Thumbnail for 537590

How California’s smoking bans are broadening

By in Press Enterprise on February 12, 2018

By Kurt Snibbe

It’s been 20 years since California became the first state to ban smoking in bars and other public places. Today, California cities are still leading the way in many anti-smoking campaigns, including smoking bans on sidewalks.

Smoke-free sidewalks

Statewide efforts: Last April, the California excise tax on cigarettes increased $2, and in January the California Air Resources Board declared cigarette smoke a toxic pollutant. State-level policy changes have helped California’s rate for lung cancer (1988-2002) to decline four times faster than the rest of the nation.

In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have banned smoking in all state parks and beaches.

Citywide efforts: Now, cities across California are going beyond state law to ban smoking on sidewalks and anywhere people can be exposed to second-hand smoke. In 2003, Solana Beach became the first city in the continental U.S. to ban smoking at the beach. Many other beach cities followed, banning butts.

RELATED: Laguna Beach makes citywide smoking ban official, a first in Orange County

In addition to other smoking bans, these cities have forbidden smoking on sidewalks. Penalties vary, but fines could be $100 for a first offense.


As of June 2016, e-cigarettes are now included in all of California’s state-level secondhand smoke laws. Cities that write separate policies will have to specify if the law applies to e-cigarettes.


According to California law, marijuana or marijuana products cannot be smoked in any public place or in any location where smoking or vaporizing tobacco is prohibited. Local laws regulating smoking may be stricter than state law.

Where the smokers are

States with fewest cigarette smokers

  • Utah: 8.8%
  • California: 11%
  • Connecticut: 13.3%
  • Source: CDC, 2016

    Percentage of smokers in California

    The percentage of smokers in California declined from 23.7 percent in 1988 to 11.6% in 2014.

    Cal smokers

    • Santa Clara: 9.9%
    • Alameda: 12.3%
    • Los Angeles: 12.2%
    • Orange: 11%
    • Riverside: 13%
    • San Bernardino: 12.3%
    • Sacramento: 16.9%
    • San Francisco: 10.1%


    Percentage of […]    

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *