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Contra Costa's Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance


In 2006, the Contra Costa County Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance for all of the unincorporated areas of the county was adopted by the County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors continues to strengthen this ordinance as new evidence demonstrates that additional protections are needed. This law was passed based on scientific studies from CAL-EPA (California Environmental Protection Agency, 2006) and the Surgeon General's Reports (2006 and 2010) that clearly show that secondhand smoke is a health risk.


Smoking (including the use of a hookah pipe, medical marijuana or electronic smoking device such as an e-cigarette) is prohibited in the following outdoor areas:
  • All areas within 20 feet of the doors, operable windows, air ducts and ventilation systems of any enclosed worksite or enclosed places open to the public, except while passing on the way to another destination;
  • In outdoor dining areas at bars and restaurants (including outdoor dining areas at places of employment and in outdoor lounges);
  • On public trails and in public parks;
  • In service areas. (Service area means an area used to receive or wait for a service, enter a public place or make a transaction, including ATM's, bank teller windows, ticket lines, bus stops and taxi stands);
  • In public event venues (such as stadiums, fairs, pavilions, farmers markets); and
  • On the campus of all County-owned or leased properties.

In Multi-Unit Housing Residences, smoking is prohibited:
  • In common indoor and outdoor areas of multi-unit housing residences of 4 or more unit; and
  • On all balconies, patios, decks and carports for existing and new multi-unit housing.
  • All areas within 20 feet of doors, windows, air ducts and ventilation systems of multi-unit housing residences, except while walking from one destination to another.
  • In 100% of all dwelling units of multi-unit housing residences that receive a building permit after January 1, 2011.

Landlord Responsibilities:
   Under the law, the Owner and Manager of a multi-unit housing building must:
  • Post "No smoking" signs with letters of not less than one inch in height, or the international "No Smoking" symbol (consisting of a burning cigarette in a red circle with a red bar across it). The sign must be visibly posted in every building or other place where smoking is prohibited by law;
  • Not allow ashtrays or other receptacles for disposing of smoking material where smoking is prohibited; and
  • Not knowingly allow smoking in smoking prohibited areas.
  • Comply with lease/rental agreement requirements outlined in the next section.

   Under the law, the Owner and Manager of a multi-unit housing building must:
  • Maintain and keep on file at the premises: (1) a list of all designated nonsmoking units at the residence; (2) a floor plan of the residence that identifies the location of all designated non-smoking units, any units where smoking is permitted and any designated outdoor smoking areas; and
  • With every new lease or rental agreement for the occupancy of a unit in a multi-unit residence, include:
    • a copy of the list;
    • a copy of the floor plan;
    • information indicating whether a policy for handling smoking complaints is in effect at the multi-unit residence, and if so, the terms of the policy; and
    • a clause stating it is a material breach of the lease to smoke in a non-smoking unit or in any indoor or outdoor common area where smoking is prohibited.*

Landlords may designate a common outdoor area of a multi-unit housing residence as a smoking area. For details contact Tobacco Prevention Project at 888-877-4202.

*The California Apartment Association's form 34.0 may be used.

Smoking is also prohibited:
  • In any indoor workplace or indoor area open to the public, including tobacco shops, owner or volunteer operated businesses and hotel lobbies.

Smoking is permitted:
  • In any location within the county unless otherwise prohibited by local, state or federal law; and
  • In up to 20 percent of guests room in any hotel, unless the hotel has designated the entire hotel smoke-free.

Compliance Information

In every building or other place where smoking is prohibited by law, the owner, operator or manager must:

  • Post "No smoking" signs with letters of not less than one inch in height, or the use of the international "No Smoking" symbol (consisting of a burning cigarette in a red circle with a red bar across it), must be visibly posted in every building or other place where smoking is regulated by the owner, operator, manager.
  • Not allow ashtrays or other receptacles for disposing of smoking material where smoking is prohibited.
  • Not knowingly allow smoking in smoking prohibited areas. The owner, operator or manager must request that the person stop smoking and if the person fails to stop, ask them to leave the premises.

Posting Signage Is Required By The Law

Research shows that 80% of all smokers would like to quit and that smoke-free public places provide a more supportive environment. Information about cessation programs (to quit smoking) are available by calling the California Smoker's Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS or visit www.californiasmokershelpline.org

Below are links to Contra Costa County Secondhand Smoke Protection Ordinance Signs for business owners, landlords and the general public to download:

  1. "No smoking" sign (11" X 8.5")
  2. "No smoking" sign (7" X 5")
  3. "No fumar" sign (11" X 8.5")
  4. "No smoking within 20 feet" sign (11" X 8.5")
  5. "No smoking within 20 feet" sign (5" X 7")
  6. "No Smoking within 20 feet" - Spanish sign (11" X 8.5")
  7. "No Smoking within 20 feet" - Spanish sign (5" X 7")
  8. "No Smoking" sign (expanded language) (11" X 8.5")
  9. "No smoking" sign (expanded language) (7" X 5")

While supplies last, signage is available through the Tobacco Prevention Project.


If you are concerned about tobacco influences in your community including drifting smoke in outdoor areas, Multi-unit housing and workplaces or tobacco sales to minors, call 925-313-6214 or email tobaccopreventionproject@hsd.cccounty.us