Pismo Beach could expand smoking ban to outdoor dining, bus stops, sidewalks and more

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Gov. Jerry Brown has signed California's most significant new tobacco legislation in decades.

You might not be allowed to smoke on the sidewalk or on a restaurant patio in Pismo Beach much longer.

The Pismo Beach City Council will consider expanding its city-wide smoking bans Tuesday night, in response to concern from residents and a failing grade for tobacco control from the American Lung Association.

Pismo Beach currently bans smoking at public parks, playgrounds, the Pismo Beach Pier and the beach, as well as “within 20 feet of a main exit, entrance or operable window of a public building,” according to a city staff report.

According to the report, Pismo Beach was one of two San Luis Obispo County cities to receive an “F” from the American Lung Association in 2018 for its tobacco control regulations. The other was Atascadero.

That “F” rating was primarily because Pismo Beach’s “tobacco-use ordinances do not substantially limit the locations where tobacco may be used,” according to the staff report.

To help remedy this, the city could choose to make its smoking prohibitions more comprehensive, and include outdoor dining spaces, public events, public sidewalks and service areas such as bus stops, ATM lines and taxi stands, as well as outdoor working areas such as construction sites.

Pismo Beach could also choose to restrict only some of those areas, or none at all.

If the city chooses to expand the ban to all of the above locations, Pismo Beach would have some of the most stringent smoking prohibitions in San Luis Obispo County.

The Tuesday meeting is for the council to provide direction on its preferred options. Any direction from that night would then be drafted into an ordinance by staff and voted upon at a future meeting.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.