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New smoking rules take affect soon

December 6th will mark a date of change to rules relating to smoking in North Dakota. With the passage of Initiated Statutory Measure number 4 during the Nov. 6 general election several revisions and new sections were added to North Dakota Century Code 23-12. The full context of the measure can be found at: Employers and business owners will see the biggest changes. Listed below are some of the highlights. Underlined text indicates new language in the law.

23-12-09. Smoking in public places and places of employment - Definitions.

9. "Place of employment" means an area under the control of a public or private employer including work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference rooms, elevators, employee cafeterias, employee lounges, hallways, meeting rooms, private offices, restrooms, temporary offices, vehicles and stairs. A private residence is not a place of employment unless it is used as a licensed child care, adult day care or health care facility.

10. "Public place" means an area which the public enters. Some examples of public places are publicly owned buildings, vehicles, or offices; bars; bingo facilities; gambling and gaming facilities as defined in section 12.1-28-01; child care and adult day care facilities subject to licensure by the department of human services, including those operated in private homes; convention facilities; educational facilities, both public and private; facilities primarily used for exhibiting a motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical recital, or other similar performance; financial institutions; health care facilities; hotels and motels including all rooms that are rented to guests; laundromats; any common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, mobile home parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes, and other multiple-unit residential facilities; private and semi-private nursing home rooms; museums, libraries, galleries, and aquariums; polling places; professional offices; public transportation facilities, including buses, trains, airplanes and similar aircraft, and taxicabs and similar vehicles such as towncars and limousines when used for public transportation, and ticket, boarding, and waiting areas of public transit depots facilities, including bus and train stations and airports; reception areas; restaurants; retail food production and marketing establishments; retail service establishments; retail stores including tobacco and hookah establishments; rooms, chambers, places of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings; services lines; shopping malls; sports arenas; theaters; and waiting rooms.

11. "Publicly owned building, vehicle, or office" means a place or vehicle owned, leased, or rented by any state or political subdivision, or by any agency supported by appropriation of, or by contracts or grants from, funds derived from the collection of taxes.

14. "Smoking means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, in any manner or in any form. Smoking also includes the use of an e-cigarette which creates a vapor, in any manner or any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking in this Act.

15. "Sports arena" means an indoor or outdoor place where members of the public assemble to engage in physical exercise, participate in athletic competition, or witness sports or other events. Some examples of sports arenas include sports pavilions, stadiums, gymnasiums, health spas, boxing arenas, swimming pools, roller and ice rinks, and bowling centers.

23-12-10. Smoking restrictions - Exceptions - Retaliation - Application

1. In order to protect the public health and welfare and to recognize the need for individuals to breathe smoke free air, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas of:

a. Public places; and

b. Places of employment.

2. Smoking is prohibited within twenty feet of entrances, exits, operable windows, air intakes, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas in which smoking is prohibited. Owners, operators, managers, employers, or other persons who own or control a public place or place of employment may seek to rebut the presumption that twenty feet is a reasonable minimum distance by making application to the director of the local health department or district in which the public place or place of employment is located. The presumption will be rebutted if the applicant can show by clear and convincing evidence that, given the unique circumstances presented by the location of entrances, exits, windows that open, ventilation intakes, or other factors, smoke will not infiltrate or reach the entrances, exits, open windows, or ventilation intakes or enter into such public place or place of employment and, therefore, the public health and safety will be adequately protected by a lesser distance.

3. The following areas are exempt from subsections 1 and 2:

a. Private residences, except those residences used when operating as a child care, adult day care or health care facility subject to licensure by the department of human services.

b. Outdoor areas of places of employment, except those listed in subsection two (within 20 feet of a door or other opening).

c. Any area that is not commonly accessible to the public and which is part of an owner operated business having no employee other than the owner operator.

4. Smoking as part of a traditional American Indian spiritual or cultural ceremony is not prohibited.

5. No person or employer shall discharge, refuse to hire, or in any manner retaliate against an employee, applicant for employment, or other person because that person asserts or exercises any rights afforded by this section or reports or attempts to prosecute a violation of this section. An employee who works in a setting where an employer allows smoking does not waive or surrender any legal rights the employee may have against the employer or any other party. Violations of this subsection shall be a class B misdemeanor.

6. This section may not be interpreted or construed to permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.

23-12-10.1. Responsibility of proprietors. The owner, operator, manager or other person in control of a public place or place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this Act shall:

1. Clearly and conspicuously post no smoking signs or the international no smoking symbol in that place.

2. Clearly and conspicuously post at every entrance to that place a sign stating that smoking is prohibited.

3. Clearly and conspicuously post on every vehicle that constitutes a place of employment under this Act at least one sign, visible from the vehicle's exterior, stating that smoking is prohibited.

4. Remove all ashtrays from any area where smoking is prohibited, except for ashtrays displayed for sale and not for use on the premises.

5. By the effective date of this Act, communicate to all existing employees and to all prospective employees upon their application for employment that smoking is prohibited in that place.

6. For places under his or her control, direct a person who is smoking in violation of this Act to extinguish the product being smoked. If the person does not stop smoking, the owner, operator, manager or employee shall refuse service and shall immediately ask the person to leave the premises. If the person in violation refuses to leave the premises, the owner, operator, manager, or employee shall immediately report the violation to an enforcement agency identified in this Act. The refusal of the person to stop smoking or leave the premises in response to requests made under this section by an owner, operator, manager or employee shall not constitute a violation of the Act by the owner, operator, manager, or employee.

23-12-10.2. Complaints and enforcement - City and county ordinances and home rule charters.

1. State agencies with statutory jurisdiction over a state-owned building or office shall enforce section 23-12-10. These agencies include the fire marshal department, state department of health, department of human services, legislative council, and office of management and budget.

2. A city or county ordinance, a city or county home rule charter, or an ordinance adopted under a home rule charter may not provide for less stringent provisions than those provided under sections 23-12-09 through 23-12-11. Nothing in this Act shall preempt or otherwise affect any other state or local tobacco control law that provides more stringent protection from the hazards of secondhand smoke. This subsection does not preclude any city or county from enacting any ordinance containing penal language when otherwise authorized to do so by law.

3. The provisions of this Act shall be enforced by state's attorneys who may ask the North Dakota attorney general to adopt administrative rules to ensure compliance with this Act. State and local law enforcement agencies may apply for injunctive relief to enforce provisions of this Act.

23-12-11. Penalty

1. An individual who smokes in an area in which smoking is prohibited under section 23-12-10 is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars.

2. Except as otherwise provided in section 23-12-10(5), an owner or other person with general supervisory responsibility over a public place or place of employment who willfully fails to comply with section 23-12-10 is guilty of an infraction, subject to a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars for the first violation, to a fine not to exceed two hundred dollars for a second violation within one year, and a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars for each additional violation within one year of the preceding violation.

3. In addition to the fines established by this section, violation of this Act by a person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment may result in the suspension or revocation of any permit or license issued to the person for the premises on which the violation occurred.

4. Violations of this Act are declared to be a public nuisance that may be abated by restraining order, preliminary or permanent injunction or other means provided by law.

5. Each day on which a violation of this Act occurs shall be considered a separate and distinct violation.