Smoking Ordinance

To protect La Mesa residents and visitors from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke, the La Mesa City Council amended its Smoking Ordinance. The provisions took effect on March 28, 2020, and limits exposure to secondhand smoke in public places and places of employment. View Amended Smoking Ordinance Brochure.

"No Smoking or Vaping" sign - Portrait
"No Smoking or Vaping" sign - Landscape

What is “Smoke” or “Smoking”?

Smoke or smoking means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. It includes the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor (commonly known as vaping), in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.

What is a “Public Place”?

Public place means any place, publicly or privately owned, which is open to the general public regardless of any fee or age requirement. Public place includes all City streets and sidewalks, outdoor worksites, and publicly or privately-owned indoor and outdoor areas that are open to the public. Such places include but are not limited to:

  • Hotel rooms
  • Bars
  • Eating establishments
  • Recreational areas
  • Playgrounds
  • Parks
  • Common area within multi-unit housing (open to the public)

Exceptions for certain public places where smoking may be allowed:

  • Twenty percent (20%) of the guestroom accommodations in a hotel, motel or similar transient lodging establishment;
  • Retail or wholesale tobacco shops which means any business establishment, the main purpose of which is the sale of tobacco products, including but not limited to, cigars, pipe tobacco and smoking accessories;
  • Private smokers’ lounges (including hookah bars) which means any enclosed area or facility properly sealed off and ventilated to prevent exposure of smoke to the public from smoking patrons; and
  • Any restaurant and/or bar legally operating an outdoor dining and/or smoking facility continuously for adults (21 years or older) for not less than 60 days prior to the Ordinance’s effective date, March 28, 2020.
  • Any such facility may continue to operate so long as it is not intentionally discontinued for a period of 90 consecutive calendar days; provided, that such areas are not located or encroaching upon City property or rights-of-way (maintenance, repair and rehabilitation do no constitute intentional discontinuation).

Responsibilities of business owners, managers, operators, landlords, homeowners’ associations, etc.:

  • “No Smoking or vaping” signs must be clearly, sufficiently  and conspicuously posted in the outside window of every building covered by La Mesa Municipal Code Chapter 7.27 – Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Areas.
  • Any such sign shall have large and easily readable black letters on a white background and be 8.5 x 11 inches in size or larger.
  • Not knowingly allow smoking in prohibited areas.