Frequently Asked Questions
Smokefree Air Act
- Why did the City of Springfield adopt the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
On April 5, 2011, Springfield voters passed the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011. Following city Charter rules, a group of citizens collected the necessary number of signatures required to place the issue on the ballot. The city Charter states that City Council must then either pass the proposed language or send the issue to ballot, and Council elected to allow the voters to decide. Once the issue is placed on the ballot, citizens vote to pass or not pass the proposal. After a successful petition drive to repeal the law, a second vote was held on June 5, 2012. In that election, Springfield voters re-affirmed the law by a 2-1 margin. In May 2012, City Council voted unanimously to amend the law to include a handful of exemptions for on-stage theatrical productions and in pre-existing bingo parlors, private clubs, cigar bars and retail tobacco stores that meet certain strict definitions.
- What does the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011 say?
The Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011 amends Chapter 58 of the Springfield City Code to remove smoking in enclosed public areas and workplaces.
- What is the purpose of the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
The purpose of the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011 is to improve public health by decreasing exposure to secondhand smoke. Research has clearly shown an improvement in public health after implementation of similar smokefree ordinances within communities across the country.
- What are the benefits of a smokefree workplace?
Now that a comprehensive smokefree ordinance has been adopted, there are many benefits that businesses and the community will experience. A smokefree workplace will reduce fire hazards, create a cleaner environment, and improve the health of your staff and patrons at the same time as reducing health care costs. For more information on the benefits of a smokefree workplace, please visit www.oneairalliance.org.
- Did the Smokefree Air Act of 2011 repeal the City's prior smoking ordinance?
Yes, Section 1017 states that this Article shall repeal and replace any and all existing City Ordinances regarding smoking. This section also states that this Article shall not be interpreted or construed to permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.
- What businesses and enclosed public places are impacted by passing the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
The Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011 applies to all workplaces, including any enclosed public place in the City of Springfield. This policy prohibits smoking, except within private vehicles and residences unless residences are used as a day care, adult care or health care facility. The May 2012 amendments exempt certain business, including bingo parlors, private clubs, cigar bars and retail tobacco stores that were in business before April 5, 2011 and that meet certain strict definitions based on criteria such as activities, revenues and the sale of alcohol or tobacco. The ordinance also exempts 25% of hotel and motel rooms and outdoor spaces more than 5 feet from doorways. Outdoor patios are exempt from the smoking restrictions and may be utilized as a space for employees and patrons to smoke.
- Who will enforce the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department will enforce the smoking ordinance through an education process over the course of the 60 days between the adoption of the policy and its implementation. The Health Department will be working with business owners to bring them into compliance after the effective date occurs and with penalty provisions as necessary. The department will use ongoing inspections and a complaint-driven process to address concerns, enforce this policy and use penalties, as necessary. Questions and complaints related to the ordinance should be directed to the City of Springfield, Department of Public Information at 417-864-1010.
- What should I do if a patron/employee smokes in my establishment?
The owner/manager or designee has the responsibility to ensure that employees and patrons are in compliance with this ordinance. If a person is found violating the ordinance within your establishment, you should ask that person to cease the behavior in violation of the ordinance. If the person refuses, you should ask that person to leave the premises. If the person refuses to leave the premises, the owner/manager, operator or employee shall contact law enforcement.
- How will an enforcement agent determine that a business is complicit instead of trying to stop a smoker?
This will be determined on a case by case basis.
- What information is needed for a complaint to be prosecuted?
The Municipal Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a city code violation occurred. The amount of evidence needed to reach that burden of proof will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Will video or photographic evidence of smoking be acceptable?
Video and photographic evidence may be helpful when the Municipal Prosecutor's Office receives summons to review. Whether this evidence is used or not in the prosecution of a specific case will be decided on a case by case basis.
- What is the penalty for a violation?
A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited by the provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50).
A person, who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment and who fails to comply with the ordinance shall be subject to:
- A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a first violation.
- A fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for a second violation within one (1) year.
- A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for each additional violation within one (1) year.
In addition to the fines established by the ordinance, a violation of this ordinance 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.
Please refer to the ordinance for more information on violations.
- How many tickets can be issued to one person or business in one day?
Normally only one ticket is issued per day if the business is in violation of the city code. If the business is allowing smoking and there are various persons smoking within the facility, an inspector could issue both the smoker and the business owner a ticket for each violation.
- At what point will a business license be pulled?
This will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Who should I contact if I have a question or a complaint?
For questions or complaints related to the smoking ordinance, please contact the City of Springfield at 417-864-1010.
- What is defined as an enclosed area under the ordinance?
