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Frequently Asked Questions

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Smoking Ban important compliance dates:

  • July 18, 2014- The Smoke-Free Public Places ordinance (Ordinance 14-0008) became effective
  • August 18, 2014- The Smoke-Free Public Places Ordinance became enforceable
  • October 20, 2015 - City Council adopts a smoke-free policy for Multi Unit Housing, Ordinance 15-0019 (PDF); The City will coordinate with landlords and property owners over an 18-month implementation period before the ordinance becomes enforceable
  • January 1, 2016-  the Tobacco Retail Ordinance (PDF) became effective
  • April 1, 2016- Retailers must submit their permit applications to City of Manhattan Beach Community Development
  • May 5, 2017- all multi-unit housing in Manhattan Beach will be smoke-free, and that non-smoking signage will be posted to notify tenants that the properties are non-smoking

Why did the City Council adopt new smoking regulations?
The City of Manhattan Beach has adopted a new ordinance to update its existing smoking regulations in an effort to protect public health and reduce pollution to the marine environment. As a coastal community, the public was concerned with the amount of cigarette debris that ends up on the beach and in the ocean. The City is also a member of the Blue Zones program, and has partnered with the Beach Cities Health District to implement smoke-free public places in the community.

Which areas are affected by the City’s Outdoor Public Places Smoke-Free ordinance?
In addition to the City’s current prohibition on smoking in parks and at beaches, the Pier and The Strand, Ordinance No. 14-0008 (PDF) prohibits smoking in all outdoor public places including: outdoor dining areas, streets, highways, alleys, rights of way, parkways, sidewalks, parking lots and pathways. The ordinance also includes all public property such as parking garages and plazas, and defines a public place as any place open to the general public.

Where else does the City prohibit smoking?
Smoking is prohibited in places of employment, and any area within 20 feet of any door, window, opening or vent into a public place, except for areas that are on private residential property.

State of California no smoking regulations
The State of California prohibits smoking in places of employment indoors, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The State also prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a playground or tot lot and within 20 feet of a government building.

Are there any exceptions? YES

Smoking is only permitted in three areas in Manhattan Beach:

  • Within a moving vehicle
  • Private residential and duplex properties (unless property is used as a child-care or healthcare facility; or as of May 5, 2017, property is a multi-unit housing property of 3 or more units)
  • In up to 20% of designated hotel & motel guestrooms

When smoking within a vehicle in transit through or around the City, individuals do not have to put out their cigarettes at traffic light or stop sign. The public is reminded that littering is against the law and disposal of cigarettes on the street will not be tolerated.  

Does the City’s new smoking ordinance address electronic cigarettes? YES
Electronic cigarettes are included in the City’s definition of smoking and are prohibited wherever the use of cigarettes is prohibited, including outdoor public places.  

Does the ordinance apply to private residential property? No, unless a multi-unit property
The outdoor public places ordinance does not apply to private residential property. However, multiple-unit dwellings, such as apartments, town homes, etc. that have 3 or more units on a property are covered by the City's Multi-Unit Housing ordinance (PDF). Landlords or property managers of duplexes may create smoke-free properties if they choose.

How will these new outdoor smoking regulations be enforced?
Public Responsibility: Those responsible for an outdoor area in which smoking is prohibited shall not knowingly allow smoking in that area. In addition, they shall post “No Smoking” or “Smoke-Free” signs, or the international “No Smoking” symbol at the primary entrance to any public place or place of employment.

Alternatively, businesses or individuals can download and post the City’s Breathe Free MB logo (PDF) or poster (PDF). Notwithstanding this requirement, the presence or absence of signage will not be a defense for the violation of any provision of the smoking regulations.

City Responsibility: The City will post signage in the business districts, parks, beaches, parking lots and walkways depicting the new Breathe Free MB logo (PDF) and Manhattan Beach Municipal Code information (MBMC Section 4.116.030).

The ordinance is intended to be self-enforcing. However, City Code Enforcement staff and the Police Department will respond to smoking violations if needed. In the rare case of non-compliance, the City has the ability to issue a citation in an amount of up to $100 for the first offense. See fine structure below. 

How much are the fines if someone is caught violating the smoking ordinance?
Violations of the smoking ordinance are considered infractions of the City’s municipal code, and range from $100-$500. The enforcement of the ordinance is complaint driven, and will start with verbal warning, warning letters or phone calls to those violating the ordinance. The City would like to correct any potential violations of the ordinance without having to issue citations.

However, any person convicted of an infraction under the provisions of the City’s Municipal Code shall be punishable by:

  • A fine of not more than One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars for a first violation; or
  • A fine of not more than Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars for a second violation of the same provision of the applicable chapter within one year; or
  • A fine of not more than Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars for each additional violation of the same provision of the applicable chapter within one year.

Can I download a Breathe Free MB Poster? 
You can download the Breathe Free MB logo (PDF) or the Breathe Free MB poster (PDF) and display inside stores or on window fronts.


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