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Tobacco Control Program
The overall goal of the Tobacco Control Program of the Monterey County Health Department is to reduce tobacco use and influence social norms towards a tobacco-free Monterey County.
Strategies for 2010-2013 include:
- Community Housing Improvement and Systems Planning Agency (CHISPA), Mid-Peninsula Housing, and/or South County Housing will adopt a policy designating at least 50% of the contiguous units (including balconies and patios) and designated common outdoor areas, such as swimming pool areas and entrances as smoke-free;
- two jurisdictions in Monterey County will adopt a tobacco retail licensing policy that requires all tobacco retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products which will include sufficient fees to conduct compliance checks of retailers at least once per year;
- and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Monterey County will recruit and maintain at least 10 new non-traditional partners and revise the coalition’s Operating Procedures and provide trainings on coalition development (e.g. media advocacy, health disparities and coalition functioning) to increase the coalition's capacity to work on anti-tobacco initiatives.
Focus on People with Mental Illness
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US. Despite overall declines in smoking, more people with mental illness smoke than people without mental illness. Because many people with mental illness smoke, many of them will get sick and die early from smoking.
Recent research has shown that, like other smokers, adults with mental illness who smoke want to quit, can quit, and benefit from proven stop-smoking treatments. Some mental health providers and facilities have made progress in this area, while others are now beginning to address tobacco use.
Tobacco Control Program and Second Hand Smoke
The Tobacco Control Program works with Multi Unit Housing managers and owners to adopt policies that reduce second hand smoke expousre by increasing the number of non-smoking units (including balconies and patios) and designate common outdoor areas, such as swimming pool areas and entrances as smoke-free.
Smoke Free Housing
Living in a smokefree home is a choice everyone should have. Californians know the dangers of secondhand smoke. And, we've done something about getting it out of workplaces and restaurants. But, for some people living in apartments, breathing secondhand smoke from neighboring apartments has become a real health problem. The next big challenge facing the tobacco control movement in California is how to address the problem of secondhand smoke exposure in the home. Click here for additional Smoke Free Housing resources and information.
Smoke Free Outdoor Areas
Many cities and counties around the state are addressing the issue of secondhand smoke exposure in outdoor areas in their communities. These areas include the entryways around business, recreation areas such as parks and beaches, and other locations where people congregate such as service lines and events. This activity by local governments is prompted by the increasing recognition that secondhand smoke is extremely toxic. In 2006 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) officially declared tobacco smoke a Toxic Air Contaminant and the United States Surgeon General issued a landmark report concluding that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Click here for additional Smoke Fee Outdoor Areas resources and information.
Tobacco Retail Licensing Program
Pursuant to Monterey County Code Chapter 7.80 (adopted May 2012), all tobacco retailers in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County must obtain a Tobacco Retail License from the Monterey County Health Department in order to sell tobacco products. The fee is $286 and is paid annually. This license is required in addition to a California State Board of Equalization Tobacco Retailer’s License. You need both licenses. Please see the below documents for additional information.
Cover Letter to Tobacco Retailers
Tobacco Retail License Ordinance (No. 5200)
For questions about the application and permit requirements or laws pertaining to tobacco retailing, please contact the Tobacco Control Program at (831) 796-1268 or send an email to
In San Diego, it's illegal to smoke on the beach, at a Padres baseball game and in a public park. When you add in statewide restrictions on smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces, California has some of the nation's toughest anti-smoking laws. But people who live in apartment buildings are left largely unprotected against exposure to secondhand smoke. Reporter: Kenny Goldberg
Link to The California Report
Californians know the dangers of secondhand smoke. We have even made workplaces and restaurants smoke free. But, for some people living in apartments, breathing secondhand smoke from neighboring apartments has become a real health problem. The challenge facing us now is how do we address the problem of secondhand smoke exposure in the home.
Apartment owners and managers have been adopting voluntary policies to restrict smoking in certain areas, which will reduce the negative effects of secondhand smoke. While the health consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke are well known, apartment owners and managers should consider the physical and financial consequences of allowing smoking in their complexes. Allowing smoking in apartments and common areas increases property maintenance and repair costs. Smoking damages carpets, drapes and paint with odors and burns. Nicotine leaves yellow stains on walls, cabinets and fixtures. Cleaning and replacing these items is expensive. Add to the economic concerns that smoking is also a fire hazard. Smoking-related materials such as cigarettes, cigars, lighters and matches are the leading cause of fire-related deaths in the U.S.
86 percent of Californians do not smoke; and non-smokers do not want to rent units previously occupied by smokers. Apartment owners can legally adopt a smokefree policy, and apartment renters can easily request a policy change to ensure that they can live in a healthy environment. The most effective way to address this problem is to speak with the landlord to help restrict smoking within the multi-unit housing complex.
Living in a smokefree home is a choice everyone should have.
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