Santa Cruz smokers will soon find it harder to legally light up in popular areas of town. The Santa Cruz City Council voted Tuesday to prohibit smoking on Pacific Avenue, Beach Street, and West Cliff Drive. The new ban also makes it illegal to smoke within 25 feet of public entrances and within all outdoor dining areas. City property, including the Municipal Wharf and all city parks, will be smoke-free as well. Police will give warnings for the first month of the ban, which takes effect on Oct. 20, and will issue citations after that.
The smoking ban, which council members unanimously supported, was prompted in part by a 2008 report by the American Lung Association of California that gave Santa Cruz a “D” for underwhelming efforts to curb public second-hand smoke. The council also voted to increase the percentage of nonsmoking hotel rooms in Santa Cruz from 75 to 90 percent, and they will consider a new tax on the city’s cigarettes sales at a future meeting.