Smoking at State Health
Department Campuses – 5/17/05
a) What are the policies at your state health
departments (that house the CDC Comprehensive State Based
Tobacco Control Programs) regarding smoking/tobacco use? Is
yours a completely smoke-free campus, does it have entrance
restrictions, is it 100% smoke-free indoors, etc? How is this
handled at satellite offices (i.e. county health departments)
and/or agency leased building with outside occupants?
b) We are aware
of the data from James Repace's study "Banning Outdoor
Smoking is Scientifically Justifiable", but need to know
what is the basis for designating entrance restrictions at
the specific distances of 50-ft, 25-ft, or 20-ft? We want
to promote 50-ft restrictions and want to collect any science
supporting this distance.
- Alabama: The building that houses the
Tobacco Control Program is smoke free. There are designated
smoking areas outside, but there is no specified distance
from the door. County health departments are encouraged
to be smoke free, but the decision is left to local ordinances
and the preference of the Area or County Administrator.
Most are smoke free.
- Arizona: our Department of Health Services
located in Phoenix is 100% tobacco-free, including the campus.
This went into effect October 1, 2004. We have signs posted
in English and Spanish notifying our customers that it is
a tobacco-free campus. The central parking garage is also
tobacco-free. We have many visitors each day to our Vital
Records and they are not allowed to use tobacco either while
on campus. Those who must smoke have to cross the street
or stand out on the sidewalks.
Our satellite offices do not have the same requirement of
100% tobacco-free campus presently, but we expect to expand
that in the near future. I do not know what the entrance
restrictions are for those locations, but I would guess
it's 50 ft from the entrance. They are not allowed to smoke
in the building, and have designated smoking areas.
- California: Governor Pete Wilson issued
an Executive Order in 1993 that banned smoking in state-owned
buildings and leased space and within 15 feet of doorways
and ground level air intake structures. The statewide law
went into effect in 1995 that prohibited smoking in indoor
worksites. In 2004, another state law was passed that prohibits
smoking within 20 feet of government building doorways.
- Connecticut: state laws mandate that
all state and municiple buildings, owned or leased are to
be 100% smoke free. However there are no regulations regarding
the distance from an entrnace that smoking can occur.
- Florida: Smoking is not allowed in any
state building. There are designated smoking areas outside
of most state buildings. Any employee who violates this
policy is guilty of a non-criminal violation, punishable
by disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, and/or
The campus is not smokefree; however, we do have entrance
It is 100% smoke-free indoors - the Florida Clean Indoor
Air Act (FCIAA) prohibits smoking in all enclosed indoor
workplaces. All Department of Health employees are made
aware of policy. Should someone violate the law, it should
be reported to the program office responsible for enforcement
of the FCIAA.
- Indiana: According to the ISDH New Employee
Orientation Manual, the office building is smoke free. However,
the building owner has provided an employee smoking lounge
in the lower level. Employees, customers, and visitors are
not to block the entrance. When taking breaks outside, employees
should not stand under the canopy covering the entry to
the building. No smoking is permitted anywhere in the off
site buildings that house Medical Science and Weights &
Measures. Both locations have landlord provided smoking
- Michigan: Executive Order 1992-3 issued
by then Governor John Engler requires smoke-free policies
for all facilities owned, leased and operated by the Executive
branch of government. This includes the state health department
as well as all government facilities excluding the state
capital. The Executive Order prohibits the use of tobacco
products (including spit tobacco) in all regulated facilities.
This policy covers indoor areas of regulated facilities.
The Order requires Department Heads and Administrators to
designate a reasonable distance away from buildings in which
smoking can be allowed. This distance varies based on the
location of each building. The majority of state buildings
have a 25 foot restriction. The Department of Corrections
have a designation of 100 to 500 feet. If the facility is
owned by the state, all leasing occupants are required to
follow the policy. Due to accreditation standards, Michigan's
local health Departments and satellite offices are smoke-free.
- Missouri: the state clean indoor air
law of 1992 states in Section 191.767. 4. RSMo: "A
designated smoking area where state employees may smoke
during the work day shall be provided by each state executive
department and institution of higher education, provided
such area can be adequately ventilated at minimum cost,
within the physical confines of each facility." The
Missouri Dept of Health tried an enclosed smoking lounge
with a vent directly to the outside, it was quickly evident
that very strong smoke odors were noticeable upon entering
the building. The Dept then issued a no-smoking policy for
its buildings since such area could not be adequately ventilated
at minimum cost.
Smokers then congregated at entrances, which caused complaints
from nonsmoking employees and visitors. The policy was amended
to move the smokers away from entrances. At our current
main campus, smokers are very visible to the public as they
sit at picnic tables in various areas of the parking lot
and as they walk around the campus on breaks. This sends
an incongruent message to visitors that the Health Dept
doesn't practice what it preaches about tobacco use.
