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GARDEN GROVE : Cigarette Vendor Ban Lacks Support

A proposal to ban cigarette vending machines has failed to gain support from the City Council.

Without taking a vote, the council on Tuesday effectively killed the proposal that would have required all cigarette vending machines in the city to be removed in 90 days.

“It was a good move, but obviously I don’t have the votes,” said Councilman Bruce A. Broadwater, who acknowledged his defeat by not asking for a vote following the half-hour discussion by council members and public comments.

Broadwater said that a ban on cigarette vending machines, which several Orange County cities have adopted, would make it more difficult for teen-agers to buy cigarettes and discourage them from smoking.

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But a majority in the council said that prohibiting the sale of cigarettes from vending machines will not deter young people from smoking because they will find other ways to obtain cigarettes.

A ban would also hurt local businesses still reeling from the recession, and it would be another intrusion into the private lives of people and an attempt to legislate morality, they said.

“We’ll be saying, ‘We know smoking is not good for you, so we’ll take cigarettes away from you,’ ” Mayor Frank Kessler said. “There are more important issues for us to be more concerned about.”

He said the ban would be hard to enforce and that the city does not have enough code enforcement officials and police officers to go after violators.

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Councilman Mark Leyes said that bars, nightclubs and other businesses that have mostly adult customers should be allowed to operate cigarette vending machines.

Councilman Ho Chung said the ban would be bad for business, and Councilman Robert F. Dinsen said it would not stop anyone from smoking.

“They are more concerned about business and taxes than the health of our youth and our community,” resident Colleen Chapman said. She attended the council meeting with her son, Jonathan, a senior at Bolsa Grande High School, who also pushed for the adoption of a ban on cigarette vending machines.


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