South San Francisco’s Multi-Unit Smoking Ordinance Now in Effect

South San Francisco, CA    June 1, 2017   SSF Press Release 

Ordinance also prohibits smoking in any enclosed or unenclosed multi-unit residence common areas, as well as the use of electronic smoking devices


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., June 1, 2017 – The South San Francisco City Council has taken a strong stand by banning smoking in multi-units, effective immediately. Smoking in multi-units, or any property with two or more units that has at least one or more shared wall, floors, or ceilings, or a shared ventilation system, is no longer allowed in the City of South San Francisco.


“Tobacco smoke poses major health risks to smokers and those in the vicinity of smokers, and as a Council, it was important for us to take a stand and provide protections to our residents that choose not to smoke,” said South San Francisco Mayor Pradeep Gupta. “Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful,” he added.



This ordinance is particularly timely given June is Men’s Health Month and according to the World Health Organization, globally, about 40 percent of men smoke as compared with nearly nine percent of women. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries. Worldwide, second-hand smoke causes 430,000 adult deaths per year. Sixty-four percent of these deaths occur in women.



Changes to the City of South San Francisco Ordinance



According to the ordinance, “Common area” means every enclosed and every unenclosed area of a multi-unit residence where residents of more than one unit and/or their guests are entitled to enter or use, including, but not limited to, elevators, hallways, stairways, lobbies, lounges, recreation rooms, exercise facilities, shared restrooms, shared cooking or eating facilities, shared laundry rooms, community rooms, parking garages, swimming pools, playgrounds, pathways, and courtyards.



“Multi-unit residence” means any property with two or more units and has at least one or more shared walls, floors, or ceilings. Additionally, a property that has two or more units and has a shared ventilation system is considered a Multi-unit residence.



A Multi-unit residence does not include the following:

(1) a single-family residence with a detached in-law or secondary dwelling unit;

(2) a single residence in which rent is shared by the residents; and

(3) a hotel or motel that meets the requirements of California Civil Code section 1940, subdivision (b)(2).



The use of electronic smoking devices is also prohibited in multi-unit residences and common areas. We strongly encourage you to review the entire amended Chapter 8.50: “Regulation of Smoking” of the City’s Municipal Code, available at



Help is Available



The San Mateo County Health System has resources for residents who are looking to quit smoking. There are many tools that can help you stop smoking. Experts agree that the more support a smoker has, the better the chances they will be smoke-free for life.



Medications that fight cravings and nicotine replacement therapy products (like nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges) can also help with the physical addiction to tobacco products. Most insurance companies, including Medi-Cal, cover nicotine replacement therapies.



There are many resources available online to assist you in your quit attempt, but we recommend that you seek the support of local tobacco quit classes or the California Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS). It is also important to seek assistance from your medical provider so they can support you.






UPDATE:  According to SSFPD this would be a code enforcement issue and they recommend the following: *Contact Code Enforcement at 829.3950 M-F 8-5 and if a problem between neighbors that would require mediation to contact PD via non-emergency line 829.3910 M-F 8-5.


In addition the San Mateo County Tobacco Education Coalition offers: Check out this website for guidelines on addressing a drifting smoke issue: You can also email the San Mateo County Tobacco Prevention Program at for assistance.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

I live in a single family. But my lot is adjacent to three neighbors. I share fence with three neighbors. My neighbor smoked and drifted it to my house even all my doors and windows are closed. I had to open my windows at midnight to ventilate. And still I coughed due to the smoke. I strongly request the law considers single family also!!! It is just unfair to bear the smoke in a house I purchase!!! As neighbor noise, smoke is also a legal nuisance. We share the common air unfortunately. I rely on the city to give me the justice because I cannot find an air filter to shield the smoke. Thank you.

None ya
None ya
3 years ago
Reply to  Sun

Sounds like profiling to me. What’s next?

K matthews
K matthews
5 years ago

Theses types or ordinances we should vote on, not uninvolved people making these decisions!