Laguna Beach Saves Lives by Banning Smoking

Jamin Schwerner, Reporter

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Every school year, at different points, our students start to notice the appearance of anti-smoking posters around the school. PALS, Melinda Hawkins’ student organization, is responsible for these signs. For an entire week every year, PALS works to end smoking in our schools.

“We have made t-shirts, visited lower grade schools, and had water bottles made,” said Hawkins.

As well as this, PALS has made videos and given away donuts to motivate students to stay smoking free.

While cigarettes and marijuana are primarily targeted, new types of smoking are also touched upon.

“There is a huge push to educate that e cigs and vaping are not ‘safe/healthy’ alternatives,” said Hawkins.

E cigs are battery operated devices that burn nicotine and other chemicals. The liquids are turned into vapor and inhaled by the smoker. According to, 16% of high school students in 2015 said that they used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days, showing the prevalence of these new types of smoking.

However, the school’s money is not responsible for PALS’ anti-smoking programs.

“There is a grant in place through the county and we are encouraged to use the funds to create activities and awareness,” said Hawkins.

As it turns out, our school’s campaigns have foreshadowed a city-wide smoking ban. Surprisingly, this ban was sparked by one individual issue. One Arch Beach father had a son suffering from constant asthma attacks because of a heartless neighbor who would not stop smoking.

On January 24, Laguna Beach officials voted unanimously to pursue this ban. As shown by a 75% agreement from Laguna Beach citizens, a smoking ban was desired. Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd backed this idea but understood the challenge of enforcing it.

“We have so many European, Asian and out-of-town visitors, they don’t know the rules,” said Boyd.

This ban will expand on the already situated smoking bans in beaches, parks, parking lots, and restaurants. Having placed these first smoking bans in 1985, they have expanded several times since. However, this new ban is a universal one.

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Laguna Beach Saves Lives by Banning Smoking