Regulation and Rulemaking
Rulemaking Authority
Lessons from the Field
Case Study
Athletic Facilities
Buffer Zones
Cigar Bars
Day Care
Duties of Proprietors
Employee (defined)
Enclosed (defined)
Gaming Facilities
Governmental Cooperation (Comity)
Health Care Facilities
Native American Ritual Tobacco Use
Non-Preemption Clause
Outdoor Areas
Patios and Other Outdoor Seating
Place of Employment
Private Clubs
Retail Tobacco Stores
Rulemaking Authority
Smoking (defined)
Health Benefits
Economic Impact
Legal Issues
Developing Smokefree Implementation Regulations
Introduction to Smokefree Rulemaking
Implementation Language
Background for Lawyers
Timeline and Tools
About Us
Contact Us
The following is a suggested timeline for implementation planning, including developing effective rules, procedures, and forms. If you are new to implementation and rulemaking, start with our Introduction to smokefree rulemaking and Implementation Fact Sheet, and keep in mind that each state has its own unique rulemaking requirements. As in the case of public education, it is best to plan as far ahead as possible for the rulemaking process.

As you begin to plan, consider what size budget will be available for implementation - there is a wide range from state to state (For implementation cost estimates, see our Cost Memo). While rulemaking itself is not expensive, it can require a small budget to hire an outside hearing officer or publish the notice of proposed rulemaking.

Three Months Before the Effective Date (or earlier, if possible)

Research the rulemaking process in your state using our Checklist. Click here to request assistance with the rulemaking process, drafting and related issues.
  • Meet with legal staff.
    Contact the health department's legal staff (or the attorney general's office) to identify the state's legal requirements for rulemaking, such as where proposed rules must be published and what records must be kept. Use our Background for lawyers to educate legal staff about secondhand smoke and the history of tobacco policy.
  • Engage stakeholders.
    To ensure effective implementation education and enforcement, and support the rulemaking process, contact enforcement agencies and other stakeholders and communicate with this network before, during and after the effective date of your law. Stakeholders may include:
    • Enforcement agencies.
    • Licensing and inspection agencies (e.g., fire departments, alcohol control, or assisted living inspection agencies).
    • Quitline and cessation staff.
    • State and local tobacco control coalitions.
    • Voluntary health agencies.
  • Build grassroots support.
    It's important to secure community buy-in and build grassroots support for implementation rulemaking by reaching out to and educating state and local tobacco control coalitions, local health departments, nonsmokers' rights advocates, health department contractors, supportive business owners, and local elected officials.
  • Take advantage of available technical assistance and training.
    In particular, it can be helpful to connect with peers in other states that have already implemented smokefree laws. Training for health department and enforcement agency staff, especially following staff turnover, can also be helpful.
  • Identify issues.
    Once you've reviewed your smokefree law, consulted with the lawyers, and brought together other stakeholders like the business community, identify any potential issues or needs that can be addressed by regulations. These may include adding details to statutory language or developing forms and procedures. See our Checklist for a list of common implementation issues.
  • Draft rules.
    Once you've determined what issues should be addressed in proposed regulations, research implementation language. Click here to request assistance in identifying effective language or other rulemaking support

Public Education

  • Smokefree website.
    One of the most effective ways to support smokefree implementation is to build a comprehensive smokefree website. Start with the language of your smokefree law, and then add a media newsroom, public relations and educational materials, Frequently Asked Questions (for example see Hawaii's Smokefree FAQ's), information on filing a complaint, and links to Quitline or other cessation resources. There are many examples of great smokefree websites, including: and
  • Hotline.
    Set up a telephone hotline to answer questions about the new law. Develop a hotline script with information on the effective date, how to comply, smokefree signage, filing a complaint, and enforcement.
  • Advertising.
    Place paid ads in newspapers, on buses, bus shelters, and billboards, and on radio and television. Keep the message positive: "All workers have a right to smokefree air," "Smokefree: It's good for health and good for business," "Hundreds of cities and states have already gone smokefree." Highlight positive stories from smokefree businesses. Many examples can be found on our national and state links page.
  • Cessation.
    Identify Quitlines and other state and local smoking cessation resources to help smokers who are encouraged to quit by the new law. For comprehensive strategies to integrate cessation into smokefree implementation, see the North American Quitline Consortium's Policy Playbook.  