Almost two years ago, our program has requested the policy
be amended further to consider a tobacco free campus as
first choice; or to move the smoking areas out of the public
eye as a second choice. A couple of reminders have been
sent. There's been no official reply. An unofficial reply
was that Section 191.767.4 cited earlier prevents the Health
Dept from having a tobacco-free campus policy. Our response
is that this law applies only to indoor areas and has no
jurisdiction for outdoor areas of state facilities. We now
have a new Dept Director and we shall again approach the
subject in the near future.
Agencies that we contract with [e.g. county health depts]
are required to have tobacco-free indoor areas, but not
- Nebraska: Here is a copy of Nebraska
statute that covers state buildings including the Nebraska
Health and Human Services System offices:
(4) Smoking is prohibited in all vehicles owned or
leased by the state and in all buildings, and the area
within ten feet of any entrance of such buildings, which
are owned, leased, or occupied by the state except as
provided in subsections (5), (6), and (7) of this section.
(5) The following buildings or areas within buildings
in which persons reside or lodge may be exempt from
this section: (a) Nebraska veterans homes established
pursuant to section 80-315; (b) private residences;
(c) facilities and institutions under the control of
the Department of Health and Human Services; and (d)
overnight lodging facilities and buildings managed by
the Game and Parks Commission, but no more than twenty-five
percent of the overnight lodging facilities at each
park location shall permit smoking.
(6) Designated smoking areas not to exceed fifty percent
of the space used by the public may be established in
state-owned buildings at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds
that possess a Class C, I, or M license for the sale
of alcoholic liquor for consumption on the premises
under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act.
(7) Smoking may be permitted in no more than forty percent
of the residential housing rooms or units owned or leased
on each campus under the control of the Board of Regents
of the University of Nebraska or the Board of Trustees
of the Nebraska State Colleges.
- New Jersey: There is no smoking in any
health department building. This was implemented about 15
years ago by a very progressive Commissioner, Molly Coye.
This has remained in effect to this day.
There was the issue of smokers right by the entrance to
the Health an Agriculture building. Recent Commissioners
have reenforced the policy that smoking can only be at the
sides and back of the building where there are no entrances
and thus no need for people to walk through the clouds of
smoke. The entire campus has not been declared smoke-free.
Prior governor Florio required that all State departments
to have smoke-free buildings in 1992 and this has been done.
It has worked well, aside from discussions of whether a
garage was part of the building and smoking in the residential
sections of prisons. Over time these have resolved in favor
of smoke-free including prison residential areas. No campuses
are required to be smoke-free.
- Nevada: All state buildings are 100%
smoke-free, but there are no entrance restrictions specific
to the building where my office is located. We keep moving
the ashtray, but that doesn't stop smokers from hovering
near the door. When they are asked to move away from the
door they do so, but that has been difficult to monitor
since there is no policy to back it up.
- Ohio: Currently, smoking is prohibited
in all state-owed or leased buildings. At the state health
department, we also do not allow smoking in doorways, but
since our doors open onto the sidewalks, the only area we
have control over is the 2 foot alcove in front of each
door. There is a parking garage attached to one of our buildings
and smoking is allowed there since it is more or less open
to the outside. Smoke does get into the building from the
doors leading to the garage. I understand the the Department
of Administrative Services, which administers our building
is looking into this, but it is still a problem.
- Oklahoma: the Oklahoma State Department
of Health has had a NO TOBACCO USE policy for all of our
approximately 104 campuses since January 1, 2002. This includes
all grounds of our facilities. Not just smoking. Not just
inside. Not just within a certain distance of entrances.
It also applies to our vehicles. And to private vehicles
on Health Department property.
Our rationale for the outdoor restrictions was based primarily
on this agency's commitment to set a good example for communities
throughout this state in our comprehensive campaign to reduce
the effects of our state's number one public health problem,
rather than justifying it on any specific set of scientific
observations or conclusions regarding secondhand smoke exposure
as we had done previously for prohibiting smoking indoors.
Prior to the Health Department taking this bold step, few
others had done so in Oklahoma. Since then, other places---including
many of our Oklahoma hospitals---have voluntarily made their
entire campuses 100% tobacco-free zones.
In 2002 our State Board or Health promulgated rules establishing
smokefree zones outside entrances---including the entire
walkways to the main entrances---of hospitals, nursing homes,
residential care facilities and assisted living centers.
Four months after the Oklahoma State Department of Health's
new policy, in April 2002 the state legislature voted to
make all state owned or operated buildings smokefree effective
July 1 of that year! This included all space within 25ft.of
any entrance, exit or air intake. (There was an allowance
for just one smoking room per building. But no public business
can be performed in it, and it must be fully enclosed, separately
ventilated and under negative air pressure.)
One year later, when the legislature extended the ban to
nearly all Oklahoma workplaces effective September 1, 2003,
the 25-ft. rule was also applied to all county and city
owned or operated facilities. However, the smokefree entrance
was not required for most of the newly covered private workplaces.
However, restaurants, which were given 30 months (until
March 1, 2006, just 288 days from now) to comply, must establish
a 15-ft smokefree zone outside all public entrances when
the law becomes effective for them.
