Yippee!!  New Jersey will be officially SMOKE FREE in April.

Here are the details…

The New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act was passed overwhelmingly by the New Jersey Legislature.  The Senate vote, in December 2005, was 29 to 7.  The Assembly vote, in January 2006, was 64 to 12.  Governor Codey will sign the legislation January 15, 2006.  It goes into effect 90 days later, April 15, 2006.

The Act says, “The Legislature finds and declares that ... tobacco smoke constitutes a substantial health hazard to the nonsmoking majority ... and it is clearly in the public interest to prohibit smoking in all enclosed indoor places of public access and workplaces.”

The law requires smokefree environments in essentially all indoor workplaces and places open to the public including places of business and service-related activities.  It includes:

* offices, factories, commercial buildings and facilities, and government facilities
* restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres
* bowling alleys, sports facilities, race tracks, bingo sites
* shopping malls and retail stores
* all elementary and secondary schools, child care facilities, museums, places of worship
* health care facilities and offices, nursing homes
* hotels, public transportation vehicles and stations and platforms, parking garages
* apartment building lobbies and public areas in other private buildings.

It also prohibits smoking on the ground of any public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school.

There are only a few exceptions.  Smoking may be permitted in:

* the gaming area of a casino that contains at least 150 stand-alone slot machines, or 10 table games, or some combination thereof approved by the Casino Control Commission;
* an area within a casino simulcasting facility with a simulcast counter and dedicated seating for at least 50 simulcast patrons or at least 10 table games;
* a cigar bar or lounge that is entirely enclosed and separately ventilated, and that was in existence and generated 15% or more of its annual gross income from tobacco products sales and humidor rentals before December 31, 2004, and which has not expanded or changed its location since 2004 (plus additional restrictions);
* a tobacco retail establishment in which at least 51% of business is the sale of tobacco products and accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental;
* any tobacco business where the testing of a cigar or pipe tobacco by burning or smoking is a necessary and integral part of the manufacturing, etc.

Additionally, a hotel or motel may, but need not, permit smoking in a maximum of 20% of its guest rooms.

Enforcement is by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services or the local board of health.  A person having control of an indoor workplace or public place shall order any person smoking in violation of the act to comply.  A person who smokes in violation is subject to a minimum fine of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. 

An indoor public place or workplace in violation of the act, that fails to comply with the act following written notice, is subject to minimum fine of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.  In addition, the court may order immediate compliance with the provisions of the act.

Municipalities may enact ordinances which provide restrictions on or prohibitions against smoking equivalent to, or greater than, those provided under this law.

Posted by SPN on 01/15 at 05:37 PM in Blogging

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