A Breath of Fresh Air: Hermosa's Healthy Air Campaign
Hermosa Beach city leaders introduced the Healthy Air Hermonsa public education campaign Monday, pushing a smoke-free ordinance that takes effect March 1 and will ban smoking in public outdoor gathering spots, from piers to parks.
Hermosa Beach Mayor Howard Fishman, who launched the campaign, is proud to make the protection of public health and safety a top priority for his city. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness regarding the city's new smoke-free law.
Areas that will be effected by the ban include Hermosa city parks, the pier and the well-known "Strand" area lining the beach.
"It's kind of a mixed bag," Hermosa Beach resident Johnny Carnevale said. "People are going to be angry about it, but it's good for families and children that don't want to get hit with secondhand smoke."
The ordinance also outlaws smoking in the outdoor dining areas of restaurants and bars. It includes fines ranging from 100 to 500 dollars for smoking in the off-limits areas.
"Though California has some of the strictest laws in the nation regarding tobacco control, state law falls short when it comes to protecting the public from secondhand smoke in outdoor public gathering area," Mayor Pro Tempore Jeff Duclos said. "It has been left to cities to address this issue and to take necessary steps to more fully protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents and visitors from the well documented harms of second and third hand smoke."
Hermosa Beach's law is patterned after similar no smoking ordinances in cities such as Santa Monica and Calabasas. Howeve, not everyone thinks it's such a great idea.
"All these porches are built for cigarette smokers because they don't allow smoking inside these bars and restaurants," smoker Sean Sterrett said. "They'll go somewhere else as soon as the word spreads around. We'll go to Manhattan insteas. It makes the bars lose money."
Nearly 87 percent of Californians are non-smokers, according to Duclos. The health benefits of the new law are not as controversial.
Doctor Lisa Santora, of Beach Cities Health District, says cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in our country. Smoking is the number one cause of cardiovascular disease in our country, she adds.
"And this is another step just to reducing the prevalence of smoking in our community," Santora encouraged.