Smoking Regulations in Virginia


Virginia prohibits smoking in many public places.  These include elevators of all capacity, except in any open material hoist elevator, and not intended for use by the public;  public school buses; the interior of public elementary, intermediate, and secondary school; hospital emergency rooms; local or district health departments; polling rooms; indoor service lines and cashier lines; public restrooms in any building owned or leased by the Commonwealth or any of its agencies; public restrooms of health care facilities; and the interior of a licensed child day center that is not also used for residential purposes.[i]  However, this prohibition does not apply to any area of a building not utilized by a child day center.[ii]

Restaurants having a seating capacity of fifty or more persons should have a designated no-smoking area sufficient to meet customer demand.[iii]  The proprietor or other person in charge of an educational facility, except any public elementary, intermediate, or secondary school, health care facility, or a retail establishment of 15,000 square feet or more serving the general public, shall designate reasonable no-smoking areas.[iv]

The person in charge of a space subject to smoking regulations should post signs conspicuous to public view stating “Smoking Permitted” or “No Smoking,” and in restaurants, signs conspicuous to ordinary public view at or near each public entrance stating “No-Smoking Section Available.”  Any person failing to post such signs may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five dollars.[v]

No person shall smoke in a designated no-smoking area and any person who continues to smoke in such area after having been asked to refrain from smoking may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five dollars. [vi]  The law-enforcement officer may issue summons to a person for a violation of the smoking regulations.[vii]

Designated smoking areas are required to meet certain criteria.  It is therefore mandatory that the designated smoking area shall not encompass so much of the building so that it will not be possible to provide reasonable no-smoking areas.  Designated smoking areas shall be separate to the extent reasonably practicable from those rooms or areas entered by the public in the normal use of the particular business or institution; and designated smoking areas shall use ventilation systems and existing physical barriers when reasonably practicable to minimize the permeation of smoke into no-smoking areas.[viii]

[i] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(B)

[ii] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(B)

[iii] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(C)

[iv] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(D)

[v] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(E)

[vi] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(F)

[vii] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2801(G)

[viii] Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2802