The new county ordinance banning smoking inside government buildings is legal within both city limits and unincorporated areas, the state attorney general said Tuesday.
The Board of Supervisors voted in June to prohibit smoking inside all buildings owned or leased by the county. But county lawyers then were uncertain about the legality of enforcing it inside city limits and asked the state attorney general for an opinion.
In a prepared analysis, Atty. Gen. Daniel E. Lungren said: "We note . . . that a county, as an agency of the state, is immune from city regulations when performing its sovereign functions within city limits."
This covers the county Civic Center in Santa Ana, and the courthouses in Westminster and Laguna Niguel.
County buildings in unincorporated areas include John Wayne Airport.
It is up to the Sheriff's Department to enforce the ban, which was effective July 25.
Violators could be fined $100 each time they are caught smoking in a county building, and the smoking area in the courthouse cafeteria has been reduced from 80% of the restaurant to 20%.