- What does Vermont's 'Smoking in Public Places' law do?
- Where does the Smoking in Public Places Law not apply?
- Who enforces the law?
- What happens if the law is not obeyed?
- What are the penalties?
- Where can I get more information?
With certain exceptions, this law prohibits the possession of lighted tobacco products in the common areas of all enclosed indoor "places of public access" and "publicly owned buildings and offices."
- “A place of public access” means any place of business, commerce, banking, financial service, or other service-related activity, whether publicly or privately owned and whether operated for profit or not, to which the general public has access or which the general public uses, including buildings, offices, means of transportation, common carrier waiting rooms, arcades, restaurants, bars and cabarets, retail stores, grocery stores, libraries, theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, arenas, barber shops, hair salons, Laundromats, shopping malls, museums, art galleries, sports and fitness facilities, planetariums, historical sites, common areas of nursing homes, hospitals, resorts, hotels and motels, including the lobbies, hallways, elevators, restaurants, restrooms, cafeterias, and buildings or facilities owned or operated by a social, fraternal, or religious club. ( A separate Vermont law bans all tobacco use on the grounds of public schools.
- "Publicly owned buildings and offices" means enclosed indoor places or portions of such places that are owned, leased or rented by state, county or municipal governments, or by agencies supported by tax dollars.
The Vermont Smoking in Public Places Law is comprehensive and includes all places of public access.
The proprietor (owner), or the agent or employee of the proprietor, who observes a person in possession of a lighted tobacco product in apparent violation of this law must ask the person to extinguish it. If the person persists in the possession of the lighted tobacco product, the law directs the proprietor, agent or employee to ask the person to leave the premises. As in any case in which a person refuses to leave the premises, if the person refuses to comply, the person in charge may call a local law enforcement official or security officer for help. If a proprietor, agent or employee fails take the required action, a member of the public also may call a local law enforcement official for help.
It is assumed that all Vermont citizens and visitors to Vermont will (with proper warning) obey the law voluntarily. Every effort is made to obtain voluntary compliance. A person who is unlawfully in possession of a lighted tobacco product and a proprietor who does not take the actions required by the law are both subject to penalties for noncompliance.
Because the law is part of Title 18 of the Vermont Statutes (exit vdh) , which contains other health statutes, a health order may be issued, a civil court action may be brought, and a criminal penalty may be imposed for any violation of the law. If voluntary compliance cannot be obtained, the local selectboard, the local board of health, and the Vermont Department of Health all have the authority to bring enforcement actions. A civil penalty of up to $10,000 or a criminal fine of not more than $5,000 may be imposed for each violation. In addition, penalties may be imposed for violation of a health order or a court order, and any person who has been injured or damaged by a violation of Title 18 may bring an action for equitable relief or damages arising from such violations.
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street - P.O. Box 70
Burlington , VT 05402-0070
Toll-free From Within Vermont: 866-331-5622