Smoke-free outdoor areas on state properties – 8/12/10
Q: Have any state governments adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies/laws for all state properties (outside)? Please share any policies or laws, as well as implementation strategies and lessons learned. Please describe whether your rules include a setback of a certain distance (e.g., 25 feet), limit smoking to designated areas, or cover state properties 100%.
- California: In California, smoking is prohibited in an outdoor area within 20 feet of a main exit, entrance, or operable windows of a public building. This law only applies to state, county, and city buildings (California Government Code Sections 7596-7598). A complete copy of the legislation can be found here.
In addition, a group of individuals from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Department of Healthcare Services (DHS) have formed a committee to advocate for our department buildings to go entirely smoke-free (only includes CDPH & DHS). Currently, there is still a group of smokers who will smoke near/around our department buildings. Enforcement of the “20 foot law” is an issue. The “20 foot law” also doesn’t provide adequate protection from secondhand smoke exposure as in many cases smoking isn’t always occurring within the main exit, entrance, or operable windows of our buildings and staff/public still have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to our buildings. The committee and others have been working on this issue for a long time.
- The committee thought the “building managers” had the right to pass a voluntary policy; however, this is not the case. The building mangers simply follow the government code, which includes the “20 foot law.”
- The owner of the building has the right to adopt a more restrictive policy and in this case the owner of the building is the State of California. We are currently working with our Department Directors to sign a resolution urging the State of California to pass a more restrictive/smoke-free policy. A presentation with the Directors is scheduled for September 2, 2010.
- In order to make the areas outside our building entirely smoke-free we will also have to work with the city of Sacramento to make the sidewalks around our building smoke-free. The sidewalks are city property and the Sacramento City Council would have to pass a policy that prohibits smoking on all sidewalks surrounding our buildings.
- Indiana: Gov. Daniels issued an order for the Indiana State Government Grounds in downtown Indianapolis to become smokefree grounds. There have been many enforcement challenges.
- Iowa: The Iowa Smokefree Air Act prohibits smoking on "the grounds of any public buildings owned, leased, or operated by or under the control of the state government or its political subdivisions, including the grounds of a private residence of any state employee any portion of which is open to the public." Exemptions to this include fairgrounds, institutions administered by the department of corrections (only in designated areas), and facilities of the Iowa National Guard (only in designated areas). Iowa administrative rules further clarify the definition of "grounds of any public buildings" as:
"an outdoor area of a public building that is used in connection with the building, including but not limited to a sidewalk or driveway immediately adjacent to the building, but not including a sidewalk in the public right-of-way; a sitting or standing area immediately adjacent to the building; a patio; a deck; a curtilage or courtyard; a swimming or wading pool; a beach; or any other outdoor area as designated by the person having custody or control of the public building. A person having custody or control of a public building may exclude from the designated grounds of any public building the following: a parking lot, the course of play at a golf course, a hiking trail, locations of an individual campsite or campfire, or a lake, river, or other body of water."
In short, state law prohibits smoking in outdoor areas that are used in connection with an enclosed state government building. In most instances, only a portion(s) of the property is considered to be used in connection with that building, but in some cases (such as the state Capitol complex), 100% of the property is designated as an area where smoking is prohibited. Click here for more information.
The Iowa Smokefree Air Act also prohibits smoking on the grounds of public and private K-12 schools/educational facilities, the three state public universities (Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Iowa), and the state's special schools (Iowa School for the Deaf, and Iowa Braille School). Smoking is prohibited on "school grounds, including parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and any other outdoor area under the control of a public or private educational facility, including inside any vehicle located on such school grounds." This is 100% comprehensive. Thus, smoking is prohibited starting at the property line of institutions listed above. For example, Iowa State University operates experimental farms in many locations in Iowa - Smoking is prohibited on all of that farm land. See the following fact sheet on smoke-free school buildings and grounds.
In both cases (state schools and grounds of state government buildings) the person(s) that has custody or control of the outdoor areas where smoking is prohibited is required to post compliant "no smoking" signs at the commonly understood points of entry to these areas, and remove ashtrays in any area where smoking is prohibited. Ashtrays may be placed only on the perimeter of the outdoor area where smoking is prohibited to reduce cigarette butt litter. A person(s) that has custody or control of the outdoor area where smoking is prohibited is also required to address persons smoking in these areas. See the requirements here.
