Manhattan Beach Becomes Smoke-Free City

Smoking is only allowed in designated hotel and motel rooms, private residential properties, like a resident's home and a moving vehicle in the city

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A ban on smoking went into effect Friday in Manhattan Beach, expanding its existing smoking ban to include e-cigarettes and all public areas. Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from Manhattan Beach Friday, July 18, 2014. (Published Friday, Jul 18, 2014)

    Manhattan Beach became an entirely smoke-free city Friday by putting into effect one of the strictest smoking bans in the state.

    The city's smoke-free ordinance, which was approved by the Manhattan Beach City Council last month, expands its existing smoking ban to include e-cigarettes and all streets, sidewalks and outdoor dining areas.

    Smoking is only allowed in designated hotel and motel rooms, private residential properties, like a resident's home and a moving vehicle in the city.

    Volunteers on Tuesday had planned on passing out flyers and educating business owners about the smoking ban in an initiative called "Breathe Free Manhattan Beach."

    Several bar owners along The Strand said in June that they support the ban when the city approved the it.

    According to a recent survey conducted by the city, about 7 percent of Manhattan Beach residents identified themselves as smokers. City leaders said they hope to spread the word so that visitors are also aware of the new restrictions.

    "If you're walking to our shops here, if you're dining on the patios, smoking is no longer allowed in those areas," said Sona Coffee, the city's environmental program manager. "The reason for that is we want to protect all of our visitors all of our residents from the impacts of second-hand smoke."

    Some think the ban, which also includes e-cigarettes, goes too far.

    "It's just way too harsh," said Christina Pidlaski, a smoker who recently switched to e-cigarettes. "It's one thing to try and make the city a healthier place. I think you should be promoting e-cigs for people like me who have been trying to quit for a long time. Now, I'm going to get in trouble for that too -- I don't think it's fair at all."

    Officials said they hope the ban is self-enforced so that police resources aren't strained. There will be a one month grace period for residents and visitors to get up to speed on the new restrictions.

    "If you're a smoker, it's not the greatest ruling that's ever passed," said Brian Fassel, who was visiting Manhattan Beach from Colorado. "But I think that more and more people are getting away from smoking so, just because someone chooses to have a vice doesn't mean I should have to pay for it or be a part of their vice."

    Fines would start at $100 for the first offense, according to the city.

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