Smoking Regulations in Massachusetts

2004 Mass. ALS 137 states that the purpose of the smoking regulation is to protect the health of the employees of the commonwealth, and to preserve the public health and convenience.  In the case of Howcroft v. City of Peabody, it was held that secondhand tobacco smoke and its effect on health of public is matter of deep and abiding public interest.[vii]

The laws of Massachusetts state that the employer is responsible to provide a smoke free environment for all employees working in an enclosed workplace.  Smoking is prohibited in workplaces, work spaces, common work areas, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, offices, elevators, hallways, medical facilities, cafeterias, employee lounges, staircases, restrooms, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, food courts or concessions, supermarkets or retail food outlets, bars, taverns, or in a place where food or drink is sold to the public and consumed on the premise as part of a business required to collect state meals tax on the purchase.  It is also not allowed on trains, airplanes, theatres, concert halls, exhibition halls, convention centers, auditoriums, arenas, or stadiums open to the public; or in schools, colleges, universities, museums, libraries, health care facilities, child care center, school age child care center, family child care center, school age day or overnight camp building, or upon any public transportation conveyance or in any airport, train station, bus station, transportation passenger terminal, or enclosed outdoor platform.[i]
People are also prohibited from smoking in state house or in a public building or in a vehicle or vessel, owned by the commonwealth, or in a space occupied by a state agency or department of the commonwealth which is located in another building, including a private office in a building or space, or at an open meeting of a governmental body, or in a courtroom or courthouse.

These regulations do not apply to a resident or patient of a state hospital, the Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts located in the city of Chelsea or the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.[ii]
Smoking is permitted in private residences, except when it is utilized as a group child care center, school age child care center, school age day or overnight camp, or a facility licensed by the department of early education and care or as a health care related office or facility.  Smoking is permitted in premises occupied by a membership association, if the premises is owned, or under a written lease for a term of not less than 90 consecutive days, but no smoking is permitted in an enclosed indoor space of a membership association when it is open to the public or is occupied by a non-member who is not an invited guest of a member or an employee of the association, or is rented from the association.  Smoking is also permitted in an enclosed indoor space of a membership association at all times, if the space is restricted by the association to admittance only if its members, the invited guest of a member, and the employees of the membership association.  Smoking is permitted in guest room in a hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast or lodging home, in retail tobacco store, having a valid permit for the sale of tobacco and in smoking bar, having a valid permit pursuant to this section.  Smoking by a theatrical performer upon a stage or in the course of a professional film production, is permitted if the smoking is part of a theatrical production, and if permission has been obtained from the appropriate local authority.  Smoking is legal if it is done by a person, organization or other entity that conducts medical or scientific research on tobacco products, if the research is conducted in an enclosed space not open to the public, in a laboratory facility at an accredited college or university, or in a professional testing laboratory.  Smoking during religious ceremonies is permitted if smoking is part of the ritual.  A tobacco farmer, leaf dealer, manufacturer, importer, exporter, or wholesale distributor of tobacco products, may permit smoking in the workplace for the sole purpose of testing said tobacco for quality assurance purposes; if the smoking is necessary to conduct the test.[iii]

An individual, person, entity or organization subject to the smoking prohibitions of this section shall not discriminate or retaliate in any manner against a person for making a complaint of a violation of this section or furnishing information concerning a violation, to a person, entity or organization or to an enforcement authority. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person making a complaint or furnishing information during any period of work or time of employment, shall do so only at a time that will not pose an increased threat of harm to the safety of other persons in or about such place of work or to the public.[iv]

An owner, manager or other person in control of the place, who does not fulfill his duties as regards smoking regulation shall be punished by a fine of $100 for the first violation; $200 for a second violation occurring within 2 years of the date of the first offense; and $300 for a third or subsequent violation within 2 years of the second violation. Each day on which a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense.  If such a person violates the regulations repeatedly, his license may be revoked or suspended.[v]

An individual who smokes in a place where smoking is prohibited shall be subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.  As an alternative to criminal prosecution, a violation of the rules may also be considered a civil violation.[vi]

[i] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22 

[ii] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22 

[iii] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22 

[iv] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22   

[v] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22  

[vi] ALM GL ch. 270, § 22  

[vii] Howcroft v. City of Peabody (2001) 51 Mass App 573


Inside Smoking Regulations in Massachusetts