San Mateo police say e-cigarettes are becoming the gateway to teen smoking.

E-cigs, medical marijuana added to San Mateo smoke ordinance

San Mateo police alerted the public on Monday that an ordinance meant to curb secondhand smoke exposure from cigarettes has been updated to include e-cigarettes and medical marijuana as well.

San Mateo’s City Council established the ordinance update, which went into effect on Nov. 5, to protect the public from being exposed to “unwanted second-hand smoke in public places,” police said.

That means smoking both traditional tobacco products and the added categories of smoking is now prohibited inside any multi-unit residence, within 40 feet of those residences or in any enclosed or unenclosed common area of the residences, police said.

Under the ordinance “public service areas” where smoking is prohibited are defined as any place residents might have to wait, like bus stops, train stations, ATMs or movie theater ticket lines. The ordinance also prohibits smoking in and around city buildings, parks and other unenclosed public spaces.

Police said the move responds to information that indicates e-cigarettes “are not a safer alternative to cigarettes, and are a gateway to teen smoking.”

In addition to protecting health, the public smoking restrictions are meant to prevent cigarette butts from entering the city’s stormwater system and flowing to the Bay. A smoking ban for boaters using Marina Lagoon was included in the new rules.­

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