. She stated, “As a resident of Escondido, I would like to feel protected from secondhand smoke when I dine out.”
Of the 12 people who spoke at the council meeting, including several students who attend Escondido schools, eleven expressed their full support for the ordinance. One speaker, who said he smokes, opposed making sidewalks smoke-free but supported the policy’s other provisions.
The smoke-free policy will come back for final approval on April 1 and will become effective 30 days later. A new policy requiring all tobacco retailers to obtain a license from the city will be presented to council members on April 15.