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Exemptions From the Smoke-Free Law in Ohio

Private residences are not required to be nonsmoking except:

  • When being used as a business, such as child care or adult care facility for compensation

  • When being used as a business in which employees who are not residents of the private residence or are not related to the owner enter the business

  • When the general public is permitted to enter the business during business hours, regardless of whether by walk-in or appointment

Common areas of multi-family homes must be no smoking areas, but smoking may be allowed in individual rooms, apartments or on outdoor patios.

An outdoor patio that does not have a roof/overhead covering, or has a roof/overhead covering but has no more than two walls so that the sides are at least 50 percent open, is exempt from the smoking ban.

Nursing homes are permitted to allow smoking in individual patient rooms.  They are also permitted to designate an indoor smoking area - if it is separately ventilated and smoke does not enter the no smoking areas.  Only residents are permitted to use the indoor smoking area, and employees cannot be required to accompany a resident into a designated indoor smoking area or perform services in such an area when it is in use for smoking.

Hotels, motels and lodging facilities may designate as many as 20 percent of sleeping rooms for smoking. The other 80 percent of sleeping rooms and all other areas such as common areas, meeting rooms and offices, etc. must be no smoking areas.

Family-owned businesses MAY permit smoking if all of the following are true:

  • All employees are relatives of the owner

  • Enclosed areas are not open to the public

  • Smoke from the place of employment does not migrate into any no smoking areas

  • It must be the only business located in a free-standing structure

A retail tobacco store may apply for exemption annually. Learn about retail tobacco store exemptions  here.