In order to protect the health of County residents, the Board of Supervisors voted to update County codes to better address threats to public health posed by cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and the smoking of cannabis. Anticipating the development of future technologies, the ordinance also defines smoking so that it covers yet-to-be-invented technologies using nicotine, cannabis or tobacco.

“Rules regarding cigarettes and cigarette-like products have not been significantly updated in a very long time. No doubt future entrepreneurs will invent new ways to smoke, and, rather than specifically update our ordinances each time, we have written this ordinance so that the rules protecting public health should not need updating again,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who led the effort to update the County codes.

The ordinance will apply to County-owned facilities including the County’s approximately 5,000 buildings. The new codes require a 50-foot, instead of a 25-foot buffer, for smoking near windows and doors of County facilities, and prohibits smoking in County parking lots.

The new codes apply to the unincorporated areas of LA County, home to 1 million people and three-quarters of the County’s land. Smoking will be prohibited at hospitals, libraries, museums, bus stops, outdoor dining establishments, LA County beaches and parks, and other locations. (See the Board letter for a full description of locations.)

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths and nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease among U.S. nonsmokers each year,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of LA County’s Department of Public Health. “These changes will help save lives.”