Health Code Article 19

Smoking Pollution Control (1983)

  • Because the smoking of tobacco or any other weed or plant is a danger to health and is a cause of material annoyance and discomfort to those who are present in confined places, the Board of Supervisors hereby declares that the purposes of this Article are (1) to protect the public health and welfare by regulating smoking in the office workplace and (2) to minimize the toxic effects of smoking in the office workplace by requiring an employer to adopt a policy that will accommodate, insofar as possible, the preferences of nonsmokers and smokers and, if a satisfactory accommodation cannot be reached, to prohibit smoking in the office workplace.
  • This ordinance is not intended to create any right to smoke or to impair or alter an employer’s prerogative to prohibit smoking in the workplace. Rather, if an employer allows employees to smoke in the workplace, then this ordinance requires (1) that the employer make accommodations for the preferences of both nonsmoking and smoking employees, and (2) if a satisfactory accommodation to all affected nonsmoking employees cannot be reached, that the employer prohibit smoking in the office workplace.
  • “Smoking” or “to smoke” means and includes inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted smoking equipment for tobacco or any other weed or plant, except that this Article shall not affect the policy making marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority under Chapter 12X of the Administrative Code nor affect any laws or regulations regarding medical cannabis (Updated 2010).
  • “Secondhand Smoke” means smoke emitted from lighted, smoldering, or burning tobacco, when the person smoking is not inhaling, smoke emitted at the mouthpiece during puff drawing, and smoke exhaled by the person smoking.
  • Full text of Health Code Article 19
  • All San Francisco Tobacco Control Laws

19F – Prohibiting Smoking in Enclosed Areas, Certain Unenclosed Areas, and Sports Stadiums (1994) 

  • Smoking is prohibited in buildings and enclosed structures, throughout the building or structure and in the common areas, such as the elevators, hallways, stairways, restrooms, conference and meeting rooms, and eating and break rooms, and certain unenclosed areas.
  • Smoking is prohibited at all times in taxicabs and other motor vehicles for hire as defined in the Police Code, whether owned or leased by the driver, whether or not occupied by one or more passengers, and whether or not in operation.
  • Smoking is prohibited in service waiting areas, which are defined as any area designed to be or regularly used by one or more persons to receive or wait to receive a service, enter a public place, or make a transaction, whether or not such service includes the exchange of money, such as ATMs, bank teller windows, telephones, ticket lines, movie theater lines, concert lines, athletic event lines, performance event lines and cab stands, and including the ticketing, boarding and waiting areas of public transit systems, including bus, train, trolley and cable car stops and shelters.
  • Smoking outside entrances, exits and operable windows and vents of all buildings is only permitted at the curb of the nearest street, sidewalk or alley. If there is no curb within fifteen feet of the building, smoking is prohibited within fifteen feet of entrances, exits, and operable windows and vents of any building.
  • Smoking is prohibited in enclosed common areas of multi-unit housing complexes, as defined in Section 1009.21(k), including, but not limited to, private apartment buildings, residential hotels, including Single Resident Occupancy hotels, SF Housing Authority buildings, HUD housing, senior housing, and condominiums. Enclosed common areas are those areas accessible to and usable by residents of different units and include but are not limited to common halls, elevators, covered parking areas, lobbies, waiting areas, interior stairwells and bathrooms, cooking, dining, lounge, laundry facilities, recreation and lobby areas, except that smoking is permitted ten feet or more away from a door or window in an outdoor common area within the perimeter, a common hall open to the outdoors on at least one side, or courtyard of any multi-unit housing complex. Except for purposes of ingress and egress, the entry doors of private residential units shall be closed at any time that smoking is occurring within an individual dwelling unit of either a multi-unit housing complex or a mixed-use building where the door opens into an area where smoking is prohibited under this Section.
  • “No smoking” signs are available at no charge from the Tobacco Free Project, please call (415) 581-2448 or fill out this form to place an order.  You can also download and print this No Smoking Sign.

19I – Prohibiting Smoking in City Park and Recreational Areas and Farmers’ Market (2005)

  • Smoking is prohibited on any unenclosed area of property in the City and County of San Francisco that is open to the public and under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park
  • Commission or any other City department if the property is a park, square, garden, sport or playing field, pier, or other property used for recreational purposes, or a farmers’ market.

19L – Prohibiting Smoking at Certain Outdoor Events (2013)

  • Smoking is prohibited at outdoor events on property owned by the City that require approval under Article 6 of the San Francisco Transportation Code, except for Neighborhood Block Parties.
  • The event producer shall notify the public that the event is smoke-free.

19M – Disclosure to Prospective Residential Tenants of Whether a Unit is Smoke Free or Smoking Optional, and Informing Existing Residential Tenants Where Smoking is Optional (2013)
An owner or manager (“landlord”) of a Multi-Unit Housing Complex with less than one hundred percent (100%) smoke free residential rental units shall:

  • Designate each residential unit as either smoke free or smoking optional, using the process and timeline provided in Section 19M.3 “Procedure for Designation of Residential Units as Smoke Free or Smoking Optional.”
  • Include in residential vacancy listings the unit designation as smoke free or smoking optional.
  • Provide a residential rental applicant with a list showing the designation of units in the building that are smoking optional, before offering a unit to that applicant.
  • Disclose in writing to any residential rental applicant whether the landlord has designated the unit for rent as a smoke free unit or as a smoking optional unit, before entering into the new lease or rental agreement.
  • Develop and maintain a master list for tenants that identifies the location of each smoking optional unit. Notify tenants that this master list is available upon request in the leasing office or from building management.

19N – Electronic Cigarette Usage is Prohibited Wherever Smoking of Tobacco Products is Prohibited (2014)

  • Electronic cigarettes can only be used where traditional cigarettes are allowed
  • Sales of electronic cigarettes require a tobacco sales permit. Sales of electronic cigarettes are prohibited wherever tobacco sales are prohibited. 

19Q – Prohibiting the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products (2018)

  • Tobacco retailers are banned from selling flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes, flavored tobacco blunt wraps, hookah, and flavored electronic cigarette liquid

For Complaints regarding second hand smoke, please contact 311



(Updated July 2018)