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Comprehensive Smoke Pollution Protection Ordinance
This page provides information on the  Smoking Pollution Protection Ordinance, which was adopted by the El Cerrito City Council on October 7, 2014 and is in full effect.

Note: If you are looking for information on the new  Tobacco Retailer License program, visit

The  Smoking Pollution Protection ordinance requires 100% smoke free public places, commercial areas, and multi-unit residences within the City of El Cerrito. 

Download the ordinance

The City Council supports the regulation of smoking because of the known risks to the public health through smoking and secondhand smoke, the environmental risks of cigarette butt litter to local waterways, the need for trash reduction, the financial effects of smoking both economically and as demonstrated in increased healthcare costs, and the threat to public safety by posing a fire danger.

100% Smoke Free Parks, Open Space, and Public Places
Effective January 1, 2015:
  • Parks, playgrounds, and sports fields
  • Recreation Areas
  • Open Space
  • Trails
  • All City-owned facilities, property, grounds, and parking lots
  • Public sidewalks, both commercial and residential
  • City and other public events, including farmers’ markets, festivals, food events, recreation events, or any event attended by the general public
  • Plus a 25’ buffer around all designated non-smoking areas (include the list above, plus schools and other areas covered by State or Federal law.


100% Smoke Free Commercial Areas
Effective January 1, 2015: 
  • Places of employment: public, private, and nonprofit of more than one employee
  • Shopping Centers
  • Outdoor dining areas
  • Sidewalks
  • Service areas, including bus stops and other outdoor locations where people
    congregate (ATM lines, taxi stands, etc.)
  • All existing units
  • All new units to be built
  • All indoor and outdoor spaces on the property including common areas, patios,
    balconies, garages, carports, and shared spaces such as laundry and eating areas
  • Includes Hotels/Motels


100% Smoke Free Multi-unit Housing and Common Areas
  • All existing units
  • All new units to be built
  • All indoor and outdoor spaces on the property including common areas, patios,
    balconies, garages, carports, and shared spaces such as laundry and eating areas
  • Includes Hotels/Motels


Landlords of multi-unit housing will be required to include smoking prohibitions in new leases effective January 1, 2015. For existing leases of rental units, provisions must be implemented by October 1, 2015 or at the time of lease renewal, whichever is sooner.
All multi-unit housing provisions must be met by October 1, 2015.

Staff is currently working to develop resources to help employers and landlords. You can download the following materials for your use:

* FAQ sheet (English)
* FAQ sheet (Chinese)
* FAQ sheet (Spanish)

* Generic "no-smoking" sign for commercial properties

* Generic "no-smoking" sign for multi-family housing properties

Contact Staff
If you have any questions about the smoke pollution protection regulations, please contact Karen Pinkos, Assistant City Manager. 

Background on the process
In early 2013, during the discussion on strategies for fulfilling the Strategic Plan goal of Ensuring the Public’s Health and Safety, both the City Council and members of the public identified “Explore innovative and best practices for promoting public health”, specifically referencing the regulation of secondhand smoke, as an objective for the City. 

City staff spent about a year gathering feedback from the
El Cerrito community including making presentations at meetings, conducting an online survey and hosting two workshops in addition to the City Council study session. The vast majority of respondents and participants in the various public meetings felt that regulation of smoking is necessary to protect the public’s health and well being.

The Smoking Pollution Protection ordinance includes provisions for prohibiting smoking all forms of tobacco, marijuana, and any other weed or plant, including vaporizing via electronic smoking devices in public places, commercial areas, and multi-unit residences.

Community Outreach:

Presentation to the Park and Recreation Commission July 2013 and Environmental Quality Committee August 2013 
Online Survey (launched late November 2013)

Presentation at Community Workshop on February 27, 2014

Postcard send to businesses, landlord and apartment residents about upcoming meetings

Presentation at City Council study session on May 20, 2014

Presentation at Community Workshop on June 5, 2014

Download the August 19, 2014 Staff Report

Resources to Help You Quit Smoking
Visit the Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project's Cessation Resources webpage to learn about resources available to help you or a loved one quit smoking. 

Other Resources:
Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project
Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF
more to come!