October 11, 2006


CONTACT:  Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney, Head, Consumer Protection Unit, (310) 458-8327

The Santa Monica City Council last night voted 6-0 to give preliminary approval to an ordinance that will prohibit smoking in a number of new outdoor areas. Those locations are:

1. All outdoor dining areas
2. Within 20 feet of all entrances, exits and open windows of buildings open to the public
3. The Third Street Promenade
4. All outdoor waiting areas (such as ATMs, bus stops and movie lines)
5. All farmers markets

The Council’s action was what is known as the "first reading" of the ordinance. The second reading is scheduled for October 24. If adopted then, the ordinance would become effective 30 days later or Thanksgiving Day, November 23.

The Council’s action was prompted by a February 2006 report of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which officially deemed tobacco smoke a Toxic Air Contaminant. The CARB report found that outdoor levels of tobacco smoke can rise to the same concentrations found indoors. It also noted new scientific evidence linking second-hand smoke with increased breast cancer rates in younger, non-smoking women – among many other serious health effects in children and adults.

In addition, on June 26, 2006, United States Surgeon General Richard Carmona issued a landmark report on second-hand smoke. That report concluded, among other things, that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The report cited "massive and conclusive scientific evidence" showing that second-hand smoke causes premature death and disease in adults and children including cancer, cardiovascular disease and asthma.

The City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit investigated the recent scientific studies, researched smoking laws in other cities and states, and conducted outreach with local business, tourism and other organizations. The City Attorney’s staff report recommended all of the restrictions approved by Council.

Santa Monica law already prohibits outdoor smoking at all parks, beaches, and the Santa Monica Pier.


1. How would the law be enforced?

As with Santa Monica’s previous smoking restrictions, the primary means of enforcement would be education, awareness, and voluntary compliance. If necessary, and if a smoker refuses a request to stop smoking in a prohibited location, police officers may also give citations.

2. Could businesses be cited under the new law?

No. Unlike the statewide indoor-workplace law, Santa Monica’s outdoor smoking ordinance does not create liability for business owners. Business owners generally are expected to request that their customers obey the law – as with similar laws prohibiting indoor smoking, fighting, and disturbing the peace. However, the ordinance would not place any legal requirements on business owners.

3. Would this law mean smoking would be prohibited in all of downtown Santa Monica?

No. As long as a smoker is more than 20 feet from an entrance, exit or open window of the nearest building, smoking will still be allowed. In locations where business entrances are packed more closely together, smoking would not be allowed.

4. Where can people go who are on the Third Street Promenade and want to smoke?

On every cross street off of Third Street, from Broadway to Wilshire, there places that are more than 20 feet from the nearest business entrance and where smoking would be allowed under this law.

5. What would be the maximum penalty for violations?

$250. Violations would be deemed an infraction, similar in nature to a jaywalking citation.


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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.