Smoke-free outdoor dining, please

North County Times, Letter to the Editor – December 8, 2011

I agree with Jack Erickson’s letter, “Baffledby California’s smoking regulations,” Dec. 2.Here in coastal North County, the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas all have policies prohibiting smoking in their restaurants’ outdoor dining areas.

But as Mr. Erickson unfortunately experienced in the city of Carlsbad at an outdoor dining area, smokers are free to ruin your dining experience and damage your health with deadly secondhand smoke.

We all agree that smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke poses serious health risks and contributes to heart disease and lung cancer. Even restaurant owners agree with smoke-free policies, according to Tim Zagat, CEO and co-founder of the famed Zagat Survey. “There are very few issues of taste about which people of all ages, genders and geographic regions can agree. That’s why it catches (our) attention when an issue garners the overwhelming support of the public. And it is clear from our surveys that the vast majority of Americans prefer their restaurants, bars and clubs to be smokefree.”

It’s time the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside realize that smoke-free outdoor dining has arrived with universal support. What an easy and wonderful opportunity for city officials in Carlsbad and Oceanside to protect the health and welfare of their citizens and visitors.