Our agency's policy has been a great success. You can learn
more about Oklahoma's laws at our web site www.breatheeasyok.com.
- Oregon: The Oregon Department of Administrative
Services owns and operates most state buildings (including
the building that houses state public health). They allow
agencies to set their own policies for outdoor smoking .
For the public health building, the rule is no smoking within
25 feet of building entrances.
- Rhode Island: All buildings 100% smokefree
and smoke cannot migrate back into the building. (Rules
and regulations recommend 50 feet but it is only a recommendation,
added at the insistence of many callers.) All public buildings
and workplaces smokefree.
Health Dept. Policy: No smoking within 25 feet of building.
Smoking picnic tables in the 25 feet area and beyond.
- Texas: Texas Department of State Health
Services just issued a new policy clarifying and strengthening
restrictions. DSHS property will be tobacco free. Property
not controlled by DSHS may still have designated tobacco
use areas. Staff will not be permitted to use tobacco in
any other location, including building entrances, parking
lots, or other sites now used for smoking. A second difference
is that locations of such designated tobacco-use areas "will
comply with all applicable laws and will not be visible
from main public entrances." Third, the policy prohibits
employees and persons working or living on DSHS property
from using tobacco products on non-state property contiguous
to DSHS property, such as the sidewalk or street adjacent
to DSHS buildings. Finally, the policy prohibits the use
of tobacco products by DSHS employees while in the performance
of their official duties in the presence of a client or
a patient in the care of DSHS.
- Tennessee: Smoking policy states “Smoking
is permitted inside a building only in a designated area
unless prohibited by law. The law governing smoking in indoor
facilities providing children’s services is Public
Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994. The law requires
that smoking not be permitted in any portion of an indoor
facility used routinely for the delivery of services to
children if the services are funded directly or indirectly
with federal dollars. Thus, smoking is prohibited in any
local health departments and in regional offices in which
clinic services are delivered. Also, smoking is prohibited
in the Laboratory Services Building due to potential interference
of laboratory testing.
Smoking is not permitted within the area of the office building
doorways. Smoking is permitted on state grounds provided
it occurs beyond 50 feet of the building entrances or in
the external “designated smoking areas”. Employees
who choose to smoke within the permitted areas must do so
on regularly scheduled breaks and meal periods. Rule 1120-6-08
of the rules of the Tennessee Department of Personnel, provides
that “appointing authorities may allow employees two
15 minute paid rest breaks during each workday”. These
breaks should not be divided into smaller segments of time
to allow for multiple breaks.”
- Washington: Smoking is banned in all
Washington State buildings and vehicles per Governor's Executive
Order 88-06 (1988). This includes all facilities owned,
operated, and/or leased by the state and therefore applies
to all satellite offices/locations. Smoking is banned in
all office work environments in Washington. In addition
state Department of Health requires smokers be 25 feet away
from all entrances of DOH buildings.
- West Virginia: Code of State Rules 64-73-9.5
: "The board (of health) shall establish a policy prohibiting
smoking or the use of smokeless tobacco in the local health
department." Click here
for entire position statement.
- Americans for Nonsmokers Rights: there
really is no basis for specific distance numbers. Our model
ordinance states 10-25 feet, but that's arbitrary. The key
is to find the number that works best for a particular community,
without going overboard. Example: Las Cruces, New Mexico
had a smokefree ordinance on the ballot. They lost solely
because they had a 50-foot distance provision, which in
Las Cruces would have meant that smokers had to smoke in
the street. The important thing is that people are protected
walking in and out, and from smoke entering through windows.
- Campaign for Tobacco Free Kid: I'm unaware
of any science on this specific topic. I think it's borne
from people who have achieved success in indoor environments
and now that all the smokers are outside, don't want to
walk through all the smoke outside to get inside - I don't
think it's more scientific than that. And in many locations
where this is an issue, we often have not fought it vigorously
since I think we have often concluded that it makes us look
too extreme (we got the smoke out from indoors and now you're
going to force people literally into the street). I've never
heard of a 50 foot boundary and would imagine that would
put people literally on the other side of the street from
their own building.
- California: Twenty feet was the selected
distance for the outdoor law from discussions with experts
who felt that this is a safe enough distance to protect
- Florida: The supporting elements could
possibly be found through a number of resources such as
American Cancer Society, Centers of Disease Control, National
Cancer Institute, etc. We cannot provide scientific evidence
on entryway smoking and square footage. The square footage
away from an entryway is at the discretion of the person
- Michigan: The designated foot rule was
implemented to remove smoking from entrances, windows and
ventilation systems. While the foot rule may work in some
instances, in other it can be a problem. For example, a
designated foot rule of 50' may place individuals on the
property of another business or in the middle of a busy
street. With the exception of health facilities, I would
suggest designated outside areas that are located a distance
away from entrances, windows and ventilation systems. Designated
outside areas are easy to enforce because you simply tell
individuals where smoking is allowed.
- Washington: The 25 foot distance was
chosen for our buildings to ensure that smoking would not
occur under any overhang or recessed area that might trap
smoke and allow it into the building.
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