Smoke-Free FAQ

Why did the City Council adopt a new smoking ordinance?
In order to promote and protect public health, safety, and general welfare, the City Council adopted a citywide smoking ordinance that prohibits smoking in all public places, including common areas of multi-unit housing, places of employment, in City facilities, and on City property. The ordinance is further intended to ensure a cleaner and more hygienic environment for the city, its residents and visitors, and its natural resources.

Which public areas are affected by the new ordinance?
The ordinance applies citywide to any indoor or outdoor public place publicly or privately owned, including but not limited to sidewalks, streets, alleys, dining areas, bars, plazas, trails and trail access ways, parks, parking lots, parking structures, picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and bike paths.

Does the ordinance apply to private residential property?
NO. The ordinance does not apply to private residential property (i.e., single-family homes). However, the ordinance does apply to multi-unit residential property.

How are multi-unit residential properties affected?
Smoking is prohibited in any common areas of a multi-unit residence. A multi-unit residence is defined as a property having two or more units available to be rented and not occupied by a landlord. Common areas include lobbies, laundry rooms, outdoor eating areas, play areas, and swimming pools. Smoking is prohibited on private balconies or patios in multi-unit residences.

Where else is smoking prohibited?
Smoking is also prohibited places of employment, in City facilities, on City property, and on the property of other governmental bodies.

When did the new ordinance go into effect?
The ordinance went into effect on December 12, 2019.

Are there any exceptions?
YES. Smoking is only permitted in three areas in the City of Irvine:

  1. On private residential property, other than those used as a child-care or health-care facility;
  2. Closed and separately accessible indoor areas, and separately accessible outdoor areas, of commercial buildings and/or hotels (see below for more details); and
  3. Within a vehicle.

Does the new ordinance address electronic cigarettes and vaping?
YES. Electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, along with all tobacco and marijuana products, are included in the City’s definition of smoking and are prohibited wherever the use of cigarettes is prohibited.

What about hotels, motels, or bed and breakfast establishments?
Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments may establish their own rules permitting or prohibiting smoking on portions of their property that is not open to the public, including guest rooms, pools, and similar facilities and areas.

How will these new regulations be enforced?
The ordinance is intended to be self-enforcing. However, any police or code enforcement officer will respond to smoking violations if needed. In the rare case of non-compliance, the City has the ability to issue a citation.

How much are the fines if someone is caught violating the ordinance?
Violations of the ordinance are considered an infraction and penalties range from $100 for first violation, $200 for second violation, and $500 for third violation.