Should you find yourself in Carmel, Calif. and wanting a smoke, you’d better make sure you’re in a car, private home or one of the handful of hotel rooms that allow smoking before you light up. If you’re not, you’ll soon be breaking the law.
On Tuesday night, the Carmel City Council gave its initial approval to one of the most sweeping smoking bans in the state, effectively banning smoking in the coastal city of nearly 4,000 residents. In addition to traditional smoked tobacco, the use of electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are also banned in public.
While the council sent the proposal back to city staff to revise language regarding signage and trash receptacles, it is still expected to pass when it returns to the council in the near future. The vote to revise the ordinance passed 4-0, with one council member absent.
While City Attorney Don Freeman said that this is more of an educational campaign than a citation-issuing witch hunt on smokers, the Monterey Herald described the ban’s passing as coming with less than welcoming tones towards smokers. During the meeting, Barbara Livingston of the Carmel Residents Association said that since most people wouldn’t welcome a smoker into their home, “why should we welcome them into our town?”
The law will go into effect 30 days after its passage.
Update (Oct. 8, 2015) — The council did not formally approve the ban as originally reported but instead sent it back to city staff to make slight revisions regarding signage and cigarette receptacles. We regret the error.