Smoke-Free Grounds Policies for State Health Department or State Government Properties - 5/19/08
Q: Maryland’s State Health Department is considering a smoke-free grounds policy and would like to know how many other states already have smoke-free grounds and whether their policies cover just health departments or all state government properties. Additionally, they want to know how states that do have policies go about enforcement (if at all). This information is needed as soon as possible.
Note: In December 2007, a similar Help Your Peers question regarding tobacco-free campus policies was submitted by the Oregon Dept. of Human Services Tobacco Prevention & Education Program. Responses to “Examples and lessons learned of state agency tobacco-free campus policy” can be viewed by clicking here.
- Alabama: Alabama does not have a policy that restricts smoking on government grounds or health department grounds. We do have a couple of health departments that have implemented smoke-free grounds on their own.
- Arizona: The Arizona Department of Health Services enforces the Smoke-Free Arizona Act which prohibits smoking in most enclosed public places and places of employment and within 20 feet of entrances. This is a decision of the Director rather than administrative code or law. There have not been any significant enforcement issues. This is an agency policy and is explained during the orientation for new ADHS employees. We ask the employees, visitors and contractors to adhere to the policy. In addition, the policy is available on the intranet.
- Arkansas: The Arkansas Department of Health has smoke-free campus policies and it covers all campuses – including all of the local health units around the state. I do not know if it covers all state government properties – but I don’t think so, as the legislative offices have their separate smoke-free policy implementation. Our enforcement is by signage, peer pressure and I think it can be enforced by personnel disciplinary reports.
- California: A law, which went into effect January 1 of 2004, amended California Government Code, Sections 7596-7598, to prohibit smoking within 20 feet of a main entrance, exit, and operable window of all public buildings (buildings owned and occupied, or leased and occupied by the state, county, or city) as well as buildings on the campuses of the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California community colleges. With the implementation of signage this law became mostly self enforcing with a significantly high compliance rate. Maryland had mentioned that they were looking into smoke-free health campuses so I don't know if California's law would be very helpful. But, California has been providing TA to Kaiser Permanente at the national level as they institute a smoke-free campus policy for all of their health centers in Ohio, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, California, etc. Please see the Kaiser Permanente Smoke-Free Policy.
- Maine: Maine State Government has a basic “smoking policy” that complies with relevant state law (The Workplace Smoking Act of 1985). The policy is part of the Bureau of Human Resources Policy and Practices Manual; please see section 9.5.
In Maine, state law can be exceeded by the development and implementation of policies that are stricter than state statute and that is indeed the case with the area referred to as “The Capitol Complex” which has its own “Capitol Complex Smoking Policy” which was adopted and publicized on January 18th, 2001. Please see this policy by clicking here.
In addition, some of Maine’s state agencies have adopted policies specific to the agency and applicable statewide. One such policy is the one adopted for all of the Department of Health and Human Service, and can be viewed by clicking here.
As is usually the case, when appropriate signage is in place, most individuals comply with policies. We do have a Tobacco Control Coordinator in Maine, John Archard (202-626-8837), who is housed at Maine’s Attorney General’s office. He has a clear multi-step system for responding to reports of violations, including a system for inspecting reported violations and that system is helpful. It begins with education and can step up to court system interventions.
- Minnesota: See the Minnesota Department of Health's Smoke-free Grounds Policy. Managers and supervisors enforce the policy and ensure that all employees are aware of the Policy and understand it. In terms of monitoring compliance with the policy, managers and supervisors are to investigate and take appropriate corrective action, up to and including disciplinary action when violations of the Policy are confirmed. The policy was sponsored by the Commissioner of Health and she saw to it that the policy was communicated to all staff, especially managers and supervisors. Anecdotally, it appears that MDH staff who smoke have followed the policy and it does not appear that there is a formal process to enforce the smoke-free grounds policy, thus there is no information regarding non-staff violators. The policy requires managers and supervisors to "investigate and take appropriate corrective action, up to and including disciplinary action when violations of Policy are confirmed." This said, it becomes a personnel issue which is confidential.
- Mississippi: Tobacco use is prohibited inside state government buildings in Mississippi. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Central Office campus is a tobacco-free environment. Additionally, all District Offices are tobacco-free. No tobacco use is permitted in or on the property of the campus/District Offices. MSDH Central Office campus became a tobacco-free campus on August 6, 2007, and the District Offices became tobacco-free environments on February 1, 2008. It is the intention of the MSDH to provide a tobacco-free environment at all outlying locations operated by the MSDH. As areas are designated tobacco-free, 30-day advance notification will be provided to employees to give them an opportunity to participate in tobacco cessation programs offered by the MSDH. Until such time as these locations are declared tobacco-free, designated smoking areas outside MSDH facilities should be located away from general public entrances or building air intake vents.
The MSDH Policy was issued in August 2007. A memo was issued to all MSDH personnel prior to the implementation of the policy at the Central Office Campus and the District Offices. This memo informed personnel of the policy and promoted tobacco cessation services (Quitline, Face-to-Face Counseling) available to assist employees who wanted to quit. The tobacco control program collaborated with the Director of Facilities/Property and the Office of Communications to post “tobacco-free campus” signs throughout campus to inform employees/visitors of the agency policy. To date, there have been no known issues of non-compliance.
- Nebraska: Nebraska does not have a comprehensive grounds policy - it's a building policy and 10 feet from entrances, but not the entire grounds.
- New Hampshire: New Hampshire does not have a policy in place.
- North Carolina: North Carolina has a state law that allows local health departments to ban tobacco use (not just smoking) up to 50 feet from their buildings. Each local health department has developed their own enforcement (if any). The law that applies to state buildings does not include outdoor space.
- Oregon: Oregon is in phase 1 of a multiphasic approach to tobacco free grounds for all Department of Human Services Buildings. See the Oregon Department of Human Services Tobacco-Free Campus Policy – Phase 1 that will go into effect on May 30, 2008.
- South Dakota: South Dakota has a tobacco-free buildings and grounds policy for all of state government property across the state (which is under the Governor's purview - basically all state property except the universities, which are under the Board of Regents). The policy is accessible by clicking here. Signs are posted on all property under this policy ("This is a tobacco-free property. Thank you for your cooperation."). Enforcement is to be handled the way that any other personnel policy is handled for employees (verbal warning, written warning, etc.). For visitors, the policy is "the shared responsibility of all Executive branch personnel. All employees are encouraged to communicate this policy with courtesy, respect, and diplomacy". Enforcement has really not been an issue.
- Texas: Please see the Texas Department of State Health Services Tobacco Use Policy. It applies only to our agency’s property. I would say that enforcement is a bit lax in some areas, however.
- Utah: Please see the Utah Department of Health Tobacco-Free Campus Policy.
- West Virginia: Please see the West Virginia Division of Personnel Smoking in the Workplace Policy.
- Wisconsin: The following Web link provides a description of Wisconsin’s statewide policy that was achieved through an executive order in 2005: Click here to view the policy. As with any policy, it seems as though it takes consistent and continual education to reinforce compliance with the policy.
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