Business Education

  • Business Education Kit.
    One of the most useful implementation tools is a user-friendly packet for business owners and managers. These kits often focus on the hospitality industry because more office workplaces are already smokefree. Kits may include:
    • The requirements of the law and the duties of business proprietors, in clear, simple language.
    • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
    • Indoor and outdoor No Smoking signage.
    • Smokefree napkins or coasters.
    • How to report a violation.
    • State and local Quitline and other cessation information.

  • Employers' letter.
    Send a letter to bar owners and other employers informing them of the new law, its effective date, enforcement procedures, etc.
  • Business forum.
    Hold a business forum to discuss the upcoming smokefree law and answer any questions or concerns. Invite supportive business owners to provide real-world testimonials on the benefits to employee and business health. Make sure to include accurate information on the economic impact of smokefree laws to counter any misinformation that businesses may receive. Follow up with a brief overview of the law, enforcement, and violations. Leave plenty of time for questions and answers.


  • Baseline research.
    Consider what types of evaluation you want to conduct, and determine what baseline research will be needed before the effective date. Certain types of evaluation, such as before-and-after indoor air quality testing, are relatively easy to conduct and very effective. Beyond assessing the impact of a new law, evaluation can provide opportunities for media advocacy and feedback to policy makers. For a comprehensive toolkit on evaluating smokefree policy, see CDC's Evaluation Toolkit.


One Month Before the Effective Date

  • Media Advocacy.
    Generate positive media coverage about the new law through letters to the editor, op. ed. pieces, and radio call-in shows. For examples of positive messaging, click here. Generate excitement about the new law and prevent or calm unfounded fears about how the law will impact business by emphasizing the extensive evidence that smokefree laws cause no economic harm. Include the hotline number and Web address for additional information.
  • Signage.
    Make sure that restaurants, bars and other businesses follow through and post "No Smoking" signs before the effective date. This is one of the simplest, and most effective, ways of ensuring successful implementation.
  • Countdown to Smokefree Air.
    Create a buzz in your community with a well-placed billboard counting down the number of days left until the effective date, place ads in the local paper noting the countdown, or use other paid or free media.


Effective Date

  • Press release.
    Release a positive media statement the day before implementation day, including the hotline number and Web address for more information, and the names of spokespeople available for interviews. Continue to submit letters to the editor as the effective date approaches. Make sure any spokespersons are prepared with positive talking points.
  • Plan a celebration.
    The media will be out in full force on the effective date - be sure to invite them to a celebration at a smokefree bar or nightclub. Make sure that you and other smokefree supporters are out supporting businesses and that the media know where to find you.
  • Reach out to businesses.
    Visit businesses in person to answer any questions they may have and to make sure that "No Smoking" signs have been posted. Meeting face-to-face with business owners who may be resistant to the new law and opening the door to communication can improve compliance and prevent opposition.


After the Effective Date

  • Thank the legislature.
    Send a final Thank You letter to legislators or city council members for passing the smokefree law. This is a time when they may be asked to weaken the law. Encourage them to keep the law intact and strong.
  • Respond to misinformation.
    Be prepared to hear anecdotes in the media about restaurants or bars losing business - typically generated by the tobacco industry. Counter with solid facts and real local stories about successful smokefree venues. Based on a large body of economic impact research from around the world, you can confidently make the case that new smokefree laws will have no negative economic impact.
  • Media Advocacy.
    Conduct media advocacy as evidence grows that the new law is beneficial to workers and public health, and has caused few (or no) problems. Publicize the results of any completed studies, such as those testing indoor air quality, showing the positive impact of the new law.


One Year Anniversary

  • Celebrate success.
    Host a one-year anniversary party for your new law. Take time out to congratulate yourself and all of the organizations and individuals involved in the passage and implementation of the new law. Get local media attention and focus on how well the law is going, and how the law is improving public health!
  • Close loopholes.
    Share information with policy makers on any weaknesses in the smokefree law that have been identified during the law's first year, either through practical experience or studies conducted as part of evaluation.
  • Keep up the drumbeat.
    Conduct ongoing research and media advocacy on the success of the new law. Continue to release new studies on public opinion, air quality, health and economics to demonstrate long-term success. Distribute annual press releases summarizing the positive impact of smokefree policy on health, including smoking cessation.


A more detailed implementation timeline can be found here.