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New law may have smokers fuming

By Staff | Jun 19, 2008

If you’ve been planning to quit smoking, about July 1 would be a good time to stop — especially if you work for a state, county, or city government.

According the the Smokefree Air Act, “Smoking is prohibited on ‘the grounds of any public buildings owned, leased, or operated by or under the control of state, county and city governments. This includes the grounds surrounding clubhouses, out buildings, maintenance shops, garages, or any other building on public golf course properties..”

Smoking is also prohibited in outdoor sports arenas and outdoor seating areas of restaurants.

So where can you smoke?

n Private residences.

n Designated hotel and motel rooms.

n Retail tobacco stores.

n Private and semiprivate rooms in long-term care facilities when all occupants have requested in writing to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted.

n Private clubs that have no employees.

n Outdoor areas that are places of employment except those areas where smoking is prohibited.

n Limousines under private hire.

n An enclosed area within a place of employment or public place that provides a smoking cessation program or a medical or scientific research or therapy program, if smoking is an integral part of the program.

n Farm tractors, farm trucks, and implements of husbandry when being used for their intended purposes.

n The gaming floor portion of casinos.

n The Iowa veterans home.

n Federally owned buildings, grounds, or vehicles.

“A state agency or political subdivision which inspects public places shall assess compliance with the requirements of these rules,” the new law states.

Delaine Hiney, executive director of facilities management at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, acknowledged that under the new law people can’t sit in their cars in the college parking lot and smoke. Smoking is also prohibited in the dorms, on the grounds, or in any public buildings. Smoking is also prohibited in outdoor sports arenas.

“The department (Iowa Department of Public Health) or its designee may initiate a civil action against an owner, operator, manager, or person who otherwise has custody or control of a place where smoking is prohibited,” the law states.

While the smoker who is issued a citation will be fined $50, the business or other entity could be fined $100 for the first offense and $200 for a second offense. Subsequent offenses would call for a $500 fine.

Complaints may be reported on the Smokefree Air Act Web site at www.IowaSmokefreeAir.gov or by calling the Smokefree Air Act Helpline at 1-888-944-2247 or by writing to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 321 E. 12th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-0075.