An enclosed area is defined in Section 1002 as "all space between a floor and ceiling that is bounded on all sides by walls, doorways, or windows, whether open or closed. A wall includes any retractable divider, garage door, or other physical barrier, whether temporary or permanent." If a business owner has any questions concerning how the ordinance applies to any particular facility, contact the City at 864-1010 to schedule a site visit.
- How many walls define an enclosed area?
There is no specific number of walls that makes an area enclosed under the ordinance, rather it is whether the area is "bounded on all sides by walls, doorways, or windows, whether open or closed."
- For a patio, does a half wall qualify as a wall?
No. A "half wall" indicates that there would be at least one wall that does not create a complete physical barrier. Therefore, the space is not bounded on all sides by walls and is not considered an enclosed area under the ordinance.
- For a patio, does a security chain link wall qualify as a retractable wall disqualifying the area as a smoking area?
A chain link fence does not constitute a physical barrier similar to a retractable divider or garage door and is not considered a wall under Section 1002.
- Is a gate a door?
A gate that is not a physical barrier similar to a retractable wall or garage door would not be considered a wall under Section 1002. If a gate is constructed in a manner such that it is a physical barrier, such as a privacy fence or wooden picket gate, and it completes a wall, the gate would be a physical barrier and would be considered a wall under Section 1002.
- If a restaurant builds a covered patio for smoking and puts in awnings or wind shields, does the patio become an enclosed space?
A temporary wind shield will be considered a wall if it creates a physical barrier and the patio area is enclosed so that the space between the floor and ceiling is bounded on all sides. A "physical barrier" would include any temporary "wall" that inhibits the free flow of air through the space. If a patio area has temporary wind shields installed on all but one side, the area would not be considered an enclosed space. If a patio area has temporary wind shields installed on all sides, but just leaves one or more sides open or rolled up, the area is still included as an enclosed space under the definition of the ordinance.
- What is the definition of a "public place"?
"Public Place" means an enclosed area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted, including but not limited to:
- educational facilities
- gaming facilities
- health care facilities
- hotels and motels, laundromats
- public transportation vehicles and facilities
- reception areas, restaurants
- retail food production and marketing establishments
- retail service establishments
- retail stores
- shopping malls
- sports arenas
- waiting rooms
A private residence is not a "public place" unless it is used as a child care, adult day care or health care facility.
- What is the definition of a "place of employment"?
"Place of Employment" means an enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer, including, but not limited to:
- work areas
- private office
- employee lounges
- conference rooms
- meeting rooms
- employee cafeterias
A private residence is not a "place of employment" unless it is used as a child care, adult day care or health care facility.
- Are e-cigarettes allowed in the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
Yes. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the law
- Where can I find more information about the definitions in the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
View the full text of the ordinance complete details.
- Are there any other areas where smoking is not regulated?
In addition to private residences, the following areas are not subject to this ordinance:
- Not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of hotel and motel rooms rented to guests and designated as smoking rooms. All smoking rooms on the same floor must be contiguous and smoke from these rooms must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the provisions of this Article. The status of rooms as smoking or nonsmoking may not be changed, except to add additional nonsmoking rooms.
- All area five feet beyond entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited to prevent tobacco smoke from entering those areas.
Certain business are exempted by the May 2012 amendment to the law. These include:
- Bingo parlors that: were active before March 31, 2011; have no paid employees present in smoking areas; do not allow minors on premises; have a separate, fully enclosed and ventilated smoking area; and hold valid city and state liquor licenses if applicable.
- Cigar bars that: were in business on April 5, 2011; generate 60 percent or more of gross quarterly sales on alcohol and 25 percent or more of gross quarterly sales on cigars; have a separate smoking area and does allow paid employees into said area; have a functioning humidor that is a minimum of 20 cubic feet in size; do not allow minors on premises; and post signs indicating smoking is allowed.
- Retail tobacco stores that: were in business before April 5, 2011; do more than 65 percent of their business in tobacco blending and sales; have a functioning humidor that is a minimum of 20 cubic feet in size; and are not a part of a larger commercial establishment such as a department store or bar.
For the most accurate legal definitions of the above, please refer to the ordinance itself.
- Can actors smoke on stage if the script calls for it?
Yes. Actors may smoke tabacco products or eŚcigarettes on stage as part of theatrical production.
- Are private residences affected by the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
No. Private residences are not considered "public places" nor a "place of employment" unless the residence is used as a childcare, adult day care or health care facility.
- Is smoking prohibited in a home that is used for a licensed business, such as an Insurance Broker, Real Estate, Tax or other legally-authorized home businesses?
Private residences are exempted from the ordinance unless used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility. (Section 1002(H)). However, the home business is required to meet any requirements of the City's Zoning Ordinance, including type of business, impact of business on appearance of the property or disturbance to neighbors, and no employee outside the family residing at the residence may be employed.
