San Marcos smoking ban now in effect

Editor-in-Chief

Smoking on city-owned or leased property has been stamped out by a city ordinance effective today.

The ordinance prohibits smoking tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other inhaled vapor devices inside all city facilities, as well as outdoors at city parks, athletic facilities and grounds. The ban, which was adopted by city councilmembers in October, will also ban smoking in public places and places of employment effective June 1.

The “public places” defined in the ordinance include banks, bars, restaurants, bingo halls, indoor music venues, convention facilities, schools, health care facilities, retail stores, theaters, malls, sports arenas, waiting rooms and workplaces.

Properties with permits to build outdoor smoking areas will have until Jan. 1, 2015 to go smoke-free, according to a press release from the City of San Marcos.

According to a Nov. 20 University Star story, the ordinance was unanimously amended by city councilmembers Nov. 19 to exempt vape shops. The ordinance also exempts retail tobacco stores and designated outdoor areas of bars and restaurants.

Violating the ordinance is a class C misdemeanor and carries a fine not to exceed $200 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $2,000 for subsequent violations, according to the press release.

“This is a public health issue,” said Mayor Daniel Guerrero in the press release. “I’m proud that our city has taken this significant step to protect our residents from the harm that smoking – and breathing second-hand smoke – causes.”