Smoking in Davis

A smoking ashcan

Many people in Davis smoke various substances (i.e. weed). While most Davis folks disapprove of smoking tobacco, smokers struggle to protect their right to openly consume this legal substance. The Davis City Code prohibits smoking in a wide variety of locations open to the public, and both California state law and Davis City Code prohibit smoking in bars. According to the 2010 State of Tobacco Control report card put out by the American Lung Association, Davis received a B grade for Overall Tobacco Control. Although Davis received an A grade in both Smokefree Outdoor Air and Reducing Sales of Tobacco Products, the overall grade was hampered by a D received in the Smokefree Housing category.

Relevant local law as stated in Davis Municipal Code/34.02.010:

(x)Smoking shall be prohibited in the following outdoor areas, and smoking, except while passing on the way to another destination, shall be prohibited within twenty feet of or close enough to the following areas for smoke to travel into an area or building, where smoking is prohibited, whichever is greater;

(1)Public events including but not limited to sports events, entertainment, speaking performances, ceremonies, pageants and fairs,

(2)Seating provided by eating establishments and bars,

(3)Entrances and exits to enclosed public areas,

(4)Within the entryway of any enclosed public area,


(6)Within courtyards and other areas where air circulation may be impeded by architectural, landscaping or other barriers,

(7)Areas not open to the sky,

(8)Any place where people are using or waiting for a service, entry, or a transaction, including but not limited to ATM'S, bank teller windows, telephones, ticket lines, bus stops and cab stands,

(9)Any place where food and/or drink is offered for sale,

(10) Children's play areas,

(11) Public gardens,

(12) Open windows of any enclosed public area;

If you observe illegal smoking in Davis and would like it to stop, you can:

  • Firmly but politely ask the smoker to stop. Tell him/her that you don't want to be subjected to secondhand smoke. Warn him/her that s/he is likely breaking the law. Keep in mind that this person may be ignorant of the law, and is more likely to comply if treated with respect.
  • If at a business such as a restaurant, firmly but politely ask the management to observe the law and respect its non-smoking patrons. Keep in mind that the employees of the business may have little or no power over the situation, but management & owners do have control over what happens at their establishment.
  • If appropriate, call the Davis Police Department's non-emergency line at +1 (530) 747-5400 and ask them to send an officer. If the officer observes illegal smoking, s/he can cite the offender.
  • Accept it, if it is out of your personal proximity, like those with bad BO.

Yolo County

There is a Yolo County Smoke-Free Apartments Project.

UC Davis Policy

As of January 1, 2014, The UC system has banned cigarettes and other tobacco products on all its campuses. Smoking is prohibited anywhere on a UC campus including parking lots, outdoor spaces, and private residences. There are no designated smoking areas.

Many years ago professors used to smoke while teaching classes. Many State Universities and Community Colleges have banned smoking for years. Historically, Community College students have had drastically higher rates of smoking than students of UC campuses. Studies have shown that smokers have lower IQs than non-smokers. IQs dropped with the number of cigarettes smoked. Figures now estimate only about 8 percent of UC students smoke regularly.

A Psychology Professor who used to teach at Davis actually said that smoking had benefits for the world. It reduces the surplus population.

At least one member of faculty decided to retire early as a result of the ban. Still smoking, just no longer working at UC Davis.

UC Davis Medical Center

Smoking has been banned at all UC Medical Centers since November 2011.

State Law

Various state legislation affects smoking in Davis. It is illegal to smoke in a bar or restaurant in California. According to the American Lung Association, the following sections of the California Labor Code apply to smoking in places where people gather: CA LABOR CODE § 6404.5 & 19994.30 et seq. & 48900 et seq. & 104420 & 1596.795 Los Angeles County's Department of Health Services has a good summary of California tobacco legislation.

On 26 January 2006, the California Air Resources Board formally identified secondhand smoke (AKA environmental tobacco smoke) as a toxic substance that contributes to serious illness and death.

Smoking is a significant source of state income, with approximately 50% of the cost of each pack of cigarettes funding various related and unrelated social programs — just 15% of the tax applied to tobacco products is earmarked for tobacco-related services and programs. To date, just 8% of tobacco taxes have gone toward cancer research. A proposal going before voters in 2006 proposes to increase one of the two state taxes already applied to cigarettes from 87¢ to $3.47.

In August 2006, the California Senate approved a bill to ban smoking in cars carrying young kids. So don't smoke outside, anywhere near other people, or in your car. That leaves only your house unless, of course, you have children or other people living there or the smoke wafts outside the confines of your four walls — burning food or otherwise bad cooking/breath/body odor is exempt. The car smoking ban was introduced by Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, and would cover vehicles carrying children required to ride in a child safety seat.

Skirting the law

Smoking in Bars

Smoking at a bar in Davis is prohibited by state law and by the Davis City Code. However, it still happens.

Hookah Bars

  • While there have been attempts to set up Hookah Bars in Davis (for smoking tobacco, usually flavored), the Davis anti-smoking ordinances (and state law) have made setting up such businesses impossible.

Alternatives to Smoking

This (?) is probably why people gain weight when they stop smoking. That, and the fact that people don't have the benefit of the metabolism boost cigarettes give you. On the flip side, having a lung removed will shed a pound or two.


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Not everyone who quits gains weight, and the average amount of weight gain for those who do is 6 to 8 pounds. Small trade off for lower cancer and heart disease risk, not to mention not smelling like an ashtray.AnnaJones

I'm sure exercise and cow tipping are very likely causes of weight gain.TusharRawat

2008-06-01 16:31:21   Particularly for the cow... —IDoNotExist

2008-07-17 00:52:59   it's a shame that smokers face such extreme criticism from other people. the car you're driving is polluting the air more than one of us having a cigarette on a bench. —film

2009-07-14 22:21:27   It's a necessity to cool off my house at night after these hot summer days. Problem is, my new neighbors prefer to smoke outside and while I'd prefer to breathe in cool night air, quite often I'm breathing in their second hand smoke in my bedroom and living room. I have no problem with them smoking, I just have a problem with being forced to breathe their second hand smoke inside my house. Is there anything I can do about it? —ClaireB

  • Talk to them?
  • I had a similar problem, except that my wife was pregnant at the time that the smoke started billowing in through our bedroom window at night. I talked to the neighbor multiple times and was repeatedly responded to as though I had no right to "intrude" on what the neighbor was doing on her own property. Some people have absolutely no consideration for others, and I'm always impressed when I see a smoker who is aware of how their actions impact others and tries to circumvent it (too bad that such a mundane thing is impressive).

2009-07-17 10:16:21   Only an idiot could compare smoking to body odor. People must breath and we don't want nor should we be forced to endure someone else's drug choices. It is selfish and rude - talk to 'em? That just causes a fight and isn't our job. Ask the police? Be real - the Davis PD like all PD are do-nothing, overpaid, bullies. For all their groovy, eco-bull the Davisites and others who smoke are just selfish pigs - littering the public spaces with their butts, abusing others (do you want your kids to smoke? do you have to endure it?) and we're powerless. So, we really need a non-smoker liberation front - they don't respect the law and don't respect others - why should we put up with it? —MingWa

  • There's already something like an anti-smoker culture, at least here in California. Have you ever seen those Truth commercials? They're basically propaganda. I've also gotten pretty tired of hearing people who have some new program or bill that they want put into law saying that "We'll just tax the smokers!" I'm not a smoker, nor will I ever be, but there are plenty of people out there who get a small amount of pleasure out of it, and are considerate, and go to fairly great lengths to avoid bothering others. Yes, some are inconsiderate, but that person will be inconsiderate no matter what. Also, I can sort of see why any "talk" you might have with someone would quickly develop into a fight. Try being reasonable and having a discussion, rather than simply launching into the personal accusations and unverifiable claims. —JoePomidor

2009-11-13 20:51:50   I like me a good cigarette. —AvidSpots

2010-05-13 12:07:37   Thu May 13, 3:21 am ET HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chemical extracts from cigarette butts — so toxic they kill fish — can be used to protect steel pipes from rusting, a study in China has found.

In a paper published in the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists in China said they identified nine chemicals after immersing cigarette butts in water.

They applied the extracts to N80, a type of steel used in oil pipes, and found that they protected the steel from rusting.

"The metal surface can be protected and the iron atom's further dissolution can be prevented," they wrote.

The chemicals, including nicotine, appear to be responsible for this anti-corrosion effect, they added.

The research was led by Jun Zhao at Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Energy and Power Engineering and funded by China's state oil firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

Corrosion of steel pipes used by the oil industry costs oil producers millions of dollars annually to repair or replace.

