Texas Smoking: What you need to know

Texas state law places few restrictions on smoking and does not specifically regulate smoking in public or private workplaces, including restaurants and bars. However, smoking is limited to designated areas in such public places as libraries, museums, public transportation vehicles, enclosed movie houses and theaters, and in elevators (TX Penal Code Sec. 48.01et seq.).

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Public schools. Students are prohibited from smoking or using tobacco products in schools, grounds, or on off-campus school-sanctioned activities. Smoking by adults is restricted to designated areas in school buildings.

Healthcare facilities. Smoking is restricted to designated areas in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Childcare facilities. Smoking is prohibited in licensed childcare centers, their playgrounds, and in vehicles and during field trips. Smoking is prohibited in private homes, garages, and play areas in private homes used for day care during hours of operation.

Posting. Notices of reasonable size must be posted wherever smoking is prohibited by law. The signs must state the penalties involved in violating the prohibitions.

Many cities, counties, and health districts in Texas have implemented smoke-free ordinances for public places or have confined smoking to posted, well-ventilated, smoking-permitted areas.

The University of Houston maintains a database of local ordinances at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/tobacco/ ordinance.shtm.

Some states have laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals because they are smokers or nonsmokers, but Texas does not have such a law.

Effective January 1, 2012, the state Employee Retirement System (ERS) is authorized to charge ...

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