Connecticut’s Clean Indoor Air Act became effective in virtually two stages. The first stage became effective October 1,2003 and prohibited smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces with five or more employees. The second stage became effective April 1,2004 and prohibited smoking in bars and Off-Track Betting Establishments. Along with prohibiting smoking from these areas, Connecticut’s Clean Indoor Air Act also makes provisions for exemptions such as private clubs or tobacco bars. As expected there are penalties for violating this act, such as fines for each violation. Smokers in Connecticut, whether residents or visitors, should be aware of the Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act and how it can affect them.
The Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking from all restaurants and bars. This also prohibits smoking from any establishment that holds a cafe or tavern permit, any bowling alley and any off track betting facility. Smoking is also prohibited on an outside patio at a restaurant if the patio is covered. If there is no cover, the patio area must reserve 25% of the area for non-smokers.
Workplaces with more than 5 employees are another area where smoking is prohibited. However, an employer can, at his discretion, designate a smoking room, as long as this smoking room meets all the OSHA rules and regulations that are required. Workplaces with less than 5 employees can allow smoking as long as there is no complaint. But, if there is one single request for a smoke-free workplace, then one must be provided.
Smoking is not allowed in any establishment that has been issued a liquor license or permit such as hotels, restaurants, resorts, railroads, airlines, special sporting facilities and etc. Smoking is also banned from all schools, both private and public and 75% of all motel/hotel guest rooms. Smoking is also not allowed in theaters, in the vicinity of flammable and combustible liquids, bakeries, pasteurizing plants, food preparation and processing plants, buses and railroad cars.
Not only must managers enforce the no smoking ban in their establishments, but they must also strategically place no smoking signs within the establishment. At least one sign must be posted at each entrance. These signs must be posted in areas where employees and visitors alike will notice them. The Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act goes on to state that these no smoking signs, when placed in work areas, must have lettering that is at least four inches high and one-half inch wide. If an establishment has a designated smoking area, there must also be signs posted stating that smoking is allowed in this area. These smoking areas are to be located in areas that are not where employees have to pass through to go to another work area, or anywhere. These areas must also contain exhaust systems that remove the smoke form the air as well as adequate ventilation.
As with most Clean Indoor Air Acts throughout the country, the Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act does allow some exceptions. Correction facilities, public housing projects and any entity performing scientific research on tobacco products are exempt. Psychiatric facilities may designate smoking areas and hotel/motels can designate up to 25% of their total guest rooms as smoking areas. In child care establishments or group day care homes licensed by the State of Connecticut, an enclosed area located away from any areas where children are allowed can be designated as a smoking area. Management of this establishment must see that signs stating that smoking is prohibited except in designated areas, are placed at all entrances to the facility.
Anyone found violating any part of the Connecticut Clean Indoor Air Act will be assessed penalties in the form of fines. These fines begin at $99 and can increase depending on circumstances of the violation. To keep from having to face these penalties, everyone should become aware of what is covered in this Clean Indoor Air Act.