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Smoking Regulations in Rhode Island

Rhode Island prohibits smoking in public places.  Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places within the state of Rhode Island, including aquariums, galleries, libraries and museums; areas generally available to the general public in businesses and nonprofit entities patronized by the public; bars; bingo facilities when a bingo game is in progress; convention facilities; elevators; and facilities primarily used for exhibiting a motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical, recital or other similar performance.  Smoking is also prohibited in health care facilities; licensed child care and adult day care facilities; lobbies, hallways and other common areas in apartment and buildings; polling places; public transportation facilities and restaurants. Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common use areas; retail stores; rooms, chambers, places of meeting or public assembly; schools; service lines; shopping malls;  and sports arenas, are also places where smoking is prohibited.[i] 

The law of Rhode Island also prohibits smoking in places of employment.  The law mandates that smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed facilities within places of employment.[ii]  The employer is bound to inform all existing employees as well as all prospective employees upon their application for employment about the prohibition on smoking.[iii]

“No smoking” signs or the international “No smoking” symbol should be clearly and conspicuously posted in every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by the owner, operator, manager or other person in control of that place.[iv]  Every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited shall have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited.[v]

The prohibition on smoking does not apply to some places.  This includes private residences; hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests however, not more than fifty percent (50%) of rooms rented to guests in a hotel or motel may be designated as smoking rooms, retail tobacco stores; private and semi-private rooms or designated areas in assisted living residences and nursing facilities and outdoor areas of places of employment.[vi] 

The law of Rhode Island prescribes penalties for violation of the smoking regulations. An employer who violates the regulation relating to smoking is liable for a civil penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($ 250) for the first violation and five hundred dollars ($ 500) for the second violation.  A third and subsequent violations will entail a penalty of one thousand dollars ($ 1,000).  Each day the violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as a separate offense.[vii]

The fines owed under the smoking laws and regulations should be paid within thirty (30) days of judgment. Failure to pay within thirty (30) days will result in the doubling of the penalty.[viii]

[i] CRIR 23-20.10-3

[ii] CRIR 23-20.10-4

[iii] CRIR 23-20.10-4

[iv] CRIR 23-20.10-7 (a)

[v] CRIR 23-20.10-7 (b)

[vi] CRIR 23-20.10-6

[vii] CRIR 23-20.10-10 (a)

[viii] CRIR 23-20.10-10 (b)

Inside Smoking Regulations in Rhode Island