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Smoking Regulations in Iowa

Title IV, subtitle 2, chapter 142A of the Iowa Statutes states about the purpose and intent of tobacco use prevention and control.  The purpose of the chapter is to establish a comprehensive partnership among the general assembly, the executive branch, communities, and the people of Iowa in addressing the prevalence of tobacco use in the state.[i]

Chapter 142D is known as the “Smokefree Air Act”.  The purpose of this chapter is to reduce the level of exposure by the general public and employees to environmental tobacco smoke in order to improve the public health of Iowans. [ii]

 In Iowa, smoking is generally prohibited in the following areas namely public places, enclosed areas within places of employment including work areas, private offices, conference and meeting rooms, classrooms, auditoriums, employee lounges and cafeterias, hallways, medical facilities, restrooms, elevators, stairways and stairwells, and vehicles belonging to the employer.

Smoking is also prohibited in certain outdoor areas like the seating areas of outdoor sports arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters, and other entertainment venues where members of the general public assemble to witness entertainment events.
People are also prohibited from smoking in outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants, public transit stations, platforms, and shelters owned by the state, school grounds, including parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and any other outdoor area under the control of a public or private educational facility, including inside any vehicle located on such school grounds.

 The grounds of public buildings owned, leased, or operated by or under the control of the state government, as well as the grounds of a private residence of any state employee any portion of which is open to the public are also areas where smoking is prohibited.  But the Iowa state fairgrounds, designated smoking areas of institutions administered by the department of corrections, and designated smoking areas of Iowa National Guard are areas where these restrictions do not apply.[iii]

In Iowa, smoking is not regulated in private residences, unless used as a child care facility, child care home, or a health care provider location, hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms, but not more than twenty percent of the rooms of a hotel or motel rented to guests should be designated as smoking rooms, all smoking rooms should be on the same floor and should be contiguous, and smoke from smoking rooms should not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is otherwise prohibited. 

Smoking is permitted in retail tobacco stores, but the smoke should not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is prohibited. Smoking is allowed in private and semiprivate rooms in long-term care facilities, occupied smokers all of who have requested in writing to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted, provided that smoke from these locations does not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is prohibited.        

People are allowed to smoke in private clubs that have no employees, but not when it is used for a function to which the general public is invited.  In such aces also, smoke from these locations should not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is prohibited.  This exemption does not apply to any entity that is established for the purpose of avoiding compliance with these rules.  Smoking is also permitted in outdoor areas that are places of employment, limousines under private hire, vehicles of private employer that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by more than one person in the course of employment either as a driver or passenger, privately owned vehicles not treated as a place of employment or public place, and cabs of motor trucks or truck tractors if no nonsmoking employees are present.

People can smoke in an enclosed area within a place of employment or public place that provides a smoking cessation program or a medical or scientific research or therapy program, if smoking is an integral part of the program and on farm tractors, farm trucks, and implements of husbandry, the gaming floor of a licensed premises exclusive of any bar or restaurant located within the gaming floor and in the Iowa veterans home.[iv]

§ 142D.9 deals with civil penalties.  It states about the type of punishment in case of violation of the prohibition on smoking.  A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited is liable for a civil penalty for each violation. 

In case of a person who owns, operates, manages, or has custody or control of a public place, place of employment, an area declared a nonsmoking place, or outdoor area and who fails to comply with this chapter shall pay a civil penalty.  This penalty shall not exceed one hundred dollars for a first violation, not exceed two hundred dollars on a second violation within one year and for each violation in excess of a second violation within one year, a monetary penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars for each additional violation. 

In case of an employer who discharges or in any manner discriminates against an employee because the employee has made a complaint or has provided information or instituted a legal action against6 the employer for non enforcement of the smoking regulations, the employer shall pay a civil penalty of not less than two thousand dollars and not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation.

A person who owns, operates, manages, or has custody or control of a public place, place of employment, area declared a nonsmoking place, or outdoor area may face a suspension or revocation of permit or license for the premises if violation of the smoking rules occur on the premises.

Violation of the rules constitutes a public nuisance and may be abated by a restraining order, preliminary or permanent injunction, or other means, and the entity abating the public nuisance may take action to recover the costs of such abatement.  Each day on which a violation occurs is considered a separate and distinct violation.

Civil penalties paid shall generally be deposited in the general fund of the state.  But if a local authority is designated by the department in administrative rules for enforcement, the civil penalties shall be deposited in the general fund of the respective city or county.[v]

 [i] Iowa Code § 142A.1

[ii] Iowa Code § 142D.1

[iii] Iowa Code § 142D.3

[iv] Iowa Code § 142D.4

[v] Iowa Code § 142D.9

Inside Smoking Regulations in Iowa