Ohio's Smoke Free Workplace Act was implemented in 2006 and requires places of employment and public places to be smoke free. Violations of the Smoke Free Workplace Act are investigated and enforced by the Smoke Free Workplace Program in the Bureau of Regulatory Operations at the Ohio Department of Health.
Ohio Smoke-Free Workplace Act
Ohio voters approved a smoking ban in November of 2006 which prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment. The ban provides a statewide minimum standard of protection from the health hazards associated with exposure to secondhand smoke.
Enforcement of the ban by the Ohio Department of Health became effective May 3, 2007. Many of Ohio’s local health departments have partnered with the Ohio Department of Health to help provide enforcement of the law and rules, and have been designated to enforce the Smoking Ban in certain areas of Ohio.
A Report of Violation Prompts an Investigation
A report of a smoking violation is necessary to prompt an investigation by the Ohio Department of Health. If you witness a violation of the smoking ban, report the violation to the Ohio Department of Health for investigation by calling 1-866-559-OHIO (1-866-559-6446), emailing NoSmoke@odh.ohio.gov, or entering the complaint online. Additional information about filing a complaint is available on our Filing a Complaint page.
The law prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting a violation, against businesses for enforcing the law, and against professionals for enforcing the law. A report of retaliation will also be followed up with an investigation. While anonymous complaints are permitted, it will be necessary to provide contact information when reporting retaliation so the report can be thoroughly investigated.
The smoke free workplace law does not prohibit smoking outdoors, and does not specify a distance from an entrance or exit that smoking can occur. However, smokers must stand far enough away from the door of a building that smoke does not enter the building. If smoke is entering the building a report of violation can be made for infiltration. You may obtain more information by viewing the Smoke Free Workplace FAQ.
The smoking law gives proprietors the right to declare a No Smoking area by posting a No Smoking sign in accordance with the law section 3794.06 of the Ohio Revised Code. The sign should define the No Smoking areas (e.g. within 25’ of a door or window) and provide a phone number to report violations (not the state enforcement line). Detailed information for signage and sample signs are available for download on our Smoke Free Workplace Signs page.
While local municipalities and proprietors are permitted to enact laws that are more stringent than the Ohio Smoke Free Workplace Law, enforcement of these laws is not conducted under the state law. To obtain more information on municipalities and counties with smoke free local laws and ordinances, please view our County and Local Municipalities Smoke Free page.
In addition to the patio and sign information provided below, work sites can learn more about the Smoke Free Workplace Act, the costs of smoking to businesses, and access Model Indoor Smoke Free and Model Campus Smoke Free policies on our Information for Worksites page.
Additional information for worksite requirements to enforce to Smoke Free Workplace Act, is available on our Worksite Enforcement page.
The Smoke Free Workplace Act includes exemptions for a variety of locations that meet specific requirements, Exemptions may include retail tobacco stores, private residences, nursing home resident's individual rooms, hotel/motel rooms, and research laboratory areas utilized for smoking based research. You can learn more about exemptions at the following:
To be exempt from regulation, a covered outdoor patio must not have more than two walls and be at least 50 percent open. An uncovered outdoor patio may have walls on all four sides. The outdoor patio must allow thorough, unobstructed circulation of air to all areas of the patio, must be physically separated from an enclosed area(s) and smoke must not migrate into the No Smoking area(s) from the patio.
Analyses of the Impact of Ohio's Smoke-Free Workplace Act
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released a collection of five reports on Sept. 1, 2011 that analyzed the health, behavioral and economic impacts of the statewide smoking ban.
The Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program actively assists Ohioans with information about the clean indoor air act. For questions concerning Smoke-Free Ohio, call 1-866-634-7654. To report a violation of Ohio’s clean indoor air act, call 1-866-559-6446.