GARDEN GROVE : More Hearings Set on Cigarette Ban


The City Council has postponed a vote on an ordinance that would ban cigarette vending machines in the city.

Following a half-hour discussion this week, council members decided to hold another public hearing Aug. 2 to solicit ideas from the community and business people who may be affected by the ordinance.

“We need to have the ability to get cigarettes away from children,” said Councilman Bruce A. Broadwater, who supports the ordinance. He said vending machines offer unrestricted access to teen-agers who often become addicted to cigarettes.


“I picked it up as a young man and it took me 15 years to get rid of it,” Broadwater said.

But Mayor Frank Kessler said the ordinance is another intrusion into the privacy of citizens.

“I’m getting a little tired of government sticking its nose in everything on the basis it’s good for my health,” said Kessler, who smokes. “I want big government to get out of my life.”

Councilman Mark Leyes suggested a less-restrictive ordinance that would limit cigarette vending machines to bars and nightclubs.

“As long as tobacco use is legal, people have some rights,” Leyes said. He could support an ordinance prohibiting cigarette vending machines in public places easily accessible to children, he said.

Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and Laguna Beach have banned cigarette vending machines. In Santa Ana, they are allowed only in bars and nightclubs.

Steve Traktman, executive director of the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, said that the city should not impose a total ban on cigarette machines, but allow them “where alcohol is exclusively sold. People who drink (alcohol) smoke.”


City Atty. John Shaw said the city can ban cigarette machines, citing a 1993 court ruling upholding an ordinance passed by the city of Rancho Mirage.

But Shaw said the Westminster ordinance could become useless if a state initiative sponsored by the tobacco industry passes in the November ballot. The initiative would eliminate the power of local governments to regulate the sale of tobacco products.