Indiana Statewide Smoking Ban Effective July 1

June 7, 2012
Legal Updates

Indiana's first statewide smoking ban goes into effect on July 1, 2012.  The smoking ban prohibits smoking in places of employment, in public places, in government vehicles, and within 8 feet of a public entrance to a public place or place of employment.

The law defines place of employment as "an enclosed area of a structure that is a place of employment," but excludes private vehicles.  The smoking ban contains 11 exemptions, including bars, taverns, horse racing tracks, cigar bars, casinos, riverboats, hookah bars, nonprofit private clubs, fraternal clubs, and retail tobacco stores.  For exempt establishments, "conspicuous signs" must be posted in the establishment that read "WARNING:  Smoking Is Allowed In This Establishment" or other similar language.  Unless an employer falls within one of these 11 exemptions, the employer is covered by the smoking ban.

Employers and operators of public places subject to the smoking ban must inform their current and prospective employees of the smoking prohibition and remove all ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia from their premises.  Furthermore, covered employers and operators of public places must post conspicuous signs that read "Smoking Is Prohibited By State Law" or other similar language, as well as conspicuous signs at each public entrance that read "State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of this Entrance" or other similar language.  If an individual is found to be smoking in violation of the ban, the owner, operator, manager, or official in charge of the establishment or premises must ask the individual to refrain from smoking.  If that fails, the individual must be removed from the premises (e.g., with police assistance).

Inspections for compliance may be carried out by Indiana's Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, the State Health Department, local health departments, and law enforcement officers.  Individuals or establishments found in violation of the smoking ban can be fined or be subjected to a civil action.  In addition, the law prohibits discrimination, discharge, refusal to hire, and retaliation against persons who report a violation of the smoking ban or who exercise their rights under the smoking ban.

As a result of this new statewide smoking ban, employers should first determine whether or not they are exempt and post the required signage at their establishment.  Covered employers must also remove all ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia.  Employers should also review their existing handbooks to ensure that their policies and procedures are consistent with this new law.  Employers should further consider adding a notice of the smoking prohibition in their employee handbooks and employment applications.