A Smoking Traveler’s Guide to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a vibrant and energetic county, with a perfect temperate climate all year round. From its laid-back beaches to its lush mountainous landscapes, the place offers a wide array of possibilities to cater to each traveler’s tastes — whether you want to surf or have a scenic staycation. Santa Cruz also has a rich history that you can discover through museums like the Capitola History Museum, the Agricultural History Project, and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.

For those looking to vacation somewhere that’s both energetic and calming, visiting this charming coastal city could be your next great adventure. If you’re a smoking traveler, however, you’ll need to be familiar with where California allows smoking. Here’s your guide to visiting Santa Cruz.

Smoking laws in California

California is widely known for being a primarily non-smoking area. In 1995, California became the first state to ban smoking in almost every workplace and indoor public space. In 1998, these laws were extended to all enclosed spaces of employment, such as restaurants and bars, gaming clubs, and offices (although you may still smoke in outdoor patios or facilities in privately owned buildings).

Since the beginning of 2020, Mercury News reports that California has also banned smoking in any state beach or state park. Violators face a fine of $25. This is an attempt to reduce forest fires, wildlife risk, and ocean pollution from cigarette butts, and includes any tobacco products or vaping devices.

Places that allow smoking in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz follows the same prohibitions within California, which means that smoking indoors and in public areas is generally not allowed. However, while Santa Cruz bans smoking near beaches, some public areas and establishments do assign designated outdoor smoking areas. Some hotels and dining establishments also have smoking rooms and facilities indoors. There are also bars that specifically allow smoking indoors, like the Jury Room and One Double Oh Seven Club & Smoking Parlor.

Smoking alternatives in Santa Cruz

California can be quite strict with its smoking prohibitions, and it can be difficult to find restaurants that clearly indicate their smoking facilities and provisions. But if you’re looking for that nicotine boost, there are several alternatives that don’t emit smoke and can be used at any time in Santa Cruz. Nicotine patches, like those made by Habitrol, offer a steady dose of nicotine for up to 24 hours. All you have to do is leave it on an area of your skin that is free of hair, damage, or wounds to enjoy its effects.

You can also opt for nicotine lozenges and gums, both of which give you a nicotine boost within 20-30 minutes. Both of these are considered nicotine replacement therapy, which makes them widely available over the counter.

Another option would be nicotine pouches which, unlike lozenges and gums, are used by leaving tucked under your lip for 20 minutes. Nicotine retailer Prilla highlights how you can use nicotine pouches in public places, even where cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and tobacco-filled snus are banned from being used or carried around. However, it’s important to take note of extra regulations in certain places like schools, hospitals, or other gathering places that accommodate children.

If you’re a smoking traveler, you don’t have to be weighed down by California’s smoking prohibitions. Establishments provide certain provisions for smokers, and there are many accessible alternatives that you can easily use. All of these can help you to experience Santa Cruz to its fullest.