By Daniel Ritz

In their meeting on Jan. 16, City Council passed a no smoking in public places ordinance, making Dana Point the second city in Orange County to ban smoking.

The ban narrowly passed, with Mayor Rick Viczorek and Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Muller opposing the ban.

Originally presenting the ban in May of 2017, Council member Debra Lewis was happy to see the ban pass.

“We can all breathe a little easier now. Dana Point residents care about clean beaches, clean water and now clean air. We were among the first cities to ban plastic bag and styrofoam usage. Now, we lead the way in clean air,” Lewis said.

Mayor Pro Tem Muller voiced concerns over the impact to Dana Point’s major resorts, stating emphatically that he was “shocked” that the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce had not participated more in researching this ban which could have potential impacts to Dana Point’s largest businesses and revenue sources.

Surfrider Foundation South Orange County Chairman Rick Erkeneff brought a large water bottle filled with more than 800 cigarette butts he found during part of a Surfrider Foundation Urban Clean-Up event on Jan. 13. in which they collected more than 3,000 cigarette butts from the Lantern District.

“When you don’t have a clean environment, you’ll see the tourism dollars stop,” Erkeneff said.

The smoking ban is stated to go into effect in 30 days. To read the full ordinance, visit www.danapoint.org.

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