The Smokefree Air Act was passed in 2008 to protect the health of employees and the overall health of Iowans from secondhand smoke. Even though we have successfully completed the first year of the Smokefree Air Act, we still may be left with a few unanswered questions. One question that may arise is, “Where does the Smokefree Air Act apply?”
It’s actually quite simple.
In accordance with the Iowa Department of Public Health, “The law prohibits smoking in all enclosed areas in places of employment.” This list would include but is not limited to restaurants, bars, public and private educational establishments, shopping malls, private offices, factories, hallways, restrooms and cafeterias.
So what happens if someone is caught smoking in these areas?
First and foremost it is the responsibility of the owner or person in charge of the business to inform the individual of the establishment’s smokefree status. The individual should be asked to extinguish their cigarette immediately or leave the premise with the product. If the individual refuses to leave, law enforcement may be called.
It is also important to realize that community members have the right and responsibility to file a complaint with the Iowa Department of Public Health if they observe an establishment that is not in compliance with the Smokefree Air Act. Complaints can include witnessing a patron or employee smoking in the establishment or observing ashtrays. Complaints can be filed at www.IowaSmokefreeAir.gov or by calling the Smokefree Air Act Helpline at 1-888-944-2247.
The Smokefree Air Act also requires the posting of “no smoking” signs at every entrance to a public place or place of employment and in every vehicle that is owned, leased or provided by an employer. These signs must include three items: The international “No smoking” symbol or the words “No Smoking”, the Smokefree Air Act website www.IowaSmokeFreeAir.gov, and the helpline phone number, 1-888-944-2247.
To hear more about the Smokefree Air Act or ways to become involved in your community regarding tobacco awareness contact Katie Bee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (563) 387-1720, ext. 110.