OCEANSIDE — North County Transit District board of directors voted unanimously Oct. 16 to ban smoking in all transit centers, vehicles and bus stops, making all of San Diego County’s transit systems smoke-free. The San Diego Metropolitan Transportation System adopted a similar smoking ban in May of this year and the NCTD ordinance is the first ordinance ever adopted by the NCTD.
NCTD’s smoking ban will take effect at the end of November and will include all transit centers, vehicles and bus stops.
Staff members of Vista Community Clinic’s Tobacco Control Program, the North Coastal Prevention Youth Coalition and San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth worked on a public opinion poll of transit patrons during the months of August and September. The results of the poll revealed that 78 percent were bothered by litter, 73 percent were bothered by secondhand smoke and 69 percent were in favor of a no smoking policy at all NCTD stations and stops.
“With high gas prices and economic uncertainty, more and more people are turning to public transportation” Gena Knutson, program manager with Vista Community Clinic’s Tobacco Control Program said. “And with a nonsmoking rate of 86 percent in the state of California, it makes sense to prohibit smoking at the NCTD.
Americans toss 175 million pounds of cigarette butts every year. Toxic chemicals in these butts pollute the land and can be ingested by young children.
“I am thrilled that North County Transit District has taken this step to protect their passengers,” Judi Strang, of the San Dieguito Alliance, said.