Smoking Regulations in Alaska
Alaska Statute Sec. 18.35.300 regulates smoking in certain places. The statute considers smoking in any form a nuisance and a public health hazard and therefore prohibits smoking in public vehicles and indoor places.
The laws of Alaska restrict smoking in public transport vehicles, places of employment, buildings or other structures, at any place of entertainment or recreation, postsecondary educational institutions, adult day care facilities, courtrooms or jury deliberation rooms, any place under the control of the state senate or state house of representatives, nursing homes, rest homes, or other residential health care institutions or facilities, or in public or private offices or facilities that are engaged primarily in providing mental health services. Smoking is also not allowed in food service establishments having a seating capacity of at least 50 persons, grocery stores or places maintained for the retail sale of food products, places of employment where a “no smoking” board is displayed, correctional facilities, and in the Alaska Pioneers’ Home or the Alaska Veterans’ Home. However, these restrictions are not applicable in places where such regulation is exempted under AS 18.35.310.[i]
Smoking is prohibited in child care centers, residential child care facilities, and maternity homes. Smoking in a foster home or foster group home must be limited to outside the home, or in a well-ventilated area away from the immediate living area, and only after submitting a plan acceptable to Department Of Health And Social Services that addresses how children in care will be protected from smoke. Child care homes and child care group homes must ensure that while children are in care, cigarettes or other smoking products, and ashtrays, lighters, or other smoking accessories are not visible or accessible to children and that the home does not smell of smoke from cigarettes or other smoking products. Any vehicle used to transport children must also be smoke-free.[ii]
Smoking is also not allowed in a room, chamber, or other place under the control of the state while a public meeting or public assembly is in progress. It is also not permitted in an office where dental care, health care, or the healing arts are practiced, a public or private laboratory associated with dental care, health care, or the healing arts if the laboratory is located within the same premises as where dental care, health care, or the healing arts are practiced, and in public or private hospitals, or other nonresidential health care institutions or facilities. This restriction does not apply to a public or private office or facility providing mental health services.[iii]
In Alaska, smoking in any form is prohibited in indoor places including public or private elementary or secondary schools, preschools, or children’s day care facilities conducted in a building that is also a private residence. This restriction applies only during the hours when the residence is being used as a school or day care facility and only to the specific building in which the school or day care facility is located. The prohibition does not apply to a designated smoking area that is properly ventilated or equipped with an exhaust fan in a public or private elementary or secondary school if the area is located in a room where minors are not permitted. A smoking area must also be designated in the school to comply with a collective bargaining agreement covering employees who work in the school.
The prohibition relating to smoking does not apply to a portion of a place or vehicle that is designated as a smoking section, in a limousine for hire or taxicab, if the driver as well as all other passengers consents to smoking in the vehicle. The prohibition also does not apply to smoking by performers on stage as part of a theatrical entertainment production.[iv]
A person in charge of an indoor place or vehicle of public transportation may designate portions of the place or vehicle as smoking sections. For purposes of this section a taxicab or limousine taken on hire is not considered a “vehicle of public transportation” and an elevator is not included in the term “indoor place”.
The person who chairs the Rules Committee in the legislature is responsible for the designation of smoking sections in legislative offices, committee rooms, and other places under the control of that House, but this authority may not be used to impede the work of a conference committee.
The person designating smoking sections should also make reasonable accommodations to protect the health of the nonsmokers who use the place or vehicle by separation, partition, or ventilation that ensures that nonsmokers in the place or vehicle are not subject to the active by-products of smoke from smokers in the place or vehicle. The law however strictly prohibits designating a smoking section for students on the grounds of or in an elementary or secondary school, indoors or outdoors.[v]
Sec. 18.35.330 of the Alaska Statute mandates display of smoking and no smoking signs. A person in charge of a regulated place or vehicle shall generally display in the place or vehicle a sign that reads “Smoking Prohibited by Law — Maximum Fine $ 50″. This includes the international symbol for no smoking too.
A person in charge of places or vehicles having a smoking section should display signs that specify the portions of the place or vehicle in which smoking is allowed and in which smoking is prohibited. Such signs are required to be at least 18 inches wide and six inches high, with lettering at least 1.25 inches high. A person, who wishes to display such signs, can make a request to the Department Of Health And Social Services who shall furnish the signs as required.[vi]
If smoking is allowed in an assisted living home, a designated smoking and a nonsmoking area must be provided. A designated smoking area may not be in a common area. The designated smoking area must be separated from common areas by a closed door or partition that protects nonsmokers from smoke. The designated smoking area must be provided with natural or mechanical ventilation sufficient to provide fresh air and to prevent the accumulation of smoke and smoke odor.[vii]
Procedures for processing and reporting of violations of the smoking regulations are developed by the Commissioner of Health and Social Services. In case the Commissioner finds that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may file a civil complaint in the district court or an employee of the department designated by the commissioner may issue a citation. A person who violates the rules regulating smoking and against whom the commissioner has filed a civil complaint under this section is punishable by a civil fine of not less than $ 10 or more than $ 50. A person who violates the rules and against whom the commissioner has filed a civil complaint under this section is punishable by a civil fine of not less than $ 20 or more than $ 300. Each day a violation of the rules continues after a civil complaint for the violation has been filed and served on the defendant constitutes a separate violation. The Department Of Health And Social Services may also provide for the payment of civil fines under this section by mail.[viii]
[i] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.300
[ii] 7 Alaska Admin. Code 10.1085
[iii] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.305
[iv] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.310
[v] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.320
[vi] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.330
[vii] 7 Alaska Admin. Code 10.1085
[viii] Alaska Stat. § 18.35.340