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Do Workplace Smoking Laws Regulate Your Business

October 12, 1999
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Related Topics: Ergonomics and Facilities, Featured Article
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Issue: A group of employees asks to meet with you about cigarette smoking in your workplace. Currently, you have no particular smoking policy in your private-sector workplace. Instead, you rely on employees to be considerate of others when and where they do choose to smoke. The group wants to limit smoking to the outdoor portion of the employee break area and eliminate smoking in work areas completely. One group member says the law requires that smoking be limited to designated smoking areas in your workplace. What are you legally required to do?

Answer: The answer is—it depends. Some states do not currently regulate smoking in the workplace; others regulate it only for public employers or in public buildings that are also workplaces.

Check the list below to see what the law requires in your state. If there is no requirement governing smoking in your workplace, you may still choose to establish a smoking policy to protect the health of all your employees. Watch for a policy that discriminates against smokers’ off-duty practices, however. Some states specifically prohibit discriminating against employees who are smokers or who take part in "other lawful products or activities." Take into consideration the needs and desires of both smokers and nonsmokers when establishing your policy.

State smoking in the workplace laws:

Alabama:
Food service and food preparation employees may not use tobacco products while washing, serving or preparing food (Ala AdminCode, Ch 420-3-22 et seq.).

Alaska:
Indoor smoking is prohibited in places of employment where the owner, manager, proprietor, or other person who has control of the premises posts a sign stating that smoking is prohibited by law (Alas Stat, Secs 18.35.300, 18.35.305 and 18.35.320).

Arizona:
Smoking laws generally prohibit smoking in state buildings; however, smoking is permitted in state hospitals, correctional institutions and state buildings where agencies have designated smoking areas (Ariz RevStatAnn, Sec 36-601.01 et seq.)

Arkansas:
Arkansas protects nonsmokers from damage to their health from the smoking of tobacco by others (Ark CodeAnn, Secs 6-21-609, 20-27-701 through 20-27-703, 20-22-710, 20-78-217 and 25-1-102).

California:
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed places of employment in California and in restaurants, retail food establishments, on public transportation (in a bus, train or airplane, except as permitted by federal law, in other than a designated area) and in day care centers and family day care homes. Covered employers are required to warn of any toxic substances in the workplace, including tobacco smoke (Cal GovernmentCode, Secs 19994.30 through 19994.35; Health&SafetyCode, Sec 1596.795 and 25940 through 25949; LaborCode, Sec 6404.5).

Colorado:
Unless otherwise provided, smoking is prohibited in most public places and in public schools. Persons in charge of offices and commercial establishments that provide employment for the general public are encouraged to designate nonsmoking areas that are physically separated from the working environments where other employees smoke. Smoking is prohibited in all state legislative buildings, except in areas designated (Colo RevStat, Secs 24-34-402.5, 25-14-103, 25-14-103.7 and 25-14-104).

Connecticut:
Employers of 20 or more workers at an enclosed location must establish nonsmoking areas that are sufficient to accommodate nonsmoking employees or prohibit smoking in the workplace completely (Conn GenStat, Secs 1-21b, 21a-157, 22-201, 31-40q through 31-40s and 51-164m).

Delaware:
Smoking is prohibited, other than in designated smoking areas, in public buildings, auditoriums, theaters, museums, libraries, public schools (except in faculty lounges and private offices), other education and vocational institutions (except in faculty lounges and private offices) and in food service establishments (Del CodeAnn, Title 16, Secs 2901 through 2908).

D.C.:
The designation of a smoking area in the workplace affects employment and must be a subject of collective bargaining (DC CodeAnn, Secs 6-913.3 and 6-914).

Florida:
Smoking is prohibited in private and public-sector workplaces, except in designated smoking areas (Fla Stat, Secs 386.201 to 386.211).

Georgia:
Smoking is prohibited in any area used by or open to the public and clearly designated by a no-smoking sign, and in any area operated as a day-care center, group day-care home or family day-care home during working hours. Ga CodeAnn, Secs 16-12-2 and 49-5-12.

Hawaii:
Private entities receiving state grants, subsidies, or contracts to provide services on behalf of a state agency must establish smoking policies for office workplaces that try to accommodate the preferences of both nonsmoking and smoking employees. If a satisfactory accommodation cannot be reached, the wishes of a majority of employees in each work area must be followed (Haw RevStat, Secs 328K-12 and 328K-13).

Idaho:
Smoking is prohibited in public places and in public meetings, except in designated smoking areas (Ida Code, Sec 39-5501 et seq).

