Updated effective July 24, 2003


New York State is one of many states that enacted law to protect workers, smokers among them, from being fired due to engaging in legal off-hours activities.  New York State employees are fortunate in this respect.  There are states that can refuse to hire you or choose to fire you if you smoke even while you are at home.  Be aware of what your rights are.

New Law Protects New York Employees From Discrimination Based on Legal Off-Duty Conduct

NOTE:  As of 1997 there are 28 states that legally prohibit employers from hiring/firing employees due to their off-work smoking status.  They are:  Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

Additional Note:  American Lung Association lists 31 as of May 2007


The way the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act is set up, any local government within the state can adopt anti-smoking regulations that are stronger than the state law but not weaker than the state law.


New York State Clean Indoor Air Act
Chapter 13
Regulation of Smoking in Public and Work Places


SUMMARY of CHAPTER 13 of 2003
NYS Clean Indoor Air Act

Where is smoking prohibited?

The Act, which goes into effect July 24, 2003, states that smoking shall not be permitted and that no person shall smoke in the following indoor areas:

• Places of employment;

• Bars;

• Restaurants;

• Enclosed indoor swimming areas;

• Public transportation, including all ticketing, boarding and waiting areas; buses, vans, taxicabs
  and limousines;

• All places of employment where services are offered to children;

• All schools, including school grounds;

• All public and private colleges, universities and other educational and vocational institutions;

• General hospitals;

• Residential health-care facilities, except separately designated smoking rooms for adult patients;

• Commercial establishments used for the purpose of carrying on or exercising any trade,
   profession, vocation or charitable activity;

• All indoor arenas;

• Zoos; and

• Bingo facilities.

Where is smoking permitted?

Smoking is permitted in the following areas or businesses:

• Private homes and private residences when not used for day care; private automobiles;

• Hotel or motel rooms rented to one or more guests;

• Retail tobacco businesses (primary activity is the retail sale of tobacco products and accessories,
  and the sale of other products is merely incidental);

• Membership associations where all duties related to the operation of the association are
  performed by volunteers who are not compensated in any manner;

• Cigar bars in existence prior to January 1, 2003 (where 10% or more of total annual gross income
  is from the sale of tobacco products); and

• Up to 25% of seating in outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or ceiling enclosure may be
  designated smoking areas.

How will the act be enforced?

The owner, manager or operator of an area open to the public, food service establishment, or bar, that is covered by this Act must make a reasonable effort to prevent smoking.

Should signs be posted?

Yes. “No Smoking” or “Smoking” signs or a sign with the international “no smoking” symbol on it must be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking is prohibited or permitted.

What are the penalties?

The enforcement officer for a city or county health department can assess a penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation. In areas where the State Health Department is the enforcement officer, a fine of up to $2,000 may be assessed.



Currently, you can find the following pdf files on the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene website (among other pieces of propaganda):

Smoke-Free Air Act - Provisions of Local Law 47 of 2002

Information For Business Owners

Dept. of Health Notice of Intent to Repeal & Reenact Chapter 10 of the Administrative Code


Before we provide you with the summary of this law, let's take a look at their statement as to why exactly the health zealots felt this law must be imposed:

Why the law is needed

"Tobacco use is the leading epidemic of our time, killing more than 440,000 people nationwide each year. In 2002, approximately 1,000 New Yorkers died because of exposure to second-hand smoke."

The current administration of intolerants have decided that in order to force smokers to behave (quit smoking) they will abuse their legislative power to make smoking as inconvenient as possible through smoking bans disguised as public health measures to "protect" nonsmokers.

They no longer try to even hide this blatantly clear experiment in social engineering because they are so convinced that they are righteous.

We also ask, WHERE ARE THE DEATH CERTIFICATES FOR THESE 1,000 NEW YORKERS WHO DIED?   We demand names!  Don't accept statements by government without proof to back them up.

of 2003
of 2002
NYC Smoke-Free Air Act
of 2003


(The following is strictly for historical and comparison purposes and for NYC owners to reference for NYC Dept. of Health guidelines as the enforcement agency.  Most of these prohibitions still apply as the new NYS law now mirrors the NYC law but important exemptions once afforded by the NYC law are now invalidated by the NYS law:  (1) Owner-operated bars are no longer exempt.  (2) Bars with small, separately ventilated enclosed smoking rooms are no longer allowed.)

What businesses are affected?

The law, which goes into effect on March 30, 2003, makes virtually all establishments and businesses with employees smoke-free. These include:

• All office buildings, factories, and warehouses.

• All private offices and previously designated “smoking lounges.”

• All food service establishments, restaurants, and catering halls.

• All bars, including bars in restaurants.

• Membership associations.

• All areas of theatres.

• Banks, educational and health care facilities, and child day care centers.

• Shopping malls and retail stores (where goods are sold or rented to the public).

• Sports arenas, roller and ice skating rinks, billiard parlors, bingo halls, bowling establishments, and other similar places.

• Public transportation facilities, reception areas, and waiting rooms.


The new law defines rare exceptions to the smoke-free policy, including:

• Tobacco bars that were in existence on December 31, 2001, that sell or rent tobacco products
and devices, and that derive 10% or more of their income from these sales or rentals;

• Owner-operated bars where there are no employees and where there are three or fewer
principal owners who each hold at least a 25% interest; and

• Non-profit membership associations with no employees.

All of the above facilities must apply for an exemption and register with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

• Bars with small, separately ventilated enclosed smoking rooms, built for the exclusive purpose of smoking. Bar owners wishing to construct such rooms must register and file plans with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Buildings. These rooms must:

— Have separate ventilation systems that exhaust air to an outdoor area at least 25 feet away from outdoor dining areas, working windows, doors, and heating and air conditioning vents;

— Maintain continuous negative pressure to prevent the flow of smoke into other parts of the establishment; and

— Not permit any employee to enter while it is in use.

Note: Separate smoking rooms in bars will no longer be permitted after January 2, 2006.

• In any restaurant, smoking is limited to 25% of seating in one outdoor dining area. An outdoor dining area is defined as one with no roof, overhang, or other ceiling enclosure.

• Residential and certain day treatment health care facilities may provide smoking rooms for some patients.


Each violation will be subject to fines.

First violation: Civil penalties of not less than $200 and not more than $400.

Second violation (within 12 months of the first violation): Civil penalties of not less than $500
and not more than $1,000.

Third or subsequent violation (within 12 months of the first violation): Civil penalties of not less
than $1,000 and not more than $2,000.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene may suspend or revoke the
permit of an establishment that is found in violation of the law on three separate occasions
within a 12-month period.


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Food Safety and
Community Sanitation is responsible for enforcement of the law as part of its current inspection
operations. Inspections may also be performed in response to complaints. Enforcement
begins on March 30, 2003, when the law goes into effect.

Owner-operated bars, membership associations, and tobacco bars must apply for and register as
exempt entities with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene after the regulations implementing the amended law become effective.

We implore you to read the law to familiarize yourselves with important definitions and details that are not explained fully above.


Our Mission

Don't let the Nassau County
Legislature take over your business.
Join with others to repeal this law.


This is an effort by the ESRTA to pass legislation that would limit the enactment of smoking regulations to the state only.
Visit their site by clicking on the image below.  Let them know that you support them.

Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association