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Kenton County's Smoke-Free Law: Frequently Asked Questions

When did the smoke-free law take effect?
Which buildings are covered?
Which buildings are not covered?
Are some businesses exempt from the law?
How do I know that a business is smoke-free?
How is the law enforced?
What are the penalties?
What do I do if I see someone smoking in a non-smoking building or area?
Does the law apply to covered patios or areas covered by canopies?
Does the law prohibit smoking in public parks or other outdoor areas?
Does the law prohibit smoking within a certain distance of entrances to worksites?
I want to quit smoking. Where can I get help?
If an establishment has an exemption from the smoke-free law, is it required to post a sign indicating that smoking is permitted?
Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) covered in the ordinance?

When did the smoke-free law take effect?
Ordinance 451.15 prohibiting smoking in most public buildings, establishments in public buildings and places of employment took effect April 15, 2011.

Which buildings are covered? Cigarette in ashtray with no smoking sign
Smoking is prohibited in most workplaces and thousands of public buildings in Kenton County, including: Most restaurants and eating establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, factories, and offices.

Which buildings are not covered?
The following buildings are not covered by the law:

Are some businesses exempt from the law?
The ordinance does provide for certain businesses to be exempt. Learn more about exemptions and how to apply.

How do I know that a business is smoke-free?
Just look for the sign! All worksites are required to post “No Smoking” signs at their entrances.

How is the law enforced?
For the most part, the smoke-free law is self-enforcing. However, the Health Department does take complaints, investigate within three business days and take action as appropriate. File a complaint.

Complaints are  investigated by Health Department staff during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday). This may include an inspection of the location believed to be in violation of the ordinance.

What are the penalties?
When violations are verified, notices of violations or citations will be issued to employers, employees and establishments in violation of the law.

Fines for violating the smoke-free law are:

What do I do if I see someone smoking in a non-smoking building or area?
Remind them politely of the law and explain that they must step outside to smoke. For example: “The law does not allow smoking inside here. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to step outside to smoke." or “The smoke-free law prohibits smoking indoors. Thank you for your cooperation.” or “We are under a smoke-free law. I need to ask you to put out your cigarette.”

Inform the business owner/manager.

If smoking continues and the management does not take action, file a complaint. The Health Department does not encourage citizens to call 9-1-1 to report smoking complaints.

Does the law apply to covered patios or areas covered by canopies?
The term “building” does not include outdoor open air patio areas. The law defines a building as any structure enclosed from the weather, whether or not doors are open, which is closed in overhead by a roof or other covering of any material, whether permanent or temporary, and has more than 50 percent of its perimeter closed in by walls or other coverings of any material, whether permanent or temporary.

Does the law prohibit smoking in public parks or other outdoor areas?
No, outdoor spaces are not covered by this law.

Does the law prohibit smoking within a certain distance of entrances to worksites?
The Kenton County smoke-free law does not require smokers to be any distance from the door to smoke outside a workplace.

I want to quit smoking. Where can I get help?
View a list of smoking cessation resources.

If an establishment has an exemption from the smoke-free law, is it required to post a sign indicating that smoking is permitted?
Yes, if the establishment has an approved exemption from the smoke-free law, then it are required by the law to post smoking permitted signs ("A Smoking Permitted sign shall be prominently posted and maintained at every entrance to a public building or establishment in a public building where smoking is permitted in this subchapter.").

Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) covered in the ordinance?
No, the Kenton County Attorney has determined that e-cigarettes do not fall under the provisions of the Kenton County smoke-free ordinance.