Vermont’s ‘Smoking in Public Places’ Law

What does Vermont's 'Smoking in Public Places' law do?

With certain exceptions, this law prohibits the possession of lighted tobacco products in the common areas of all enclosed indoor "places of public access" and "publicly owned buildings and offices."

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Where does the Smoking in Public Places Law not apply?

The Vermont Smoking in Public Places Law is comprehensive and includes all places of public access.

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Who enforces the law?

The proprietor (owner), or the agent or employee of the proprietor, who observes a person in possession of a lighted tobacco product in apparent violation of this law must ask the person to extinguish it. If the person persists in the possession of the lighted tobacco product, the law directs the proprietor, agent or employee to ask the person to leave the premises. As in any case in which a person refuses to leave the premises, if the person refuses to comply, the person in charge may call a local law enforcement official or security officer for help. If a proprietor, agent or employee fails take the required action, a member of the public also may call a local law enforcement official for help.

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What happens if the law is not obeyed?

It is assumed that all Vermont citizens and visitors to Vermont will (with proper warning) obey the law voluntarily. Every effort is made to obtain voluntary compliance. A person who is unlawfully in possession of a lighted tobacco product and a proprietor who does not take the actions required by the law are both subject to penalties for noncompliance.

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What are the penalties?

Because the law is part of Title 18 of the Vermont Statutes (exit vdh) , which contains other health statutes, a health order may be issued, a civil court action may be brought, and a criminal penalty may be imposed for any violation of the law. If voluntary compliance cannot be obtained, the local selectboard, the local board of health, and the Vermont Department of Health all have the authority to bring enforcement actions. A civil penalty of up to $10,000 or a criminal fine of not more than $5,000 may be imposed for each violation. In addition, penalties may be imposed for violation of a health order or a court order, and any person who has been injured or damaged by a violation of Title 18 may bring an action for equitable relief or damages arising from such violations.

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Where can I get more information?

Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street - P.O. Box 70
Burlington , VT 05402-0070
tobaccovt@vdh.state.vt.us
Toll-free From Within Vermont: 866-331-5622

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