Chapter 6.04

*    Editor’s Note: Provisions originally in this chapter were adopted by Ord. 85-58 and were repealed by Ord. 94-32 § 1.


6.04.010    Title.

6.04.020    Findings.

6.04.030    Purpose of provisions.

6.04.040    Definitions.

6.04.050    Application of chapter to city facilities.

6.04.060    Prohibition of smoking in public places.

6.04.070    Retaliation against persons exercising rights under chapter provisions.

6.04.080    Where smoking not regulated.

6.04.090    Posting of signs.

6.04.100    Enforcement.

6.04.110    Violations and penalties.

6.04.120    Public education.

6.04.130    Other applicable laws.

6.04.010 TITLE.

This chapter shall be known as the “Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance.”

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).

6.04.020 FINDINGS.

The city council of the city of Santa Cruz finds that:

(1)    Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution and that breathing secondhand smoke is a cause of disease in nonsmokers; and

(2)    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a carcinogen for which there is no safe level of exposure. At special risk are children, elderly people, individuals with cardiovascular disease, and individuals with impaired respiratory function, including asthmatics and those with obstructive airway disease; and

(3)    Health hazards induced by breathing secondhand smoke include lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory infection, decreased respiratory function, bronchoconstriction, and bronchospasm; and

(4)    Cigarette butts are a pervasive form of litter in the city of Santa Cruz, on its streets and in its parks and beaches, and hence constitute a public nuisance as well as a health hazard. Cigarette butts also present a threat to wildlife. Cigarette filters have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures who mistake them for food. Composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, cigarette butts can persist in the environment as long as other forms of plastic. According to Save Our Shores, a nonprofit marine conservation organization based in Santa Cruz, the single most common form of marine debris is cigarette filters and butts; and

(5)    Careless smoking is estimated to be the number one cause of fire related death and injury in the nation. While the majority of these cases involve indoor smoking and careless extinguishing of smoking materials, many of these fires are also the result of littered cigarettes, whether tossed out of a car or thrown on the ground by pedestrians and bystanders.

(Ord. 2009-23 § 1, 2009: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


The city council of the city of Santa Cruz declares that the purposes of the ordinance codified in this chapter are:

(1)    To protect the public health, safety and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment; and

(2)    To guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


The following words and phrases, whenever used in this chapter, shall be construed as defined in this section:

(a)    “Bar” means an enclosed and separately ventilated area which is devoted to the service of alcoholic beverages for consumption by guests on the premises and in which the service of food is only incidental to the consumption of such beverages. Although a restaurant may contain a bar, the term “bar” shall not include the restaurant dining area. A “bar,” for the purpose of this definition, does not include any establishment where tobacco smoke can filter into a restaurant through a passageway or any other means.

(b)    “Business” means any sole proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, corporation or other business entity formed for profit-making purposes, including retail establishments where goods or services are sold as well as professional corporations and other entities where legal, medical, dental, engineering, architectural or other professional services are delivered.

(c)    “City health officer” means the director of the county health department or her or his designee, serving as the city’s health officer pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 476, Section 901 of the Santa Cruz City Charter, and Chapter 6.80.

(d)    “E-cigarette” means any electronically or battery-operated device, often shaped like a cigarette, containing a nicotine-based liquid, sometimes flavored, that is vaporized and inhaled, and which is used to simulate the experience of smoking tobacco or other combustible substances.

(e)    “Employee” means any person who is employed by any employer in consideration for direct or indirect monetary wages or profit, and any person who volunteers his or her services to a nonprofit entity.

(f)    “Employer” means any person, partnership, corporation, public agency, or nonprofit entity, which employs the services of one or more individual persons.

(g)    “Employment” shall be defined as in Labor Code Section 6303(b).

(h)    “Enclosed area” means all space between a floor and ceiling which is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows (exclusive of doors or passageways) and which extends from the floor to the ceiling, including all space therein screened by partitions which do not extend to the ceiling or are not solid, “office landscaping” or similar structures.

(i)    “Place of employment” means any enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer which employees normally frequent during the course of employment, including, but not limited to, work areas, employee lounges and rest rooms, conference rooms and classrooms, employee cafeterias and hallways. A private residence is not a place of employment unless it is used as a child care, health care, board and care, or community foster care facility.

(j)    “Public place” means any enclosed area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted, including but not limited to banks, educational facilities, places of employment, health facilities, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail service establishments, retail stores, theaters and waiting rooms. A private residence is not a public place.