Just to clarify, there is no requirement that smoking be prohibited within any distance from entrances to public or private property or building.
Click here to see the Iowa Smokefree Air Act. Click here for the Administrative Rules for the Iowa Smokefree Air Act.
- Louisiana: Act 815, known as The Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, was adopted during the Regular Session of the 2006 Legislature. This Act took effect January 1, 2007. Act 815 prohibits smoking in any public building and workplaces and all restaurants with or without attached bars. However, local ordinances in some areas have permitted smoking in designated smoking areas at least 25 feet from all entrances. Designated smoking areas are to be located in “Non-Enclosed Areas”. Local Municipalities and employers may designate stricter policies than those put in place by the Act 815. Current rules only apply to all state buildings (indoors). We have attached for your review the current smoke-free policy for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
- Minnesota: The policy for the Minnesota Department of Health is attached.
- North Dakota: In North Dakota there are two polices: an executive order and the Facility Management Division’s policy regarding smoking at the Capitol Complex.
In 2009, the Legislative Session decided to not have the entire capital grounds smoke free due to the fact that the Governor’s residence is on the grounds. Thus there are designated smoking areas. Implementation was not done by our office, but rather facilities management.
State government grounds off the capital campus each have their own policies.
- South Dakota: The State of South Dakota is proud to have smoke free buildings and grounds policy with limited exemptions, see attached files for more information:
- Utah: Utah State has not yet adopted a uniform tobacco-free policy or law for all state agencies; however, the Utah Department of Health has tried to set the example by implementing our own tobacco-free campus policy and inviting other state agencies to do the same, providing them with technical assistance if requested. The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act (UICAA) passed in 1994 already prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any building of public access.
In 2007, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) implemented its own tobacco-free campus policy with provision for a designated smoking area. However the policy was revised to exclude the designated smoking area, beginning January 1, 2010. A phase-in approach was used over several months and a transition committee was organized to prepare for the new policy, promote tobacco-cessation resources, and prepare campus signage. Employees who smoked were invited to this transition committee and their input was valuable in helping to smooth the transition. The policy was first announced to employees via email announcement from our director. In tandem with the Great American Smoke-Out (on November 19), the new policy was publicly announced with a press conference, press release, and prepared fact sheets. Cessation resources were offered to all employees who smoke and a cessation class/support group was scheduled. Five employees have attended the class and quit smoking, while a few others have quietly quit on their own.
Lessons learned: Best practices highlight the importance of implementing a worksite policy through a phase-in approach, and providing venues for employees to voice their opinions and input. To facilitate this, a brown-bag was held for employees to discuss their concerns as well as an employee survey administered electronically. This helped us understand how all employees viewed the issue and helped mitigate the initial angry reaction of employees who smoked. While our policy does include tobacco-free parking lots as part of our campus, it was decided to not enforce the no-smoking policy in employees’ personal vehicles. Also, supervisors and managers were encouraged to be consistent with all their employees in the enforcement of the established break policies.
Unintended consequence: Interestingly because the sidewalks in front of our building are public property and beyond 25 feet of the building, it is permissible for employees to smoke there without violating our policy or the state rule. Out of courtesy, they smoke on the opposite side of the daycare; however, the group of smokers out front creates an unintended image issue. Over several months, we have found that this group has reduced in number possibly due to quitting, increased campus signage, and other social pressure not to be seen smoking.
We wish to set the example for other state agencies to implement a tobacco-free policy and have offered our resources. To date however, only one other state group, the Utah Public Health Labs, have asked for our assistance to help open their new building and facilities as tobacco free. We hope to help other state agencies implement tobacco-free policies as the idea catches on, and support a state-wide initiative.
- West Virginia: West Virginia does not have any state government policies covering outside areas. The one closest to such a standard would be the West Virginia University Policy, which is a smoke-free campus policy (large campuses). Please see the attached files:
- Legal comment from TCLC about authority of local boards of health in WV.
- A policy document for recreational parks’ outside areas.
- A list of outdoor areas that will test the language of a policy (to see if the wording of the policy covers all the venues or events).
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