Smoking Regulations in New York


On July 24, 2003, the amended New York State Clean Indoor Air Act (Public Health Law, Article 13-E) became effective.[i]  The Act prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.  The Act contains provisions to ensure that all workers are protected from secondhand smoke.  Though Localities can adopt and enforce local laws regulating smoking, these regulations must be at least as strict as the Clean Indoor Air Act.

The New York City Smoke-Free Air Act, signed into law on December 30, 2002 makes virtually all workplaces in the City of New York smoke-free.[ii]  This includes many places where smoking was previously permitted.

The law of New York prohibits smoking in places of employment, bars, restaurants, enclosed indoor swimming areas, public transportation, including all ticketing, boarding and waiting areas; buses, vans, taxicabs and limousines.[iii]  Places of employment where services are offered to children, schools, including school grounds, public and private colleges, universities and other educational and vocational institutions, general hospitals and residential health-care facilities, except separately designated smoking rooms for adult patients are also places where smoking is prohibited.  Smoking is also not permitted in commercial establishments used for the purpose of carrying on or exercising any trade, profession, vocation or charitable activity, indoor arenas, zoos and bingo facilities.

Smoking is permitted in private homes and private residences when not used for day care, private automobiles, hotel or motel rooms rented to one or more guests, retail tobacco businesses where primary activity is the retail sale of tobacco products and accessories.[iv]  Smoking is also permitted in associations where all duties related to the operation of the association are performed by volunteers who are not compensated in any manner, cigar bars in existence prior to January 1, 2003 where 10% or more of total annual gross income is from the sale of tobacco products.  Restaurants where up to 25% of seating in outdoor areas is without roof or ceiling enclosure may also designate smoking areas.

The law of New York mandates that the owner, manager or operator of an area open to the public, where smoking is prohibited or regulated must make a reasonable effort to prevent smoking in such areas.[v]

“No Smoking” or “Smoking” signs or a sign with the international “no smoking” symbol on it must be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking is prohibited.[vi] 

The owner, operator or manager of a hotel or motel implementing a smoking policy for rooms rented to guests should post a notice at the reception area of the establishment as to the availability, upon request, of rooms in which no smoking is allowed.[vii]

In case of violation of the smoking regulations, the enforcement officer for a city or county health department can assess a penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation. In places where the enforcement is by the State Health Department, a fine of up to $2,000 may be assessed from the violator.[viii]

[i] http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/clean_indoor_air_act/general.htm

[ii] http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/smoke/tc5.pdf

[iii] NY CLS Pub Health § 1399-o

[iv] NY CLS Pub Health § 1399-q

[v] http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/clean_indoor_air_act/general.htm

[vi] NY CLS Pub Health § 1399-p(1)

[vii] NY CLS Pub Health § 1399-p(2)

[viii] http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/clean_indoor_air_act/general.htm