Tobacco Control Laws
Tobacco use is governed by local, state and federal laws. Tobacco-related laws are categorized by the following three topics:
These laws regulate where tobacco can be smoked or used. California law provides a minimum standard for the locations that are regulated and local municipalities may enact stricter ordinances.
Sales & Distribution of Tobacco Products
The laws governing the sale of tobacco products are primarily the domain of the state, though local jurisdictions can regulate the placement of these products, further restrict distribution and promotion sites, and also may require licensing of tobacco retailers.
Restrictions on advertising have been limited due to first amendment protections; however, some laws are in place. (TV/radio, storefronts, billboards, transit advertising, youth targeting, etc)
California State Laws
How do smoking and tobacco laws in California cities and counties compare to one another? This table shows the 84 cities and counties in California with comprehensive ordinances
Secondhand Smoke Workplaces (LC §6404.5)
California’s Smoke-free Workplace Act regulates smoking in enclosed places of employment, requiring such places to be 100% smoke-free, with few exceptions.
State, County, and City Buildings (CGC §7596-7598)
Smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of a main exit, entrance or operable window of a public building (i.e. government building). This includes college and university campuses.
As of January 2012, AB 795 takes affect, allowing local campuses to establish and collect fines for violation of this and stricter campus policies.
Tot Lots & Playgrounds (CH&SC §104495)
Smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of a public playground or tot lot, as is disposal of tobacco-related waste.
Schools (CH&SC §104420)
Local education agencies must prohibit tobacco use on district owned and leased, properties and vehicles. This policy must be certified to enable eligibility for many funding opportunities.
Smoking in Vehicles with Children (CH&SC §118947-118949)
It is illegal to smoke or possess a lit tobacco product in any motor vehicle iin which a person under age 18 is present, whether the vehicle is moving or not.
Sales & Distribution of Tobacco Products
Sales to Minors (PC308a & STAKE Act)
It is against the law to give or sell tobacco or tobacco paraphernalia to a minor.
ID Check Requirement(s) (STAKE Act)
- Retailers must check the ID of tobacco purchasers who appear to be under 18 years of age.
- Federal law (FDA) now requires that ID must be checked for anyone who appears to be under 27 years of age.
- Every store that sells tobacco must post a sign at each point of purchase saying that tobacco products may not be sold to minors. (PC308c & STAKE Act)
- No more than 1/3 of the windows and clear doors of alcohol retailers with off-sale premises licenses (the ability to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises) may have advertising signs of any sort, including tobacco. (B&PC §25612.5c7)
- State law requires “No Smoking” signs at each entrance to all businesses. (LC §6404.5)
Self-Service Sales (Stake Act)
It is against the law to sell tobacco products or paraphernalia through a self-service display (i.e., one that is accessible to the public without the assistance of the clerk).
It is against the law to sell, distribute, or import bidis (hand-rolled filter-less cigarettes wrapped in tendu or temburni leaf).
Single Cigarettes (PC308.2)
It is against the law to sell single cigarettes.
Minimum Pack Size (PC308.3)
It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or sell cigarettes in packages of fewer than 20 cigarettes.
Vending Machine (STAKE Act)
Tobacco products cannot be sold from vending machines except those located in a bar and at least 15 feet from any entrance.
Tobacco Retailer License (CA B&PC §22971.3, 22972-22973.1, 22980.2)
Tobacco retailers must be licensed by the State Board of Equalization. This law focuses on protecting state revenue by targeting tax evasion.
Laws in Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County Laws
These laws apply to the unincorporated areas which are those communities not governed by any city, such as: Summerland, Isla Vista, Santa Ynez, Orcutt, Vandenberg Village, New Cuyama, etc.) Here is a link to Santa Barbara County's Secondhand Smoke Law and a table showing all of the outdoor secondhand smoke laws in the county.
Places of Employment
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed buildings, and vehicles, owned, leased, or operated by the County. Specifics of the law vary by department.
Business Entryways: There is no smoking within 20 feet of a building where smoking is prohibited.
Outdoor Dining Areas:
- Restaurants and Restaurant/Bar Combinations —75% of outdoor seating must be smoke-free, signed and the furthest for doors and windows
- Bars—Smoking allowed on 100% of the outdoor patio.
Other Outdoor Public Places: Service lines, taxi/bus shelters, polling places, and sporting arenas are smoke-free.
Parks, Beaches, and Trails: It is illegal to smoke or use any type of tobacco at Santa Barbara County’s parks, beaches, and trails, with the exception of Cachuma Lake & Jalama Beach.
Sales & Distribution Laws
Vending Machines: Tobacco products cannot be sold from vending machines, except those located in a bar and at least 25 feet away from any entrance.
Tobacco Retailer Licensing: All tobacco retailers must obtain and pay an annual license fee to sell tobacco. There are strong penalties for selling tobacco to minors. No new tobacco retailing allowed within 1,000 feet of any school.
City of Carpinteria
Smoking is prohibited in all public places in the City where other persons can be exposed to secondhand smoke. There are limited locations where smoking is permitted. The City’s website contains detailed information, in both English and Spanish. A copy of Carpinteria's secondhand smoke and tobacco retail licensing laws can be found here.
City of Santa Barbara
Laws in the City of Santa Barbara are identical to those in the County of Santa Barbara except in outdoor dining areas (75% of outdoor dining seating areas are smoke-free except after 10 pm at restaurant/bar combinations) and recreational areas (such as parks, beaches, trails, etc.)
Tobacco Retailer Licensing: All tobacco retailers must obtain and pay an annual license fee to sell tobacco. To see the differences between the City (2001) and County (2010) law, click on this link to the fact sheet.
City of Buellton
Buellton Secondhand Smoke Laws
Sales and Distribution Laws
A temporary law bans any new significant tobacco retailer (having more than 25% of floor space dedicated to tobacco), which expires in 2013.
City of Goleta
Secondhand Smoke Laws
Tobacco Retail Licensing
The following cities do not have any local tobacco related laws; hence they are only governed by the state & federal tobacco laws:
Lompoc Santa Maria
For additional questions or concerns about tobacco-related issues in Santa Barbara County email or call 805-681-5407 or 805-346-7275.