Smoking Regulations in Connecticut


The primary purpose of the Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act is to protect people from the health risk associated with secondhand smoke.[i] 

Connecticut prohibits tobacco smoking in building owned and operated by the state, in health care institution, and area of a retail food store.[ii]  Smoking is also prohibited in restaurants, and bars except those holding cafe or tavern permits.[iii]    In case of restaurants that have outside seating, at least 75% of the seating should be designated as smoke free without a ceiling or other type of covering.  Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces with 5 or more employees.[iv]  However, there can be a smoking room in workplaces that conform to the guidelines for ventilation.  Businesses with less than 5 employees must also provide a smoke free environment upon request from an employee.[v]  Smoking is prohibited in the following establishments with liquor permits: hotel, restaurant, juice bar, university, resort, railroad, airline, bowling establishment, racquetball facility, special sporting facility, nonprofit theater, and nonprofit public museum.  Smoking is prohibited in school building while school is in session or student activities are being conducted.  Hotels are also required to maintain 75% of their rooms smoke free.  Smoking is also not allowed in any passenger elevator.  However, no person can be arrested for smoking in an elevator unless there is a sign posted in the elevator indicating that smoking is prohibited by state law. Smoking is also prohibited in areas of a dog race track or a facility equipped with screens for the simulcasting of off-track betting race programs or jai alai games.[vi]  Moreover, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services require all state mental health facilities to be smoke-free, and The Joint Commission of Hospitals and Organizations also requires its members to refrain from smoking.

The law of Connecticut permits smoking in certain places.  These places include private clubs that have liquor permits as of May 1, 2003, tobacco bars that, in the calendar year ending December 31, 2003, generated 10% or more of its total annual gross income from the on-site sale of tobacco products.  Smoking regulations do not apply to correctional facilities, smoking areas of psychiatric facilities, public housing projects, classrooms where smoking is part of medical or scientific research and testing areas of a business that is engaged in the testing or development of tobacco or tobacco products.[vii]

Exemptions from the smoking regulations also apply to correctional facilities, designated smoking areas in psychiatric facilities, public housing projects and in classrooms where smoking demonstration is taking place as part of a medical or scientific experiment or lesson.[viii]  Smoking is permitted in smoking rooms provided by employers for employees and in establishments where liquor sale is permitted, provided, in the case of any seating area maintained for the service of food, at least seventy-five per cent of the outdoor seating capacity is an area in which smoking is prohibited and which is clearly designated with written signage as a nonsmoking area.[ix]  However any temporary seating area established for special events and not used on a regular basis shall not be subject to the smoking prohibition or signage requirements.  Exemptions from the smoking regulations also apply to tobacco bar provided no tobacco bar shall expand in size or change its location from its size or location as of December 31, 2002.  The operator of a hotel, motel or similar lodging may allow guests to smoke in not more than twenty-five per cent of the rooms offered as accommodation to guests.[x]

 Every employer with less than five employees is required to establish work areas to accommodate nonsmokers in the work place.  The employer should also make sure that signs are posted at the nonsmoking area which can be readily seen by employees and visitors.  The employer should also take care to see that ventilation systems are used in areas where smoking is permitted so as to minimize the effect of smoking in nonsmoking areas.[xi]

An employer with five or more employees is required to prohibit smoking in the business facility under his control.  The employer may however designate one or more smoking rooms in the business facility for the smoking staff and shall also provide sufficient nonsmoking break rooms for nonsmoking employees.  The smoking rooms shall be located in a non work area, where no employee, as part of his or her work responsibilities, is required to enter and such room shall be for the use of employees only.  An employer may also designate an entire business facility as a nonsmoking area.[xii]

An employer shall not require any employee or prospective employee to refrain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his employment.  The employer should also not discriminate against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment for smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his employment. [xiii]  This provision does not however apply to nonprofit organization or corporation whose primary purpose is to discourage use of tobacco products by the general public.[xiv]
    While traveling in any motor bus, passenger railroad car or school bus, the passenger or the employee engaged in the operation of the vehicle shall not have a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe in his possession.[xv]  This restriction does not apply to any special bus or to any compartment or part of a regular bus or passenger railroad car especially provided or set apart for smoking therein.  Violation of these provisions shall be an infraction.

The law of Connecticut mandates the person in control of the premises to post in a conspicuous place of each room, elevator, area or building in which smoking is prohibited a sign stating that smoking is prohibited by state law.[xvi]  Such signs, except in elevators, restaurants, establishments with permits to sell alcoholic liquor to consumers, hotels, motels or similar lodgings, and health care institutions, shall have letters at least four inches high with the principal strokes of letters not less than one-half inch wide. [xvii]

 Violation of laws prohibiting smoking in public places or failure to post the required signs is an infraction.[xviii]

 [i] http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=388054

[ii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (b) (1)

[iii] http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=388054

[iv] http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=388054

[v] http://www.eurespir.info/en/smoking-bans-united-states-restrictions.html

[vi] http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=388054

[vii] http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3137&q=388054

[viii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (b) (2)

[ix] Id

[x] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (c)

[xi] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40q

[xii]Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40q

[xiii]Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40s

[xiv]Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40s

[xv] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-198

[xvi] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (d)

[xvii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (d)

[xviii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-342 (e)