California Tobacco Laws that Reduce ETS Exposure
California has been referred to as "America's Non-Smoking Section."
This reputation came about when California became the first state in the country to ban smoking in nearly every
workplace; effectively banning smoking in indoor public spaces. California's workplace smoking prohibition was
enacted by AB 13 and became law in 1995
Code 6404.5). Restaurants were included in the ban, and bars,
taverns, and gaming clubs were phased in by 1998. The law covers all "enclosed" places of employment,
therefore, patio or outdoor dining facilities may allow smoking. While California's law is one of the most restrictive
in the nation, a number of exemptions are allowed (see below). Many local jurisdications, both county and state,
have closed the exemptions through the enactment of local ordinances. In addition, gaming facilities not under
the jurisdiction of the State (tribal casinos) are not required
to comply, although many have chosen to do so voluntarily for the health of their employees and patrons.
Nearly a decade earlier (1988), California citizens voted in Proposition 99, the California Tobacco Health Protection Act. Proposition 99 increased the cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack and funded one of the most successful statewide tobacco control programs in the nation. The California Department of Health Services' Tobacco Control Section administers tobacco control programs in the State (smoking cessation, youth access regulations, etc.) through local lead agencies, usually municipal health departments.Nearly a decade earlier (1986), California banned smoking at all public school facilities, and prohibited smoking at licensed day care centers (1993). Smoking was also banned within 25 feet of outdoor playgrounds and sand boxes in 2003; smoking within 20 feet of the entryways and windows of public buildings has been prohibited since 2004. Some communities have enacted even stricter smoking bans: the city of Solana Beach banned smoking on its public beaches this year, becoming the first city to do so in the country. In addition, Pasadena has banned smoking at all public parks and golf courses.
In accordance with AB 1807, ETS was identified as a Toxic Air Contaminant on January 26, 2006. California then placed ETS on the Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity. New actions to reduce public exposure to ETS are being taken as a result of these new declarations and findings. The City of Calabasas banned smoking in all outdoor areas aside from designated "smoking outposts," and, the Dublin City Council passed a resolution declaring ETS a public nuisance. Taking into consideration a high concentration of elderly residents in nursing homes, the City of Belmont is considering a similar action. In addition, proposals for restricting smoking in parks and beaches, outdoor areas, hospitals, college campuses, and multi-unit housing facilities are currently being debated throughout the state. Solana Beach, San Diego, Orange County, and Monterey have instituted smoking bans on some of their public beaches.
Despite these recent efforts, ETS exposure is still a problem in California. Millions of Californians smoke, and millions are still exposed. This is particularly true in private residential environments and private cars.
Contact us if you have any questions regarding ARB's ETS program, or have suggestions or comments on this page.
Rober Krieger: (916) 323-1202