Laguna Beach to review ban on sales of tobacco and vape products

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Laguna Beach City Council will revisit the conversation about banning the sale of tobacco and vaping products in the city at its meeting on Tuesday.

City Councilor George Weiss has introduced a bill on the agenda that will lead to a discussion on the possibility of such a ban.

The council will consider whether to ask city staff to pass an ordinance banning the sale of these products in Laguna Beach and provide an analysis of the potential impact.

Laguna Beach has considered similar restrictions in the past. Smoking and vaping are already illegal in all public spaces within city limits, but the council considered expanding those restrictions to include a sales halt two years ago.

According to information from the Daily Pilot, the council was particularly concerned about the consumption of flavored tobacco and vaping by school-aged children.

Weiss said that preventing the habit before it starts for the next generation of Laguna Beach is also a major concern for him, but he raised several points, including fire safety and environmental impact.

“I think the environmental aspect of this, now that we’ve taken plastics out of the equation, for the most part it’s time to move on to something that’s also an environmental issue,” Weiss said.

City Councilor Toni Iseman said she was happy Weiss brought the topic back to council, and she expressed optimism that perhaps now is the time to act.

“Support for the board is one thing, and implementation is another,” Iseman said in a telephone interview on Saturday. “I think that’s a time when we might be more willing to do something about it, to really follow through.”

Iseman appears to have changed his mind since the council considered banning e-cigarettes in 2013.

“I remember that night going to Lumberyard, and there was someone sitting at the bar vaping, and I watched it, and we weren’t sure exactly what we were doing,” added Iseman. “It was before it was obvious how bad it is.”

The Weiss Agenda Bill cites the decreased likelihood of teens starting to smoke or vape and the impact of second-hand smoke on the public as benefits of a prohibition order.

He also says there would be fewer cigarette butts in the community and help efforts to reduce the risk of fires.

The hybrid format remains in effect for board meetings at Laguna Beach. Members of the public who wish to address the board in person can enter the board room to speak and then exit immediately.

The regular meeting, which begins Tuesday at 5 p.m., can also be viewed on Cox 852 cable or on Zoom at lagunabeachcity.zoom.us/j/91641723096.

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