- Is a telecommuter prohibited from smoking in his home?
If an employee of a business is allowed to work from home, or telecommute, the employee's home is still exempted from the ordinance as a private residence. (Section 1002(H)).
- If my house is considered non-smoking and I go into my open garage to smoke, is that illegal?
If smoking is prohibited within the personal residence and the garage meets the definition of an "enclosed area," smoking will also be prohibited in the garage. "Enclosed area" includes "all space between a floor and ceiling that is bounded on all sides by walls, doorways, or windows, whether open or closed. A wall included any retractable divider, garage door, or other physical barrier, whether temporary or permanent."
- Is a home a place of employment when service workers are present, such as housekeepers, plumbers, electrician, contractors etc.?
Private residences are exempted from the ordinance unless used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility. (Section 1002(H)).
- Is smoking prohibited in homes where home health care is being provided? Is the home then a place of employment under the Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
Private residences are exempted from the ordinance unless used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility. (Section 1002(H)).
- At what point is a home or building under construction changed from open air to enclosed qualifications?
For most construction projects, the building will be required to comply with the ordinance at the point where it is "dried in", or at any point in construction when the space between the floor and ceiling is bounded on all sides by walls, doorways, or windows, whether open or closed. A wall includes any retractable divider, garage door, or other physical barrier, whether temporary or permanent. (Section 1002) Construction sites are only covered by the ordinance if they are a place of employment or open to the public.
- Do I need to post “No Smoking” signs?
Yes. Signs must be posted to indicate that smoking is not allowed inside the establishment. The Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011 provides clear instructions that signs should include the international “No Smoking” symbol, a picture of a burning cigarette in a red circle with a red bar across it. These signs must be clearly placed near every entrance. One Air Alliance will provide a limited number of free signs on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, you may download and print one of two sign templates: single, large symbol or 3-up large and small symbols. For questions or more information on the sign requirements, please see the ordinance.
- Where can stickers for no smoking in cars be purchased and at whose cost?
You may download and print one of two sign templates offered by the City: single, large symbol or 3-up large and small symbols. Sign templates are also available at various sites on the internet. Signs must be posted at the owner's expense.
- Is a special size or sign required?
No, as long as the sign is able to be easily read.
- Is specific wording required on the sign?
No, the sign must only state that smoking is prohibited or use the international no smoking symbol. Citizens may reference the City ordinance #5927, but it is not required as in some of the other City ordinances.
- How will complaints against out of town based company vehicles be handled?
The ordinance cannot be legally enforced against vehicles from companies which do not maintain a local office. The Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits a city from enforcing regulations on vehicles passing through our community, which may inhibit interstate commerce.
- Do I need to tell my employees about the Springfield Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
Yes. As a business owner/manager or designee, it is recommended that you adopt a formal policy for your establishment and inform your employees of that policy. One Air Alliance has compiled a variety of resources to assist you with this transition, including a sample “Smokefree Workplace Policy.”
- Is renting a space in a beauty parlor self-employment under the Smokefree Air Act of 2011?
A beauty parlor, whether it has rented space for individual stylists or not, falls under the definition of a place of employment because it is an enclosed area under the control of a private employer since the owner of the beauty parlor has control over renting the space. The definition specifically includes work areas and private offices which is the same idea as rented space inside a beauty parlor.
- Can there be a smoking area in the building where no customers are allowed where the self-employed hair stylists can smoke?
- If a hotel room can allow smoking because it is a private residence, shouldn't smoking be allowed in every hotel room while it is considered the private residence under this law?
The ordinance provides that up to 25% of hotel and motel rooms may be designated as smoking rooms. (Section 1009). Hotel and motel rooms are not defined as private residences.
- If I have a home health care worker at a hotel, do I have to choose a no smoking room?
- What is considered a "playground" under the ordinance?
The ordinance defines playground as "any recreational area designed in part to be used by children that has play or sports equipment installed or that has been designated or landscaped for play or sports activities, or any similar facility located on public or private school ground or on city grounds.
- Is the pool area within an apartment/community complex considered a no-smoking area under the smoking ordinance?
Because a pool area would be considered a "recreational area designed in part to be used by children", smoking would be prohibited within five feet of the active pool area.
- Is each business tenant (owner of such business) also required to post signs within the office suites?
- Is a non-smoking sign required to be posted on all company vehicles, even if they are outside Springfield? Is smoking prohibited?
Yes, signs need to be posted. However, the ordinance will only be enforced while the vehicle is within Springfield.
- Do signs need to be posted on employee entrances, shopping entrances, back doors, or just public entrances?
Signs must be posted at all entrances.