(k)    “Restaurant” means any coffee shop, cafeteria, sandwich stand, private or public school cafeteria, and any other eating establishment which gives or offers for sale food to the public, guests or employees; any kitchen in which food is prepared on the premises for serving elsewhere, including catering facilities. The term “restaurant” shall not include a cocktail lounge or tavern if said cocktail lounge or tavern is a “bar” as defined in subsection (a).

(l)    “Retail tobacco store” means a retail store where the majority of its sales are from tobacco products and smoking accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental.

(m)    “Service line” or “service area” means any indoor or outdoor line or area at which one or more persons are waiting for or receiving services or entertainment of any kind, whether or not such service or entertainment involves the exchange of money. Service area includes any outdoor dining area or cafe unless a smoking area is established in a portion of said outdoor dining area or cafe which is separated from the nonsmoking area by a solid partition no lower than eight feet in height.

(n)    “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or operating cigar, cigarette, e-cigarette, weed, plant or other combustible or vaporized substance in any manner or in any form.

(o)    “Sports arena” means auditoriums where sporting events are conducted from time to time; gymnasiums; health spas; indoor or outdoor swimming pools; skating rinks; bowling alleys; and other similar places where members of the general public assemble either to engage in physical exercise, participate in athletic competition, or witness sporting events.

(p)    “Nonprofit entity” means any corporation, unincorporated association, or other entity created for charitable, philanthropic, educational, character building, political, social, or other similar purposes, the net proceeds from the operations of which are committed to the promotion of the objects or purposes of the organization and not to private financial gain. A public agency is not a “nonprofit entity” within the meaning of this subsection.

(Ord. 2014-04 § 2, 2014: Ord. 2009-23 § 2, 2009: Ord. 98-08 § 1, 1998: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


All enclosed facilities owned, operated or leased by the city of Santa Cruz shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed public places within the city of Santa Cruz, including, but not limited to, the following specifically delineated enclosed public places, and shall also be prohibited in the following specifically delineated outdoor public places:

(a)    Elevators;

(b)    Taxicabs and other public transit vehicles subject to regulation by the city, and ticket, boarding, and waiting areas of public transit depots, bus stops and taxi stands;

(c)    Restrooms;

(d)    Service lines and service areas;

(e)    Retail stores;

(f)    Places of employment;

(g)    All areas available to and customarily used by the general public in all businesses and nonprofit entities patronized by the public, including, but not limited to, attorneys’ offices and other offices, banks, laundromats, hotels and motels;

(h)    Restaurants;

(i)    Theater-bar combinations and dinner theaters;

(j)    Public areas of galleries, libraries and museums when open to the public;

(k)    Any area or facility which is primarily used for exhibiting any motion picture, stage or drama production, lecture, musical recital or other similar performance, except when smoking is part of the production or performance;

(l)    Sports arenas and convention halls;

(m)    Every room, chamber, place of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings under the control of any board, council, commission, committee, including joint committees, or agencies of the city or any political subdivision of the state during such time as a public meeting is in progress, to the extent such place is subject to the jurisdiction of the city;

(n)    Waiting rooms, hallways, wards and patient rooms of health facilities, including, but not limited to, hospitals, medical centers, clinics, physical therapy facilities, and medical, dental and chiropractic offices;

(o)    Lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, retirement facilities, nursing homes, and other multiple-unit facilities;

(p)    Lobbies, hallways, and other indoor and outdoor common areas in multiple-unit commercial and multi-unit housing facilities; however, the owner or manager of any such facility may designate one or more outdoor smoking areas at any such facility; provided, that the outdoor smoking area is no closer than twenty-five feet to any of the facility’s buildings intended for human occupancy;

(q)    Polling places;

(r)    Child care facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code, and private residences where used as day care homes;

(s)    The Municipal Wharf, parks, beaches, recreational trails including all their adjacent landscape and bench areas, and all other outdoor recreation areas unless all or a portion of any such facility is designated by a parks and recreation department posting as an area where smoking is permitted;

(t)    Video arcades, bingo parlors, cardrooms, game rooms, poolhalls, dancehalls, amusement centers and bowling alleys;

(u)    Areas which share their air space, including, but not limited to, air conditioning, heating, or other ventilation systems, entries, doorways, open windows, hallways, and stairways, with other enclosed areas in which smoking is prohibited. It shall be the responsibility of any person smoking outside where smoking is otherwise permitted to ensure that smoke does not enter any buildings where smoking is prohibited through open windows or doors; however, in no event shall smoking be allowed within twenty-five feet of any such door or open window or within twenty-five feet of any other air-intake facility through which air may flow into a building from outside that building. Notwithstanding the prohibition set forth in this subsection an employer may establish an outdoor employee smoking area within twenty-five feet of an employer’s service entrance door; provided, that said door is closed while employee smoking is taking place.

