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COSTA MESA : Council Will Study Banning Cigarette Vending Machines

October 21, 1994|TOM RAGAN

City Council members will study the pros and cons of banning cigarette vending machines at their next study session in November.

The Costa Mesa Substance Abuse Committee asked the council this week to consider drafting an ordinance that would ban the machines around town.

But council members decided it was too sensitive a subject to vote on immediately. Mayor Sandra L. Genis suggested that the matter be discussed in more detail at the study session.

"We need to do more to control (cigarette) access by kids," she said. "But an outright ban might be using the proverbial elephant gun on a problem that could be controlled with a BB gun."

Councilman Peter F. Buffa said he thought a ban on the machines in the city would prove 'too intrusive," particularly for small businesses.

"It's too much government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong," he said.

Councilman Joe Erickson said: "I don't smoke and I don't encourage children to smoke, but we have to look at whether we're over-regulating businesses. There are so many laws that already apply to businesses. The question is, is it parental responsibility (to stop children from smoking) or should we regulate it?"

In a report to the council, the Substance Abuse Committee said research in the last 10 years has shown that smoking tobacco is hazardous not only to the health of the smoker but to people exposed to secondhand smoke.

The proliferation of cigarettes, the committee concluded, is a form of substance abuse, and the banning of the machines should be seriously considered.

According to the committee's findings, Santa Ana prohibits tobacco vending machines, while Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine do not regulate them.

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