Illinois:
Smoking is prohibited in public-sector workplaces, except in designated smoking areas (225 ILCS 10/5.5, 410 ILCS 80 through 80/11; 730 ILCS 5/5-9-1; 820 ILCS 55/5).

Indiana:
Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public-sector workplaces, except in designated smoking areas. Reasonable measures must be taken to accommodate the needs of both smokers and nonsmokers (Ind Code, Secs 13-1-13-1 to 13-1-13-9, 22-5-4-1, 22-5-4-4 and 34-4-32-4).

Iowa:
Iowa restricts smoking in any public place, defined as an enclosed area used by the general public or serving as a place of work containing 250 or more square feet of floor space (Iowa Code, Secs 142B.1 through 142B.6 and 805.8(11)).

Kansas:
Smoking is prohibited in public places and state buildings, except in designated smoking areas. Smoking is completely prohibited in the state capitol (Kan StatAnn, Secs 21-4009 through 21-4014 and 65-530).

Kentucky:
Smoking is prohibited in executive branch agencies and state-owned or state-leased space, except in designated smoking areas (Ky RevStatAnn, Secs 61, 438 and 344.040).

Louisiana:
Smoking is prohibited in public-sector workplaces, except in designated smoking areas. If private-sector workplaces have 25 employees or more in enclosed workspaces, an employer must try to accommodate the smoking preferences of both smokers and nonsmokers (La RevStatAnn, Secs 23:966, 40:1300.21--40:1300.26 and 40:1300.41--40:1300.47).

Maine:
Workplace smoking is prohibited, except in designated smoking areas, if prohibited by a written employer policy; an employer's policy may also prohibit workplace smoking completely (22 MRSA 1541 through 1545, 1578-B(4), 1578-B(5), 1580-A, 1580-B and 26 MRSA 597).

Maryland:
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces where an employer/employee relationship exists. An exception is made for tobacco establishments that engage primarily in the sale of tobacco, for vehicles used in employment and occupied by only one individual, and for smoking necessary to conduct scientific research on its health effects at an analytical or educational laboratory (Md RegsCode, Sec 09.12.23).

Massachusetts:
Smoking is prohibited in work and public areas of executive branch offices, except in designated smoking areas (Mass GenL, Ch 29, Sec 2T; Ch 270, Sec 22).

Michigan:
An executive order prohibits smoking in Michigan state government facilities. In addition, state licensed nursing homes are to adopt a policy regulating smoking (Mich Executive Order No 1992-3).

Minnesota:
Smoking is prohibited in public places, including both public and private workplaces, except in designated smoking areas (Minn Stat, Secs 144.413, 144.414, 144.416 and 181.938).

Missouri:
Smoking in Missouri is prohibited in public places and meetings, except in designated smoking areas (Mo RevStat, Secs 191.765 through 191.773, 290.145 and 560.016).

Montana:
Smoking is prohibited in all state workplaces, except in designated smoking areas. In enclosed public places, including private workplaces, employers must designate smoking and nonsmoking areas or designate the entire space as smoking or nonsmoking (Mont CodeAnn, Secs 50-40-101 through 50-40-109 and 50-40-201 through 50-40-205).

Nebraska:
Smoking is prohibited in public places, except in designated smoking areas. If a workplace is not open to the general public, the employer may restrict or prohibit smoking if the ventilation system is inadequate to prevent health risks from smoke or to preserve the comfort of nonsmokers (Neb RevStat, Secs 71-5701 through 71-5713 and 28-106).

Nevada:
Smoking is prohibited in state workplaces and buildings, except in designated smoking areas (Nev RevStat, Secs 202.2491 and 613.333).

New Hampshire:
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces with four or more workers and enclosed places accessible to the public, except in effectively segregated smoking-permitted areas. If smoking cannot be effectively segregated, it must be totally prohibited (NH RevStatAnn, Secs 155.64 through 155.77 and 275:37-a).

New Jersey:
Smoking is prohibited in workplaces with 50 or more employees, except pursuant to a written employer policy, and in most public places and retail food stores (NJ RevStat, Secs 26:3D-23 through 26:3D-50).

New Mexico:
Public employers of 15 or more employees are required to implement smoking policies (NM StatAnn, Secs 24-16-1 through 24-16-11 and 50-11-1 through 50-11-6; NM SBE, Regulation 94-2).

New York:
New York protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondary smoke in the workplace. Covered workplaces include any indoor area where employees perform services (NY LaborLaw, Sec 201-d; PublicHealthLaw, Secs 12(1), 309(1)(f) and 1399-n to 1399-x).

