San Francisco Tobacco Control Laws

Tobacco control and prevention laws exist to protect communities, especially young people and communities of color, from tobacco products by reducing the harmful effects of second-hand smoke; limiting the availability and use of tobacco products; and reducing the pervasive influence of Tobacco promotion and sponsorship. Federal, State and local tobacco control laws exist and ensure the health and well-being of San Franciscans.

You can find an updated list of existing tobacco control laws below and newly introduced laws to the right. (Updated June 2018)

PROTECTION FROM SECOND-HAND SMOKE:

CALIFORNIA LAW 

Smoke-free Workplaces, Restaurants & Bars: CA Labor Code 6404.5, (1994, 1998). This State law prohibits smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed places without exemption, including workplaces, restaurants, bars, warehouses, banquet rooms, and employee break rooms. Restaurants and bars must post no-smoking signs. SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec 1009.22 (2010). No smoking where food is served in outdoor dining areas of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. No smoking in all bars.

Smoking in the Workplace (2016): CA Labor Code 6404.5 (2016) This law prohibits smoking in a place of employment, including owner-operated businesses. The law eliminates most of the prior specified exemptions that permit smoking in certain work environments such as hotel lobbies, bars and taverns, banquet room, warehouse facilities, and employee break rooms. For more information call (628) 206-7668. Enforcement: Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report an issue.

Electronic Cigarettes: Business and Professions Code Sec. 22950.5 (2016). The term “smoking” now includes the use of electronic devices such as electronic cigarettes that deliver nicotine or other vaporized liquids.

Smoke-free Playgrounds and Tot Lots: CA Health and Safety Code, Sec. 104495 (2002). This State Law prohibits the smoking of tobacco products within 25 feet of a playground or tot lot sandbox area. It also prohibits the disposal of tobacco-related waste (cigarette butts) in these areas. Enforcement: San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks (415)-831-2700, dial 0 for the operator.

Smoke-free Cars: CA Health & Safety Code, Sec. 118947-118949 (2008). This state law bans smoking or possessing a lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette containing tobacco in any motor vehicle in which there is a minor under 18 years old, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest.

Smoke-free Public Transit Vehicles, Stations, and Stops: CA Health and Safety Code Sec. 118925-118945 and SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). These laws ban smoking on public transit vehicles or at public transit stops and shelters. Enforcement: San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority and Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue. BART violations, call (877) 679-7000.

SAN FRANCISCO LAW

Electronic Cigarette Usage Prohibited in any Location Traditional Cigarette Usage is Prohibited: SF Health Code Article 19N (2014). The use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited wherever smoking of tobacco products is prohibited by law including Articles 19 et seq. of the Health Code. All limitations and requirements of tobacco availability and promotion apply to electronic cigarettes as well.

Smoke-free Outdoor Events: SF Health Code Article 19L, (2013). Smoking is not permitted at public events on City & County property that require City & County permits, except for neighborhood block parties. Requires event organizers to notify the public that event is smoke-free. For information call: (628) 206-7668. Enforcement: San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority and Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Disclosure of Landlord’s Designation of Smoke-free and Smoking-optional Multi-Unit Rental Properties: SF Health Code Article 19M (2013). Landlords of multi-unit residential properties, including Single Residency Occupancy Hotels (SROs) are required to: designate all units as smoke-free or smoking-optional: include designation in vacancy listings; and provide a list of smoking-optional units before offering a unit to an applicant. Buildings with 100% smoke-free units are exempt. For information call: (628) 206-7668.

Smoke-free Entrances: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). Smoking permitted only at curb of commercial, multi unit residential and mixed use building entrances, exits, operable windows and vents. If there is no curb, no smoking within 15 feet of entrances, exits, operable windows and vents. California Government Code Sections 7596-7598 (2004). This State Law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of main entrances, exits and operable windows of city, county and state buildings. For more information call (628) 206-7668. Enforcement: owners must post signage and enforcement should occur at the building owner/manager level. Click here to order free ‘no smoking’ signs from the Department of Public Health.

