In Vermont, “The Clean Indoor Air Act” bans the smoking of tobacco products in nearly all common areas of indoor “places of public access.”[i] This includes any place of business that serves the public or that the public has access to use – both public and privately owned and for profit or not-for-profit organizations.
Smoking is prohibited in buildings and offices, public transport, common carrier waiting rooms, like bus stations, arcades, libraries, theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, arenas, shopping malls, museums, art galleries, sports and fitness facilities, planetariums, historical sites, barber shops, hair salons, and Laundromats, restaurants, bars and cabarets, retail and grocery stores, hotels and motels, including lobbies, hallways, elevators, restaurants, restrooms, and cafeterias. Buildings or facilities owned or operated by social, fraternal, or religious clubs, common areas of nursing homes and hospitals, and private schools are also places where smoking is prohibited. Vermont law also bans all tobacco use on the grounds of public schools.[ii] The Smoking in Public Places Law is comprehensive and includes all places of public access including all publicly owned buildings and offices.[iii]
The law of Vermont imposes certain duties on the owner, manager and employee of a public place where smoking is regulated or prohibited. The law requires that the owner or manager should ask the person to put out the cigarette. If the person refuses then the owner, manager or employee can ask the person to leave the premise and if the person refuses to leave, then the person concerned may call a local police officer. A member of the public can also call the police.
A person who is smoking in a public place, and an owner who does not take action against the smoker, are both subject to penalties for noncompliance, including civil court action and criminal penalties up to $10,000 for each violation.
In 2009, Vermont amended its Smoking in the Workplace law to prohibit smoking inside all areas of the workplace. Prior to this amendment the law allowed employers to designate smoking areas if they obeyed certain rules. Now the law requires all indoor areas of workplaces to be 100% smoke-free.
The only part of the workplace where the smoking regulation does not apply is any portion of a structure that serves as the employees or employers personal residence. The law also does not apply to that designated portion of the indoor area of the (Bennington) Vermont Veterans Home, where smoking is permitted.
Employees can also smoke outside the building. Individual employer can also set smoking policies for smoking in company vehicles, or vehicles located on company property.
[ii] 16 V.S.A. § 140