Retail Tobacco Store Exemption from Smoke Free Workplace Act
The exemption for a retail tobacco store to allow smoking indoors is not automatic, and must be requested annually. Failure to respond to requests for information from the Ohio Department of Health results in automatic denial of exemption.
The Ohio Department of Health receives a signed/notarized affidavit from a business that is seeking exemption for that year. A questionnaire is sent to each business for which an affidavit is received that must be completed and returned to the Ohio Department of Health. Clarification or additional information (such as gross sales information for the previous year) may be requested from the business and must be sent to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health reviews all information provided and sends a letter to each business that either grants or denies exemption for one year.
Other Exemption Requirements
The business must meet the definition of a retail tobacco store in section 3794.01 of the Ohio Revised Code and rule 3701-52-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code:
The retail tobacco store must be the only business located in a freestanding building if the business is established after Dec. 7, 2006.
The retail tobacco store cannot be a department or section of another establishment in that building.
Smoke from a retail tobacco store (that has been granted exemption) must not migrate into an area where smoking is prohibited, such as a neighboring place of employment or public place. This can result in a finding of violation and/or loss of exemption status.
Additional information can be found in rule 3701-52-05 and its Appendix A to and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).