TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCT SALES TO MINORS
Washington law forbids sales of tobacco and vapor products to minors age 17 and under. The law requires monitoring of retailers' compliance with this law. This is done by the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Public Health is required to offer retailers support and education about how to stay compliant.
THE SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES (SIPP) LAW
The Smoking in Public Places Law (SIPP) law, passed in 2005:
- Bans indoor smoking in public places and places of employment;
- Requires that hotels and motels have 75% of their rooms designated non-smoking rooms;
- Requires that people who smoke outside of buildings must stay 25 feet away from doors, open windows, or air intake panels.
The SIPP law requires every local public health district to enforce the law and educate businesses and employers about the law so they know how to comply with it.
KITSAP COUNTY REGULATIONS PROHIBITING VAPING IN INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES
Beginning on June 7, 2016, the use of vapor products is prohibited in any indoor public spaces. The use of vapor products within 25 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed is also prohibited. NOTE: See exemptions for vapor product retailers in 4.B of the ordinance).
REPORT A VIOLATION
To submit a complaint against a business or workplace you believe is violating the SIPP law or the local vaping ordinance, call us at (360) 728-2235 or click here to submit an on-line complaint.
Only the police can enforce the law when an individual smokes or vapes in violation of SIPP or vaping laws. To report an individual who is smoking or vaping in violation of the laws, call your local law enforcement.
VAPOR PRODUCT LAWS: RCW 70.345
In 2016, the Washington State Legislature passed a vapor product law that requires vapor product licenses for retailers, distributors and delivery sellers. The law bans open displays and includes tasting and couponing restrictions, as well as requirements for child-resistant packaging and labeling. The law regulates all vapor products, whether or not they contain nicotine and is intended to provide Washingtonians with consumer protection, child safety, and eliminating youth access. The law does allow for vaping to occur indoors within vaping retail establishments.
Information on RCW 70.345 is available on the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board website.
The Food & Drug Administration’s 2009 Tobacco Control Act regulates the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products. In 2016, US Food and Drug Administration began prohibiting free samples of vapor products containing nicotine and all tobacco products. The FDA has also extended its regulation to cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco. This sampling ban applies to all products that contain tobacco or nicotine.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT LOCAL SMOKING/VAPING LAWS
What do I do when I want to complain that a business is not complying with the law?
- To submit a complaint against a business you believe is violating SIPP or local vaping in public spaces laws, call us at (360) 728-2300 or click here to send us an on-line complaint.
What happens when I complain?
- Health District staff members investigate every complaint. If a business has violated the regulation, we’ll serve them a notice to comply and an opportunity to rectify the situation. If they refuse to comply, they may be subject to further legal action and penalties, including suspension or revocation of their Food Service Establishment permit.
Do businesses need to post signs?
- Yes, all businesses are required to post signs. “No Smoking/Vaping” signs must be at each entrance – as well as in prominent locations around the business. Signs should be clear and easy to read and understand.
What if customers complain or refuse to put their cigarette out?
- The owner, manager or other person in charge is responsible to make sure laws are followed. They must remind customers about the law and explain that customers must go 25 feet away from the doorway, open windows or air intake vents to smoke or use vapor products.
What about parking lots or the sidewalk?
- Generally, parking lots, sidewalks and public streets are not considered part of the business’s service area. However, businesses are responsible to make sure that people smoking or vaping outside their business are not within 25 feet of doors, windows or air intake vents, and should warn people that not complying with the law might mean they could get a ticket from local law enforcement. Businesses need to ensure that their employees are not asked to “pass through” smoke or vapor in the course of their job, and to protect them from any smoking or vaping areas while they are working.
Can a business be “exempt” from this law and still allow smoking?
- A business can apply to the Health District for an exemption to the 25 foot rule if they can show clear and convincing evidence that the unique circumstances of their businesses’ entrances, exits, windows and air intakes mean smoke will not get back into the building at a distance less than 25 feet. There is no other exemption. Businesses cannot claim an exemption on the basis of their clientele, type of business, or for any other reason.
- Exemptions also exist for vapor product retailers. See section 4.B in the ordinance.
Can you still smoke in a private club?
- The Washington State Attorney General’s office has declared that if a private club has employees, smoking is prohibited, regardless of whether the employees are club members or not.
Can you still smoke or vape in outdoor areas such as fairgrounds, or stadiums?
- The law focuses on indoor air and, for the most part, outdoor areas are not covered. However, structures inside fairgrounds or stadiums could be subject to the law if they are sufficiently enclosed. If you have questions about compliance call Jim Zimny at 360-728-2300.
Can you still smoke or vape in apartment buildings?
- As long as the apartment is a private residence, the laws do not apply - including balconies and common garden areas. However, if the rental management has an office space in the complex and employs staff, smoking and use of vaping products is illegal in areas where staff members are working.
What if you have employees in a private residence?
- If someone in a home is receiving services from a home health care worker or visiting employee of a social services agency, then residents should not smoke or use vaping products in the home while the worker is there.