North Carolina:
Nonsmoking areas must be set aside in buildings owned, leased or occupied by the state (NC GenStat, Secs 95-28.2 and 143-595 through 143-600).

North Dakota:
Smoking is only permitted in designated areas within places of public assembly and public workplaces (ND CentCode, Secs 14.02.4-01 through 14.02.4-03, 23-12-09 through 23-12-11 and 50-11.1).

Ohio:
Smoking is prohibited in public-sector workplaces, except in designated no-smoking areas, pursuant to a written smoking policy. Employers may prohibit smoking throughout the workplace (Ohio RevCodeAnn, Secs 2917.41, 3791.031 and 5140.015).

Oklahoma:
Oklahoma prohibits smoking in designated nonsmoking areas in public places, at meetings of public bodies, in state-licensed nursing facilities or in a state-licensed child care facilities during the hours of operation (Okla Stat, Title 40, Secs 500 through 503; Title 63, Secs 1-1521 through 1-1527).

Oregon:
Smoking is prohibited in public-sector workplaces, except in designated smoking areas and pursuant to rules incorporating legal smoking restrictions (Ore RevStat, Secs 433.835 through 433.875, 433.990 and 659.380).

Pennsylvania:
Smoking is prohibited in enclosed indoor areas owned or operated by state or local government, including workplaces, except in designated smoking areas and pursuant to smoking in the workplace rules and regulations (Pa ConsStat, Title 35, Sec 1230.1).

Puerto Rico:
Smoking is prohibited in buildings owned or occupied by the government, except in designated smoking areas (S.B. 148, Laws 1993).

Rhode Island:
The smoking law is designed to protect the health and atmospheric environment of the nonsmoker by regulating smoking in the workplace (RI GenLaws, Secs 23-20.6-2, 23-20.7-1 to 23.20.7-7 and 23.20.9-7).

South Carolina:
Smoking is prohibited in state government buildings, except in enclosed private offices and legally designated smoking areas (SC CodeAnn, Secs 41-1-85 and 44-95-20).

South Dakota:
Smoking is prohibited in all executive branch state buildings and state vehicles in South Dakota. Only residential portions of facilities operated by state agencies are exempt from the smoking ban (SD CodifiedLawsAnn, Secs 22-36-2 and 60-4-11; SD Executive Order No 92-10, August 28, 1992).

Tennessee:
Tennessee's smoking laws cover all employees in private employment, employees of the state or any political subdivision of the state and employees who are paid by federal funds, even if they are not full-time employees (Tenn CodeAnn, Sec 50-1-304).

Texas:
Smoking is prohibited in public schools, elevators, enclosed theaters and movie houses, libraries, museums, hospitals, transit system buses, intrastate buses, or public airplanes and trains (Tex PenalCodeAnn, Secs 12.23 and 48.01; EducationCodeAnn, Sec 21.927).

Utah:
Utah's Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all enclosed indoor places of public access and in publicly owned buildings (Utah CodeAnn, Secs 26-38-1 through 26-39-9.)

Vermont:
Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces, except in enclosed, designated smoking areas pursuant to a written smoking in the workplace policy (18 VSA 1421 through 1428).

Virginia:
Smoking is prohibited in designated areas of state and local government buildings (Va CodeAnn, Secs 15.1-29.18 and 15.1-291.1 through 15.1-291.11).

Washington:
Smoking is prohibited in all indoor workplaces and public places, except in designated smoking areas. Smoking is prohibited in all state buildings and vehicles (Wash RevCode, Secs 70.160.010 through 70.160.900; Wash AdminCode, Secs 296-62-12000 through 296-62-12009).

West Virginia:
Smoking is prohibited in public buildings, offices and other space leased or owned by the state, except in designated smoking areas (WVa Code, Sec 21-3-19; Policy DOP-P1; Dept of AdminLegis Rules Sec 148-7-1 et seq; Personnel Rules Sec 4.04(b)).

Wisconsin:
Smoking is prohibited in public and private workplaces, except in designated smoking areas (Wis Stat, Secs 101.23(1) through (9) and 111.31(1) through (3)).

Source: CCH Incorporated is a leading provider of information and software for human resources, legal, accounting, health care and small business professionals. CCH offers human resource management, payroll, employment, benefits, and worker safety products and publications in print, CD, online and via the Internet. For more information and other updates on the latest HR news, check our Web site at http://hr.cch.com.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

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