District of Columbia Smoking: What you need to know

The District of Columbia Smoke-Free Workplaces Law, officially called the Department of Health Functions Clarification Amendment Act of 2006, prohibits smoking in most public places, including District government buildings and places of employment (DC Code Sec. 7-731et seq.). Included in the ban are waiting rooms and reception areas; educational facilities; healthcare facilities; stores, grocery stores, malls, and other retail businesses; food preparation and distribution businesses; bars, bar areas of restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, and brew pubs; public transportation vehicles and facilities; theaters and sports arenas; and private homes when used for child care or day care.

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Exemptions. Exempted from the ban are retail businesses that primarily sell tobacco and accessories, tobacco bars, hotel and motel rooms designated as "Smoking Permitted," and facilities conducting medical research about tobacco. Exempted establishments must secure a certificate of exemption from the Department of Health (DOH).

Smoking outside of buildings. Building owners and managers or ground floor commercial tenants may post areas within 25 feet of outer walls or the distance to the far side of the public sidewalk as "smoking prohibited." DC Code Sec. 7-1701.

Workplaces. The Act requires that work areas in all businesses and other establishments with any employees be smoke-free, including hallways, restrooms, cafeterias and lounges, conference rooms and classrooms, and company vehicles when used by more than one person.

Workplace smoking policies. Employers must maintain, communicate, and post written smoking policies. Employers should refer to their smoking policies and the Act when dealing with employees or visitors who ...

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