From Restrictions to Expansions: Tobacco Use Changes Underway

The City Council recently passed two ordinances which will “clear the air” for people in Goleta.

The Tobacco Retailer Ordinance helps to prevent tobacco products, including e-cigarettes from being easily accessible to minors. This law requires local tobacco retailers to obtain a license annually and provides for sanctions if violations of sales to minors occur during undercover inspections. This ordinance also prevents any new tobacco retailer from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of a school.  Existing tobacco retailers near schools may continue to do business as usual.

The Secondhand Smoke Ordinance expands areas where tobacco use is prohibited, thus increasing protection from exposure to secondhand smoke for Goleta residents and visitors. California law bans smoking in almost all enclosed places of employment, and also restricts smoking within 20 feet of government buildings. The Goleta law augments state law by regulating tobacco use in some outdoor areas. The ordinance outlaws smoking from a 20 foot perimeter around all places of employment and prohibits tobacco use in public places and recreational areas. State law only regulates smoking and the Goleta law includes all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

For the purpose of the secondhand smoke ordinance, a “public place” is defined as a place where the public generally is invited. The ordinance identifies a list of specific public places, including: restaurants, restaurant-bar combinations, bars, retail stores, buses, service lines, polling places, common areas in apartments, condos, and mobile home parks, and areas that share the same ventilation system or common walls. Goleta’s new law is consistent with those governing tobacco use in other South County communities.

This ordinance also prohibits smoking in recreational areas, which includes any outdoor area owned or operated by the City open to the general public for recreational purposes. These include parklands, portions of parks such as picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, walking paths, gardens, hiking trails, bike paths, horseback riding trails, athletic fields, and beaches.

The ordinance also provides a specific list of areas where smoking may be permitted.  Please contact our Code Enforcement Officer, Greg Nordyke, at or 805-961-7556 with any questions.