According to the paper, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year. Apart from being an eyesore, they contain toxins that can kill fish.

"Recycling could solve those problems, but finding practical uses for cigarette butts has been difficult," the researchers wrote.

China, which has 300 million smokers, is the world's largest smoking nation and it consumes a third of the world's cigarettes. Nearly 60 percent of men in China smoke, puffing an average of 15 cigarettes per day.


2010-05-13 12:23:38   I have included on this site an article released today on how cigarette butts can prove to be useful in stopping oil leaks such as the fierce one we are battling now. In addition, I have read that 50% of the tax money from cigarettes goes to pay for much needed social services for people. As a 20 year smoker, I agree that smoke is harmful and I do all I can to respect other people's right to stay smoke free and not be exposed to harmful toxins. I go out of my way to follow the Davis rules by staying away from buildings, public places, and open doors, you will likely find me in a corner alone. I also put my cigarette out and keep my butt to throw away as soon as I find a trash can to discard. I am always extremely careful to make sure the butt is not still burning to prevent fire hazards as well. I am tired of being treated like a second class citizen because I smoke. I grew up in a family of smokers, no excuse, and I have been ADDICTED for a long time. I have tried to quit on many occasions, but with layoffs looming, stress at home and work, moving soon, and more, when I try to quit, it truly feels like it would do me in, I would go nuts as I have a mental condition to manage. I am a very charitable person, humanity is my love and I seek ways to and do serve constantly. Yet, people who don't even know me will see me in my corner smoking and give me dirty looks, cough like it is affecting them so far away, and some have even gone as far as to say something mean to me. I feel this is discrimination and unnecessary. I am a person. I have to cope when I am walking to and from work and school with people driving vehicles that are in need of smog and pollution from all of these transportation needs. Believe me, those toxins make me have to hold my breath it is so nasty and harmful. In addition, I have to observe what is in everything I eat and drink and consume because this world has given us toxins at every level. I have had headaches at work when someone sprays their cologne or perfume all around the office. In short, we don't all always like what we see and we are all different, different vices to overcome, choices that others may not approve of, etc. How many of us really want anyone to get in our face about it? How many of us don't already understand and are doing the best we can with what we have? I will be respectful of your wishes, please be more understanding and gracious that smoking is an addiction, a disease. Would you treat someone with Aids with such disdain? Oh yes, some of us still do. —SusanRoads

2010-07-15 01:46:42   People need to find better things to do that hassle smokers. I occasionally smoke, but it's very infrequent (maybe a couple cigarettes a month?). Breathing secondhand smoke once isn't going to give you cancer or make you addicted to nicotine. It's just an unpleasant smell, like body odor. I don't complain about the cars I need to bike next to, what with all their combustion emissions.

and if someone is smoking too close to you, politely ask them to stop. Smokers I've met are all very courteous and are aware a lot of people don't like the smell (friends have asked if it was alright for them to light up before doing so, etc). Politely asking means saying something like "excuse me, but I'm sensitive to smoke and would appreciate it if you put your cigarette out". Remember to say thank you and do all of this without looking at the smoker like they're rotting garbage. I know most people would be alright with this. —EugeneB

2011-04-23 16:01:03   As long as no one blatantly blows smoke in my face, I do not have a problem with other people smoking. —NikhilDahal

2021-09-15 09:07:22   Taxes and anti-smoking laws, of course, disproportionately affect the poor, and present yet another stigma and hurdle for the lower classes to overcome. The air in Davis is clouded with the stench of 10000, sneeze-inducing dryer sheets (not to mention forest fire smoke and agricultural burning...), but doing laundry with horrible chemicals doesn’t have a class-associated stigma attached to it, so I don’t get to shame people for that stinky, disgusting habit. If I glared at them for the dryer smell coming out of their houses, they would have NO idea why. But if they glare at me smoking in a public place that I have a right to access, I’m well aware that they’re trying to shame me. Unfortunately for them, being shamed just makes me angry and that makes me want to smoke another cigarette to cool off, hahaha. To all the folks complaining about your neighbors smoking in their own yards, forming “anti-smoking leagues,” etc., all I can say is I am SO glad I don’t live next to you anal retentive, uptight, control freak weirdos. Y’all need to go ENDURE something in life and get over yourselves. —Themandaland