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Workplace Smoking Rules in California

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 22, 2012.

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Employers in California must comply with these state rules regulating smoking in the workplace.

In California the smoking of tobacco is prohibited in all enclosed spaces of employment.

Employers covered: The law prohibiting smoking in enclosed workplaces is applicable to all places of employment in the state with certain exceptions.

Written policy requirements: Employer policy not specified.

Posting requirements: Clear and prominent signs must be posted where smoking is prohibited throughout the building or structure. Signs must also be posted where smoking is permitted in designated areas of the building or structure.

No smoking areas: The definition of enclosed spaces of certain places of employment includes lobbies, lounges, waiting areas, elevators, stairwells, and restrooms that are a structural part of the building that is the place of employment.

Permitted smoking areas: Places of employment do not include the following for purposes of the smoking prohibition law:

  • 65 percent of the guest rooms in a hotel, motel or similar transient lodging establishment
  • Lobbies of hotels, motels and other similar transient lodging establishments that are designated as smoking areas
  • Meeting and banquet rooms in hotel, motels and other transient lodging establishments, except while food or beverage functions are taking place or when the room is being used for exhibit purposes
  • retail tobacco shops and private smokers' lounges
  • cabs of motor trucks or truck tractors
  • certain warehouse facilities
  • gaming clubs
  • bars and taverns
  • theatrical production sites, if smoking is an integral part of the production
  • medical research or treatment sites if smoking is integral to the research or treatment
  • private residences, except private residences licensed as family day care homes, during the hours of operation as family day care homes and in those areas where children are present
  • patient smoking areas in long-term health care facilities
  • breakrooms that have been designated as smoking areas by the employer
  • covered parking lots

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