Law on Smoking Distance From a Building in California

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California law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of any public buildings, such as public schools, community colleges, jails, government buildings and publicly-owned medical centers. This law went into effect on January 1, 2004. The law does not prohibit smokeless tobacco.


California's legislature passed the law prohibiting smoking near public buildings because of the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke. The law is designed to prevent secondhand smoke from entering the doors or windows of a building.


This law can only be enforced if signs that explain the smoking restrictions are posted. Locations are responsible for creating and funding their own signs.

Other Smoking Laws

California law also prohibits smoking inside public buildings, inside schools, within 25 feet of a playground and in vehicles with minors under the age of 18.


About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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