California Smoking Laws

California smoking laws have been in place for quite a while, and have been under the consistent scrutiny of non-smoking enthusiasts, grass roots campaigns, environmentalists, legislators and others. The California Indoor Clean Air Act of 1976 was implemented to control the level of secondhand smoke inhaled by non-smokers in public places. California legislators believe that non-smokers are not equipped with measures to protect themselves from being exposed to secondhand smoke. The laws in California have changed over time, with new, updated enforcements as well as setbacks in the fight against secondhand smoke.  California smoking laws are one of the more stringent states with public smoking laws.

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california smoking laws

Section 5148 of California’s Clean Air Act defines the workplace prohibition of smoking and subsequent rules and regulations. This section prohibits any smoking in enclosed workspaces, the requirement that signs be posted stating that smoking is prohibited, etc. Smoking is prohibited in any part of the structure and building that is enclosed. Publicly owned buildings are required to maintain a certain percentage of space as designated specifically for smoking. California smoking laws state that healthcare facilities must make reasonable accommodation for patients who smoke and most not allow their smoking to affect non-smoking patients. Restaurants accommodating more than fifty people must prohibit smoking in no less than twenty percent of the dining room and bar area.

California Smoking Laws For Public Places

In 1988 California governor Deukmejian passed Senate Bill 1067 which finally prohibited smoking on public transportation in California including airplanes, buses, trains, etc. In 1990, San Luis Obispo California adopted a smoke free bar and restaurant policy, making them the first city in the world to do so. Over time, many other cities and states would follow suit. 1994 brought about Assembly Bill 291 which prohibits smoking in all California state buildings. This was monumental as there were 20,000 buildings at the time. This year also brought about the Assembly Bill 615 prohibiting smoking in all child care facilities including residences used for that purpose.

1995 brought about Assembly Bill 816 prohibiting smoking on all California school campuses. This year also brought about Assembly Bill 13 which prohibits smoking in all public workplaces, buildings, restaurants, etc. 1998 saw a huge victory in California’s continuing goal of being smoke free. California became the first state in the United States requiring bars and clubs to prohibit smoking indoors. 2000 brought about Kaiser Permanente prohibiting smoking on all of its medical campuses in Southern California. Since 2000 other small victories have helped continue the battle against smoking in California.
The battle for a smoke free California has been a long one. To help ensure that the California smoking laws are abided by, legislation has passed laws to help enforce the rules and regulations set forth. The Assembly Bill passed in 1995 prohibiting smoking in the workplace came with strict fines and penalties for violators. The first violation is a $100 fine; the second a $200 fine; and the third a $500 fine. After three violations, the state and OSHA can investigate complaints to determine the level of severity. Employees may be fined up to $7,000 for general or serious violations, and up to $70,000 for willful serious violations. Steep fines for a steep risk, secondhand smoke can cause serious complications to those with asthma and other conditions.   The bottom line is that California smoking laws are here to stay, and may get more stringent.