Smoking Regulations in Pennsylvania


The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) regulates smoking in public places and workplaces across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the exception of the City of Philadelphia.   The Department of Health is the Commonwealth agency responsible for implementing the law through education and enforcement of the provisions of the CIAA.  

There are certain establishments which are exceptions to the general rule that “an individual may not engage in smoking in a public place.”[i]  However, the Clean Indoor Air Act is not intended to preclude the owner of a public or private property from prohibiting smoking on the property.  Owners are encouraged to prohibit smoking in indoor or enclosed areas on their property even where they are not required to do so. 

The CIAA bans smoking in private homes, private residences or private vehicles during the time that the home, residence or vehicle is being used to provide adult day-care services, child-care services or provide care of children and youth in State or county custody.[ii] 

The CIAA provides for lodging establishments which are available for rent to guests to permit smoking in designated quarters constituting no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of lodging units within a single lodging establish.[iii]  “Smoking permitted” signage must be posted at the entrance to each room identified as a smoking room.  “No smoking permitted” signage must be posted at the entrance to each room identified as a non-smoking room.  Smoking is not permitted in any other areas of the lodging establishments and appropriate signage should be posted in these areas.[iv]

 The CIAA provides for smoking within designated quarters of quarters of a “full service truck stop.”[v]   Appropriate signage is required for areas designated as smoking permitted and areas designated as non-smoking.[vi]

The exception to the smoking regulation also includes the workplace of a manufacturer, importer or wholesaler of tobacco products; a manufacturer of tobacco related products, including lighters; a tobacco leaf dealer or processor; and a tobacco storage facility. 

Smoking is also permitted in long-term care facilities that are regulated under the federal law, 42 CFR 483.15 that requires the facility to provide accommodation for patients or clients who smoke.  If the federal law is abolished or expires, this exception will not apply.[vii] 

Residential adult care facilities, community mental health facilities, drug and alcohol facilities or other residential health care facilities not covered under 42 CFR 483.15 may provide a separate enclosed room or designated smoking room for the patients or clients.[viii]  Smoking is also permitted in a facility which provides day treatment programs may provide a designated smoking room for the patients or clients only.[ix] 

Smoking is also permitted in exhibition halls, conference rooms, and catering halls used exclusively for an event to which the public is invited for the primary purpose of promoting or sampling tobacco products.  However certain criteria must be met in order to avail this exemption from the smoking regulation.  These criteria are that service of food and drink is incidental to the event[x], the sponsor or organizer gives notice in all advertisements and other promotional materials that smoking will not be restricted, at least seventy-five percent (75%) of all products displayed or distributed at the event are tobacco or tobacco-related products[xi] and notice that smoking will not be restricted is prominently posted at the entrance to the facility.[xii] 

Smoking is also prohibited in places of employment.  It is mandatory that ashtrays and other receptacles used to extinguish cigarettes or other smoking items be removed from work places.   

The CIAA requires that no smoking signs or the international no smoking symbol which consists of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette in a circle with a bar across it must be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking is not permitted.[xiii]  

With the exception of sports or recreational facilities, theater or performance establishments, the outdoor property of a business building is not covered by the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act.[xiv]  The law also requires that the designated area for smoking be located in an area away from building entrances, windows or openings, and have  appropriate containers for ash and cigarette disposal.  Though the CIAA does not provide a required minimum distance from doorways to smoking permitted areas, a distance of 20 feet is recommended by the Department of Health. 

The CIAA provides for penalties in case of violation of the smoking regulations.  The owner, operator or manager of the premises may be penalized for failing to post proper signage in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,000.[xv]  The owner, operator or manager of the premises may be penalized for allowing smoking where it is prohibited in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,000 and a person (patron or employ of the premises) may be penalized for smoking where it is prohibited in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,000

[i] 35 P.S. § 637.3(a)

[ii] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b)(1)

[iii] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (2) (i)

[iv] http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/cwp/view.asp?a=174&q=251366

[v] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (2) (ii)

[vi] http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/cwp/view.asp?a=174&q=251366

[vii] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (5) (i)

[viii] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (5) (ii)

[ix] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (5) (iii)

[x] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (8) (i)(A)

[xi] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (8) (i)(C)

[xii] 35 P.S. § 637.3(b) (8) (i)(D)

[xiii] 35 P.S. § 637.4

[xiv] http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/cwp/view.asp?a=174&q=251429

[xv] http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/cwp/view.asp?a=174&q=251429