(v)    At least ninety percent of the guest rooms in every hotel and motel shall be maintained as fixed nonsmoking rooms.

(w)    On the Beach Street right-of-way between the Municipal Wharf and Third Street; on any portion of the Pacific Avenue right-of-way; side streets, alleys and surface parking lots one block in either direction from Pacific Avenue between Laurel and Water Streets; and all city buildings, including parking lots and sidewalks which abut those buildings. Notwithstanding subsection (1)(d) and Section 6.04.040(a) above, the prohibition set forth in this subsection shall include the entirety of any outdoor dining area or cafe located on the referenced Beach Street and Pacific Avenue rights-of-way herein referenced.

(x)    Abbott Square.

(2)    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any owner, operator, manager or other person who controls any establishment or facility may declare that entire establishment or facility, including its outdoor areas, to be a nonsmoking establishment or facility.

(Ord. 2013-13 § 1, 2013; Ord. 2009-23 § 3, 2009: Ord. 98-08 § 2, 1998: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


No person or employer shall discharge, refuse to hire, refuse to serve or in any other manner retaliate against any employee, applicant for employment, customer, service user, business patron or any other person because that person exercises any rights afforded by this chapter.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the following areas shall not be subject to the smoking restrictions of this chapter:

(a)    Private residences, except where used as a child care, health care, board and care, or community care facility;

(b)    Retail tobacco stores;

(c)    Bars.

(2)    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any owner, operator, manager or person who controls any establishment or facility described in subsection (1) may declare that entire establishment or facility, including its outdoor area, to be a nonsmoking establishment.

(3)    This section shall not be construed to authorize smoking activity which is otherwise prohibited by state or federal law.

(Ord. 2014-09 § 1, 2014: Ord. 98-08 § 3, 1998: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    “No smoking” signs or the international “no smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial presentation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) shall be clearly, sufficiently and conspicuously posted in every building or other place where smoking is regulated by this chapter. The owner, operator, manager or other person having control of such building or other place shall be responsible for posting said signage.

(2)    Every restaurant shall have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited.

(3)    Every hotel and motel shall have plainly visible signs posted in the registration and lobby areas which state that nonsmoking rooms are maintained and may be available. Rooms designated as nonsmoking rooms shall have signs designating such restriction conspicuously placed within the room.

(4)    The city may, but shall not be obligated to, prepare and make publicly available signage called for by this chapter.

(Ord. 2009-23 § 4, 2009: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    The city health officer, the city manager and the city manager’s designee shall be authorized to enforce and implement this chapter. In addition, any city department head, personally or through designated department employees, who is responsible for or oversees public buildings or facilities which are subject to the regulations set forth in this chapter, shall have concurrent authority to enforce this chapter’s regulations in those public buildings or facilities.

(2)    Any person who desires to register a complaint under this chapter may initiate an enforcement action with the city health officer, city manager or city manager’s designee or, when applicable, the appropriate city department head.

(3)    Whenever any facility in which smoking is prohibited by this chapter applies for any permit or regulatory approval from the city or undergoes any required inspection, the city department to whom the application is submitted shall require a certification from the owner, manager, operator or other person having control of such facility that all requirements of this chapter have been complied with.

(4)    Any owner, operator, or employee of any facility in which smoking is prohibited may inform persons violating this chapter of the appropriate provisions of this chapter.

(5)    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a private citizen may bring legal action to enforce this chapter.

(Ord. 2009-23 § 5, 2009: Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    It is unlawful for any person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls the use of any premises subject to regulation under this chapter to fail to comply with any of its provisions.

(2)    It is unlawful for any person to smoke in any area where smoking is prohibited by the provisions of this chapter.

(3)    Any person, business, or owner, proprietor, manager or operator of any establishment or facility subject to this chapter who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of an infraction, punishable in accordance with Chapter 1.08 of this code.

(4)    Owners, operators, property managers and officers of homeowners’ associations for residential properties who post notices in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, where applicable to property for which they are responsible, notifying violators that their actions are in violation of this chapter, will be deemed to be in compliance with this chapter.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


(1)    The city health officer shall engage in a continuing program to explain and clarify the purposes of this chapter to persons affected by it, and to guide owners, operators, and managers in their compliance with it. Where feasible, such education program shall be undertaken and maintained in conjunction and coordination with appropriate health- or safety-oriented community-based organizations and coalitions. Such program may include a publication of a brochure for affected businesses and individuals explaining the provisions of this chapter.

(2)    The city health officer shall, in coordination with other health agencies, be responsible for providing public education regarding the health consequences of smoking.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).


This chapter shall not be interpreted or construed to permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.

(Ord. 94-32 § 2 (part), 1994).