Smoke-free Public Transit Vehicles, Stations, and Stops: CA Health and Safety Code Sec. 118925-118945 and SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). These laws and ordinances ban smoking public transit vehicles or at public transit stops and shelters. Enforcement: San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority and Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Smoke-free Taxis: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). This ordinance bans smoking in taxicabs and other motor vehicles for hire. Enforcement: San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Smoke-free Charity Bingo Games: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). No smoking during charity bingo games. Enforcement: San Francisco Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Smoke-free Service Waiting Lines: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). No smoking within designated areas where customers are required to wait to do business including at ATMs ticket lines, movie theater lines, athletic event lines, concert event lines, and at cab stands.

Smoke-free Tobacco Shops: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). No smoking in tobacco shops other than a handful that were exempted in writing by the Department of Public Health prior to 2010. For more information call (628) 206-7668. Enforcement: Department of Public Health, San Francisco. (415) 252-3800.

Smoke-free Farmers Markets: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). No smoking at all farmers markets.

Smoke-free Common Areas of Multi-Unit Residences: SF Health Code Article 19F, Sec. 1009.22 (2010). No smoking in enclosed common areas of multi unit residences including common halls, elevators, parking areas, lobbies, waiting areas, bathrooms, cooking, dining, lounge, laundry facilities, and recreation areas. Tenant smoking in their private unit must keep front door of their private unit closed while smoking. Enforcement: San Francisco Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Smoke-free Public Housing: SF Public Housing Authority Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (2010).  All new leases will state that premises and any interior common areas, including but not limited to individual units, community rooms, community bathrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways, laundry rooms, stairways, offices and elevators, occupied by Resident, members of Resident’s household and any guest of the Resident shall be smoke free.

Smoke-free Public Golf Courses: SF Health Code Article 19I, Sec. 1009.81 (2006). This ordinance bans smoking on public golf courses. For information call the San Francisco Recreations & Parks Department at 415-831-2700, dial 0 for the operator.

Tobacco Free Parks and Recreation Athletic Fields: SF Health Code Article 19I, Sec. 1009.81 (2006). This ordinance bans smoking in unenclosed areas under the jurisdiction of the City, including parks, squares, gardens, sport or playing fields. Enforcement: San Francisco Recreations & Parks Department at 415-831-2700, dial 0 for the operator.

Smoke-free Piers, Wharfs, Dock, Bulkhead, or Marine Facility:  SF Police Code Article 1, Sec. 55 (1944). It shall be unlawful for any person to smoke, carry or possess a lighted cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or to smoke tobacco or any other similar substance in any form, or to ignite any match or mechanical lighter on or in any wharf, pier, dock, bulkhead, or marine facility. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

TOBACCO PROMOTION & SPONSORSHIP:

FEDERAL LAW

Ban on Tobacco Companies Sponsoring any Athletic, Musical, Artistic, or other Social or Cultural Event: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Sec. 1140.34 (2013). No manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may sponsor or cause to be sponsored any athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural event, or any entry or team in any event.

SAN FRANCISCO LAW

Ban on Tobacco Promotional Items in San Francisco Schools: SFUSD Student and Family Handbook (2013). The San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD)Dress Code prohibits the wearing and carrying of tobacco promotional items in the schools. To report a concern with SFUSD call: 415-793-3298.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising in the City: SF Police Code Article 10, Sec. 674 (2004). No person shall place or maintain, or cause or allow to be placed or maintained, in any manner any advertising or promotion of cigarettes or tobacco products on a billboard or advertising display sign in a publicly visible location in the City. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising on City & County Property: SF Administrative Code, Chapter 4, Sec 4.20, (1992). This ordinance bans tobacco advertising and placement of names of tobacco companies or tobacco products on City & County property. E-cigarette advertising applies as well. Enforcement: San Francisco Department of Public Health, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

TOBACCO AVAILABILITY:

CALIFORNIA LAW

Restrictions regarding the sale of “Bidi” cigarettes: CA Penal Code, Sec. 308.1 (2002). Prohibits the sale, distribution, or importation of “Bidis” with the exception of businesses where minors are not permitted by law. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Minimum Package Size: CA Penal Code, Sec. 308.3 (2002). This State law indicates that cigarettes may not be manufactured, distributed, sold, or offered for sale in packages of less than 20 cigarettes. Roll-your-own tobacco may not be manufactured, distributed, sold, or offered for sale in a package containing less than 0.60 ounces of tobacco. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Ban on sales of single cigarettes: CA Penal Code, Sec. 308.2 (1991). It is illegal to sell one or more cigarettes except in the manufacturer’s package, sealed and properly labeled under federal labeling requirements. For more information call (628) 206-7668. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

Self-Service Display Ban: CA Business & Professions Code, Sec. 22962/SB757 (STAKE Act). This statewide law prohibits the sale or display of cigarettes through a self-service display. Enforcement: Food & Drug Branch, California Dept. of Health Services, 1-800-5ASK4iD [1-(800) 527-5443].

