Cigarettes and Vapes go Up in Smoke in Irvine


William Hsieh

Many of these smoking bans stem from a concern with many hotel guests smoking in public areas. Because many guests are from foreign nations, and are used to smoking anywhere, the city council hopes that this ban will help hoteliers reinforce that they are not allowed to smoke in public.

Julia Kim, Opinion Editor

Irvine will implement a ban on smoking in all areas of Irvine except for single-unit private residence areas starting Dec. 12. Councilwoman Farrah Khan and Mayor Pro Tempore Anthony Kuo proposed the ordinance to the city council after Irvine received a rating of “F” from the American Lung Association early this year. The proposal emphasizes the need to ban smoking in streets, parking lots and bike paths. 

“This ordinance isn’t meant for the police to go out and police people; we’re really hoping that people will be self-regulating themselves when it comes to smoking,” Khan said in an interview with the Voice of OC. “We do have fines in place, but the goal isn’t to have police looking out for people, but educating the community.”

Irvine is the third city in Orange County to propose a ban, following Laguna Beach and Dana Point. Since 2004, California has banned smoking within 20 feet of any public building entrance, exit or window. 

“We have so many different rankings in the city, you know, with all these rankings, an F is certainly not good. So [Khan] worked with the city attorney to come up with roles and language that could work out,” Kuo said. “If you live in ‘multi-family residence,’ like an apartment or a condo or something, where you might be sharing a balcony, that is included in the ordinance.” 

The last update to smoking regulations was in 2007, which banned smoking in all areas of city parks, including the Great Park. 

“I don’t think a lot of people see second-hand smoke as a problem in Irvine, but if we received an ‘F’ rating, and [the council] sees the only option as implementing a city-wide ban, I don’t have much against it,” an Irvine Resident who asked to remain anonymous said. “The way I see it is that the better the air quality, the better our health.” 

However, there are residents who believe that a ban may be stretching the city’s powers. Especially for those living in multi-unit residences, the proposal would obstruct a resident’s choice to smoke, which interferes with their choice of living. 

“At the end of the day, I don’t think the government should ban people from smoking inside of an entire city,” passion civics teacher Daniel Hunter said. “If an apartment is rented out, then it’s the landlord’s responsibility to enforce a no smoking policy in that residence if he or she chooses to… Just like a lot of the Irvine company and other private retail locations and restaurants around the city have banned smoking, another solution could be through private companies banning.”