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Pismo Beach expands smoking ban, but proponents say enforcement will be key

Posted at 11:56 PM, Apr 18, 2019

Less smoke in Pismo Beach. That’s the hope with the expanded smoking ban that went into effect on Thursday.

The action to create new areas banned from people smoking came from the American Lung Association assigning an “F” for the city’s inadequate tobacco use ordinances. But it will only be successful if it is enforced, proponents say.

The City is proud to begin the new regulations that includes vaping.

“The excitement for us is the opportunity for people to enjoy the clean air we enjoy here along the central coast and specifically Pismo Beach,” Jorge Garcia, Pismo Beach Management Services Department Director, said. “As well as to limit the litter we see from cigarette butts that sometimes do come in to the downtown.”

For Roger Tomasko, owner of Tomasko’s Salt Water Taffy for 31 years, he says it is about time the City did more to stop smoking in public.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time that they should ban the smoking,” he said. “It’s really annoying here. There is so many people who smoke, and you have all these families and all the kids. It’s time.”

The City’s goal is compliance and not citation the first 30 days, Garcia said. Though violators could face a fine of $250 after that.

Leah Moss, the visitor host at Pismo Beach Visiting Center next to the Pier says the ban could work well, if it is enforced.

“I think it will be important because anyone who works down here can say, ‘Hey you can’t smoke’ but the signage for the bicycles and the no dogs on the pier, one of the main things I hear is ‘oh well’ or ‘it’s not enforced’ or ‘it’s a sign, it’s a guideline.’ so I think enforcement will be important, or else it’s just another sign.”

Tomasko also questions how well the ban will be enforced.

“That’s going to be the problem, getting it enforced,” he said. “But it’s a good idea, they need signage to notify the people, so they have a lot to do before they start writing tickets.”

The additional smoke-free zones are outdoor dining areas, entryways to various buildings, farmers markets and other special events open to the public, bus stops, ATM machines and other types of service areas, recreational areas like hiking trails, bike paths and sports fields, and unenclosed places of employment.

The new regulations will also prohibit smoking on sidewalks along Shell Beach Road, Five Cities Drive, and in the downtown area.

The City and police are working together in discussing how to properly enforce the ban.

It will also be installing signs in the downtown area to inform the community about the updated regulations.