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Laguna Beach to revisit banning sales of tobacco and vape products

Brian Jung, 19, does vaping using an electronic cigarette at Aqua Vape in August 2013 in Temple City.
Brian Jung, 19, does vaping using an electronic cigarette at Aqua Vape in August 2013 in Temple City.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The Laguna Beach City Council will revisit the conversation pertaining to a ban on the sale of tobacco and vaping products in the city when it meets on Tuesday.

Councilman George Weiss has brought an agenda bill that will lead to a discussion about the possibility of such a prohibition.

The council will be considering whether to have city staff bring an ordinance prohibiting the sale of those products in Laguna Beach and to provide an analysis of the potential impact.

Laguna Beach has looked at similar restrictions in the past. Smoking and vaping are already illegal in all public areas within the city limits, but the council looked at expanding those restrictions to include a stoppage in sales two years ago.

According to reporting by the Daily Pilot, the council was particularly concerned with the usage of flavored tobacco and vaping by school-aged children.

Weiss said that preventing the habit before it starts for Laguna Beach’s next generation is also a primary concern for him, but he brought up several points, including fire safety and environmental impact.

“I think the environmental side of this, now that we’ve removed plastics from the equation, for the most part, it’s time to move to something that is also an environmental issue,” Weiss said.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she was glad that Weiss brought the subject back to council, and she expressed optimism that now might be a time for action.

“Support on the council is one thing, and implementation is another,” Iseman said in a phone interview on Saturday. “I think it’s a time when we might be more willing to do something about it, to actually follow through.”

Iseman appears to have had a change of heart since the council considered banning e-cigarettes in 2013.

“I remember that night going over to the Lumberyard, and there was somebody sitting at the bar vaping, and I watched it, and we were clueless as to exactly what we were doing,” Iseman added. “This was before it was kind of evident of how bad it is.”

Weiss’ agenda bill cites decreases in the likelihood that teens begin smoking or vaping and in the impact of secondhand smoke on the public as benefits of bringing a prohibition ordinance.

It also makes the claims that there would be less cigarette butts found in the community and contribute to efforts to lower fire risks.

The hybrid format remains in effect for council meetings in Laguna Beach. Members of the public who wish to address the council in person may enter council chambers to speak and then exit immediately.

The regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, can also be viewed on Cox cable channel 852 or on Zoom at lagunabeachcity.zoom.us/j/91641723096.

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