Smoking Regulations in Montana


The “Montana Clean Indoor Air Act of 1979″[i] is intended to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment; to recognize the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air; and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air has priority over the desire to smoke.[ii]

In Montana, smoking in an enclosed public place is prohibited and the law requires that in such places, the person in charge of the place should post signs in a conspicuous place at the entrances stating that smoking in the enclosed public place is prohibited.  Smoking is also prohibited in intrastate bus that is not chartered.  The proprietor or manager of a licensed business should not allow any person less than 18 years of age to be present in any area of the establishment in which smoking is permitted.[iii]

The prohibition regarding smoking does not apply to bars (until September 30, 2009), provided that smoke from the bar does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited.  Smoking is not prohibited in private residence, unless it is used for the purpose of running a family day-care home, group day-care home, an adult foster care home, or a health care facility.  Smoking is also allowed in private motor vehicle, in school property in which smoking is allowed and hotel or motel rooms designated as a smoking room and rented to a guest.  However, not more than 35% of the rooms available to rent to guests may be designated as smoking rooms.  Smoking is also allowed on sites that are being used in connection with the practice of cultural activities by American Indians that are in accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.[iv]

The laws of Montana make it unlawful for a person to smoke in any area where smoking is prohibited.  A person who violates the smoking regulation is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $ 25 or more than $ 100.[v]

A person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment and who fails to comply with the provisions regulating smoking, is guilty of a misdemeanor after a third violation within a 3-year period.  Such offender shall be warned for the first violation, be given a written reprimand for a second violation, and on repeating the offence within a 3-year period, be liable for a fine of $ 100 for a third violation,  $ 200 for a fourth violation, and $ 500 for a fifth or subsequent violation.[vi]

Rule 37.113.112 of the Administrative Rules of Montana states about the procedure regarding registration of a complaint for smoking violations. An individual who believes that a violation of the rules relating to smoking has occurred may file a written complaint with the department or the local health board or its designee that describes the violation, provides the date of the violation and is signed by the complaining party. [vii]

If a complaint is filed with the local health board, a copy of the complaint must be forwarded within five working days after the end of the month in which it was received to the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Section.[viii]

If a complaint is filed initially with the department or a designee of the department, a copy must be forwarded within five working days to the local health board of the county in which the violation allegedly occurred.[ix]

Once a complaint is filed, the department or a designee of the department will conduct an investigation to determine if a violation occurred.[x]  If, after an investigation, it is found that violation did occur, it will document the violation and file the documentation and the determination of the department or its designee with the office of the county attorney in the county where the violation occurred.[xi]

 [i] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-101  

[ii] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-102

[iii] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-104

[iv] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-104

[v] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-115(1)

[vi] Mont. Code Anno., § 50-40-115(2) 

[vii] MONT. ADMIN. R. 37.113.112(1)

[viii] MONT. ADMIN. R. 37.113.112(2)

[ix] MONT. ADMIN. R. 37.113.112(3)

[x] MONT. ADMIN. R. 37.113.112(4)

[xi] MONT. ADMIN. R. 37.113.112(5)