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What are the tobacco laws in California?

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Smoke-free Workplace Laws

In order to protect the health of employees, California Labor Code Section 6404.5 prohibits smoking in the workplace. It is against the law to smoke in an enclosed space at a place of employment. Enclosed space includes lobbies, lounges, waiting areas, elevators, stairwells, and restrooms that are a structural part of the building.

Tobacco Sales Laws

California Penal Code Section 308(a) and The STAKE Act prohibit sales of tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia, including electronic cigarettes, to persons under the age of 21. Active duty military personnel who are at least 18 years old are exempt, but they must show a valid, unexpired ID card issued by the United States Armed Forces.

STAKE Act Sticker 2021

Tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and tobacco paraphernalia must be kept out of reach of customers.  This means no self-serve displays (except in tobacco stores, which still must keep cigarettes unreachable) and no vending machines in stores where minors have access.  Cigarettes must be sold in their original pack; it is illegal to sell single cigarettes.

STAKE Act signs must be posted where the customer can see them, at each cash register. All tobacco retailers are required to have their valid California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License posted where the public can see it. For information on how to obtain a California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License, visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website.  

To read more about California’s tobacco laws, go to Change Lab Solution’s publication here:

Page Last Updated: April 13, 2021