Illegal Sale of Tobacco to Minors: CA Penal Code 308, (1891). This is a state law that prohibits retailers from selling tobacco products to minors. This includes the sale of cigarette papers and paraphernalia that is designed for the use of tobacco or any controlled substance. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue. To report sales to minors call: 1-800-527-5443.

Tobacco Products: Minimum Legal Age (2016) Existing law, the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act, establishes various requirements for distributors and retailers relating to tobacco sales to minors. This law (SB 7) extends the applicability of those provisions to persons under 21 years of age. This law also applies to selling, advertising, or furnishing an electronic device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to persons under 21 years of age. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue. To report sales to minors call: 1-800-527-5443.

Ban on Free Distribution of Tobacco Products: CA Health and Safety Code, Sec. 118950. This State Law prohibits the distribution of free or low-cost tobacco products, coupons, coupon offers, and rebate offers on public grounds, and on private grounds that are open to the public. Enforcement: San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

SAN FRANCISCO LAW

Requirement of Permit for Tobacco Sales: SF Health Code Article 19H (2014). This ordinance requires that anyone who engages in or allows tobacco or electronic cigarette sales to obtain a valid permit from the Department of Public Health. Permits must be renewed annually and permitted establishments must comply with local tobacco control laws as well as the California Smoke-Free Workplace Law to maintain their permit. This ordinance was amended in 2015 to include a density element.  There is now a cap of 45 permits per supervisorial district, therefore no new permits will be issued in a district with 45 or more tobacco retailers.  No new permits will be issued in a new tobacco retail location.  No permits will be issued if the retail location is within 500 feet of another tobacco retailer or school.  NOTE: no current permits will be taken away. Enforcement: Department of Public Health (415) 252-3800.

a) Self-Service Display Ban: SF Police Code Article 46, Sec. 4600.3 (1996). This San Francisco Ordinance prohibits the self-service display of tobacco or electronic cigarette products. A self-service display is a rack, shelf or kiosk that holds tobacco products such as cigarettes or containers of chewing tobacco that the public has access to without a clerk’s help. Enforcement: Department of Public Health. For more information call (628) 206-7668.

b) Increasing of Minimum Purchasing Age: SF Health Code Article 19H (2016).  This ordinance was amended in 2016 to increase the minimum purchasing age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.  The focus of enforcement is the sale of tobacco products NOT the possession or use of tobacco products by young people.  Enforcement: Department of Public Health. For more information call (628) 206-7668.

Tobacco Free Pharmacies: SF Health Article Code 19J, Sec. 1009.92 (2008). This ordinance prohibits tobacco sales at pharmacies including electronic cigarettes. Enforcement: Department of Public Health. For more information call (628) 206-7668.

Tobacco Free City & County Property: SF Health Code Article 19K, Sec. 1010.1 (2008). This ordinance bans tobacco and electronic cigarette sales on City & County property. Enforcement: Department of Public Health. For more information call (628) 206-7668.

Ban on Cigarette Vending Machines: SF Health Code Article 19D, Sec. 1009.1, (1997). This San Francisco ordinance bans cigarette vending machines in the City & County of San Francisco including vending machines located in places where minors are not permitted by law such as bars. Enforcement: Department of Public Health. For more information call (628) 206-7668.

Ban on Free Distribution of Tobacco Products or Coupons: SF Police Code, Article 1, Sec. 95 (1988). This San Francisco ordinance makes it illegal to give away free samples of tobacco products in public areas. This includes coupons or other materials that can be turned in for free tobacco products. Amended in 2008 to include tobacco accessories in any place open to the public including bars and nightclubs. Enforcement: District Police Station of the San Francisco Police Department, dial 311 (the City hotline) to report the issue.

TOBACCO USAGE:

Tobacco Free Ball Parks: SF Health Code 190 (2015) and California AB-768.  These ordinances prohibit the usage of smokeless tobacco at all sport or playing fields in San Francisco.