The ban was passed in order to protect the public from secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke, is a combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoke exhaled by smokers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
reports that secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances, many of which are known to cause cancer in humans. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General released a comprehensive report stating that there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.
The smoking ban, known as the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act (NCIAA), became statewide law on December 8, 2006.
As a result of the voters' mandate, smoking tobacco in any form now is prohibited within indoor places of employment, including, but not limited to: childcare facilities, movie theatres, video arcades; government buildings and public places; malls and retail establishments; all areas of grocery stores; all indoor areas within restaurants; and within school buildings and on school property.
Smoking tobacco is not prohibited in areas within casinos where loitering by minors is already prohibited by state law; stand-alone bars, taverns, and saloons that do not require a permit to serve food; strip clubs and brothels; retail tobacco stores; private residences, including those which may serve as an office workplace, except if used as a childcare, an adult day care or a health care facility; and hotel and motel rooms, if allowed by the facility operator.
For more information on the smoking and tobacco laws in Nevada, refer to Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 202.2483.
Compliance with the ban is the responsibility of the owner, manager or operator of an area where smoking is prohibited. A reasonable effort to prevent smoking should be made by this individual or group of individuals. Health authorities, police officers of cities or towns, sheriffs and their deputies shall, within their respective jurisdictions, enforce the provisions
of the ban and shall issue citations for violations of the ban.
A person who is found to violate the ban is guilty of a misdemeanor, which generally carries a fine imposed by a judge. In addition, a person who violates this ban is liable for a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.
Please contact Environmental Health Services at 775-328-2434 with any questions you may have about enforcement and compliance.
For questions about the public health impact of the ban, call 775-328-2442.
Exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to numerous life-threatening diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces reduces exposure to secondhand smoke, thereby reducing the occurrence of these chronic illnesses. Research in communities that have implemented indoor smoking bans shows significant improvement to public health after the ban goes into effect. For example, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 40 percent in the six months following an indoor smoking ban in Helena, Montana; and, in Pueblo, Colorado, heart attacks declined 30 percent in 18 months after smoking was banned indoors.
Banning smoking in indoor spaces has been shown to have a positive impact for business owners in addition to the general community. Studies have shown that banning smoking in restaurants and bars can boost revenues and increase employment. For example, taxable sales receipts for bars and restaurants have increased every year in California since their smoking ban took effect in 2002. In New York City, tax receipts for restaurant and bars increased 8.7 percent, and employment increased by 10,600 jobs since their 2003 smoking ban went into effect; and, in Florida, retail sales for restaurants, lunchrooms, and catering services increased by 7.3 percent after a 2003 smoking ban. Florida's sales and employment in the hotel, restaurant, and tourism industries also were not hurt. Smoking bans in places of employment also have been shown to lower employee sick leave usage, health insurance costs, fire insurance rates, and cleaning costs.
Many studies have been conducted about the business impact of indoor smoking bans. For more information about these studies, please visit: tobacco.ucsf.edu.
The cost to comply with the law will vary for each business, but, in general, there are minimal costs. Employers must clearly and conspicuously post "No Smoking" signs in their facilities at every entrance. They also are required to remove all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from any area where smoking is prohibited. For some businesses, additional costs may be associated with the removal of built-in ashtrays or other smoking-related items.
Smokers play an important role in helping to implement the new law. First and foremost, it is now illegal for you to smoke indoors in a facility where smoking has been banned. Even if a "No Smoking" sign is not displayed there, you are still required by law to refrain from smoking. You should also not bring any ashtrays or items used as ashtrays into a facility where smoking is now banned. You may still smoke anywhere outside of a facility where smoking is now banned indoors. You may also still smoke indoors at the following types of businesses:
If you are uncertain about being able to smoke indoors, please ask the owner and/or manager of the facility first before smoking there. Your compliance with the new law helps protect non-smokers and children from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Your compliance also helps merchants meet their responsibilities under the new law. If you are asked by a representative of the business to refrain from smoking inside their facility, please do as they ask. It is the business's responsibility to enforce the new law in their establishment; if you are found smoking indoors at a location where smoking is now banned, then the business itself could be cited and required to pay a fine. You, too, could be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which generally carries a fine imposed by a judge. A person who violates this ban is also liable for a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.
- Areas within casinos where loitering by minors is already prohibited by state law;
- Stand-alone bars, taverns, and saloons that do not require a permit to serve food;
- Strip clubs and brothels;
- Retail tobacco stores;
- Private residences, including those which may serve as an office workplace, except if used as a childcare, an adult day care, or a health care facility; and
- Hotel and motel rooms, but only if allowed by the facility operator, so please ask the operator first before smoking there.
Sec. 2 (7) of the new law states that "Health authorities, police officers of cities or towns, sheriffs and their deputies shall, within their respective jurisdictions, enforce the provisions of this Act and shall issue citations for violations of this Act[.]" The Washoe County Health District is the health authority for Washoe County (per NRS 202.2485). Therefore, the Washoe County Health District is required by law to enforce the smoking ban.
Sec. 2 (9) (d) of the new law defines "public places" as "any enclosed areas to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted." If a business meets this definition, then smoking must be banned there indoors, regardless of how the facility is owned.
The law also defines a "place of employment" in Sec. 2 (9) (i) as "any enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer which employees frequent during the course of employment including, but not limited to, work areas, restrooms, hallways, employee lounges, cafeterias, conference and meeting rooms, lobbies and reception areas." Again, if a business meets this definition, then smoking must be banned indoors as described, regardless of how the facility is owned. The law does make an exception in Sec. 2 (3) (e) for private residences that serve as workplaces, except if they are being used as a childcare, adult day care, or health care facility.
Ashtrays or any items being used as an ashtray (e.g., beer bottles, coffee mugs, discarded trash, etc.) are considered smoking-related paraphernalia and must be removed from any area where smoking is prohibited. Merchants may still sell tobacco products.
Staff from the Environmental Health Services Division of the District Health Department have been conducting smoking ban compliance surveys during routine inspections since December 19, 2006. To date, an average 96.5% of permitted facilities were in compliance with the requirements set forth in the NCIAA during routine Environmental Health Services permit inspections.
No. The NCIAA states: "Smoking tobacco in any form is prohibited within indoor places of employment including, but not limited to, the following:
There are no provisions for allowing smoking, at any time, in any of the above locations.
- Child care facilities;
- Movie theatres;
- Video arcades;
- Government buildings and public places;
- Malls and retail establishments;
- All areas of grocery stores; and
- All indoor areas within restaurants."
Asking strangers, and sometimes even friends and family, to smoke outside can sometimes be stressful. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people are respectful and will abide by the law, if they are aware and reminded of it. Below are 4 ways to ask people who smoke to "take it outside". It may not be easy at first but you have the right and the responsibility to avoid secondhand smoke.
- As the business owner/manager to enforce the law: I thought this was a non-smoking business. Would you please ask them to smoke outside?
- Remind them of the law: Maybe you didn`t know, but Nevada law prohibits smoking in this area/building/business. Smoking is allowed outside.
- Be polite: I would like to ask a favor. Would you mind smoking outside? This is a non-smoking area.
- It is the smoke, not the smoker that is the problem: Would you not smoke right now? I`d really appreciate it.