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Santa Barbara County cracks down on e-cigarettes in public places

Santa Barbara County is implementing e-cigarette and smoking rules that are tougher than laws on the books in most of the cities in the area. 

The smoking policy for the county's unincorporated areas was updated recently for the first time in more than 20 years and those changes went into effect Saturday.

The law now treats electronic smoking devices--like e-cigarettes and vaporizers--just like conventional tobacco products.

Grace Alderson with Santa Barbara County Public Health said Monday that the county is hoping this move will set a trend with some of the county's other municipalities.

"The county is now more progressive than a few other communities—of note the City of Santa Barbara does not have these restrictions or protections in place for the public," said Alderson. "The same goes for several communities out in the valley, like Solvang."

Alderson says Santa Maria and Lompoc have e-cigarette restrictions at public parks, but not at restaurants nor on sidewalks.