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Workplace Smoking Rules in Connecticut

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 22, 2012.

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Employers in Connecticut must comply with these state rules regulating smoking in the workplace.

Connecticut prohibits smoking in designated areas.

Employers covered: All employers are covered by Connecticut's smoking laws. Special rules apply to employers with less than five employees.

Written policy requirements: Employer policy not specified.

Posting requirements: In each room, elevator, area or building in which smoking is prohibited by law, the person in control of the premises must post in a conspicuous place signs stating that smoking is prohibited by state law. Signs, except in elevators, restaurants, establishments with permits to sell alcoholic liquor to consumers, hotels, motels or similar lodgings and health care institutions, must have letters at least four inches high with the principal strokes of the letters not less than one-half inch wide.

No smoking areas: Connecticut prohibits smoking:

  • in any building or portion of a building owned and operated or leased and operated by the state or any political subdivision of the state
  • in any area of a health care institution
  • in any area of a retail food store
  • in any restaurant
  • in any area of an establishment with a permit issued for the sale of alcoholic liquor, in any area of an establishment with a permit for the sale of alcoholic liquor issued after May 1, 2003, and, on or after April 1, 2004, in any area of an establishment with a permit issued for the sale of alcoholic liquor
  • within a school building while school is in session or student activities are being conducted
  • in any passenger elevator, provided that no person may be arrested for violating this subsection unless there is posted in the elevator a sign that indicates that smoking is prohibited by state law
  • in any dormitory in a public or private institution of higher education
  • in any area of a dog race track or a facility equipped with screens for the simulcasting of off-track betting race programs or jai alai games

Permitted smoking areas: The smoking prohibitions do not apply to:

  • correctional facilities
  • designated smoking areas in psychiatric facilities
  • public housing projects
  • classrooms where demonstration smoking is taking place as part of a medical or scientific experiment or lesson;
  • smoking rooms provided by employers for employees
  • the outdoor portion of the premises of any establishment with a permit issued for the sale of alcoholic liquor, an establishment with a permit for the sale of alcoholic liquor issued after May 1, 2003, and, on or after April 1, 2004, an establishment with a license issued for the sale of alcoholic liquor (However, in the case of any seating area maintained for the service of food, at least 75 percent of the outdoor seating capacity is an area in which smoking is prohibited and which is clearly designated with written signage as a nonsmoking area. Any temporary seating area established for special events and not used on a regular basis is not subject to the smoking prohibition or signage requirements.)
  • any tobacco bar

The operator of a hotel, motel or similar lodging may allow guests to smoke in not more than 25 percent of the rooms offered as accommodations to guests.

Employers with fewer than five employees in a business facility must establish one or more work areas, sufficient to accommodate nonsmokers who request to utilize such an area, within each business facility under its control, where smoking is prohibited. Employers must clearly designate the existence and boundaries of each nonsmoking area by posting signs that can be readily seen by employees and visitors. In the areas within the business facility where smoking is permitted, existing physical barriers and ventilation systems must be used to the extent practicable to minimize the effect of smoking in adjacent nonsmoking areas.

Employers with five or more employees must prohibit smoking in any business facility under the employer's control, except that an employer may designate one or more smoking rooms.

Employers that provide a smoking room must provide sufficient nonsmoking break rooms for nonsmoking employees.

A smoking room designated by an employer must meet the following requirements:

  1. Air from the smoking room must be exhausted directly to the outside by an exhaust fan, and no air from the room may be recirculated to other parts of the building;
  2. The employer must comply with any ventilation standard adopted by the Commissioner of Labor, the United States Secretary of Labor under the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, or the federal Environmental Protection Agency;
  3. The room must be located in nonwork area, where no employee, as part of his or her work responsibilities, is required to enter. Work responsibilities do not include any custodial or maintenance work carried out in the smoking room when it is unoccupied; and
  4. The room must be for the use of employees only.

Nothing in this law may be construed as to prohibit an employer from designating an entire business facility as a nonsmoking area.

This law does not require any smoking area in any building.

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