Workplace Smoking Bans

More and more states, provinces, towns, and nations are enacting "work place smoking bans" as a way to reduce the impacts of secondhand smoke on the people who work in restaurants, bars, and other business.

The recent bans on indoor smoking have also appeared to cause a shift in cigarette butt deposition. Circumstantial evidence indicates that more cigarette butts are accumulating outside of buildings due to the popularity of indoor smoking bans. In Australia, cigarette butts account for 50% of all litter, a trend that the executive director of Keep Australia Clean blames partly on indoor no-smoking policies. Ireland is also seeing more cigarette litter due to its ban on indoor smoking. Click here for newspaper articles about how communities find cigarette litter increases when smoking is banned inside.

Bans on Workplace Smoking -- a partial list
Compiled by Clean Virginia Waterways. Last update: November 2006.
Sources listed below.

1995 -- Poland prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces

1998 -- California adopted workplace smoking ban

March 2004 -- Ireland implements a nationwide smokefree workplace law, including pubs, bars and restaurants. (to reduce secondhand smoke and to reduce smoking rates)

May 2004 - India eliminates smoking in public places, tobacco advertising in media, and sales to minors.

July 2004 -- Norway extends smokefree workplace legislation to bars and restaurants.

Oct 2004 - Hong Kong announces plans to extend smokefree workplace legislation to bars, restaurants, and offices.

Nov 2004 - Russia's upper house of parliament approves a bill to restrict smoking in public places. The bill covers public transport and the workplace, and prevents the sale of tobacco in health, sports, cultural centers, and near schools.

Dec 2004 - New Zealand extends smokefree workplace legislation to pubs, clubs, restaurants, and school grounds.

Dec 2004 - The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan eliminates smoking in all public
places, including restaurants and bars.

January 2005 -- Italy implemented smokefree workplace legislation in all enclosed public spaces, including restaurants and bars.

Feb 2005 - Cuba eliminates smoking in offices, stores, theatres, buses and taxis, schools, sports facilities, and air-conditioned public areas.

March 2005- Parliament in Bangladesh passes smokefree workplace law in places such as schools, offices, libraries, hospitals and airports. It also prohibits advertisement of tobacco products in cinemas, newspapers, and on television.

Prior to June 2005 -- Six Canadian province/territory (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) require smokefree air in all restaurants and bars, with no allowance for smoking rooms.

June 2005 -- Ontario (Canada) Passes Smokefree Workplace Law

June 2005 - Sweden will implement smokefree workplace legislation in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Autumn 2005 -- Nova Scotia (Canada) may pass legislation for 100% smoke-free workplaces

2006 -- Scotland will have a smokefree workplace law in place. England and Wales may as well.

On Election Day 2006 (November 7), voters in Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada voted in favor of clean indoor air ballot initiatives. Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada will thus become the 15th, 16th, and 17th states in the U.S. to enact comprehensive smokefree legislation for workers, including restaurant and bar workers. States that have enacted smokefree workplace legislation are: California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Montana, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.

Beaches and Piers that have banned smoking (or restricts smoking to designated areas) in order to decrease litter:
Hawaii -- Hanama Bay, Oahu, HI 1993
NJ-- Belmar (2001)
California -- Solana Beach (2003), San Clemente (2004), Santa Monica (2004), Los Angeles (2004?), Malibu, Huntington Beach, Carpinteria and Newport Beach. Capitola City. Los Angeles County enacted a temporary ban in late June that will run through Thursday on two county-run beaches, Topanga and Marina (2004)
New York --
Florida -- Ormond Beach, FL

Australia -- Manly, Sydney, Queensland

UK -- Bournemouth

Local parks that ban or severely restrict smoking:
• Bellaire, TX in public parks
• Eastchester, NY, in some sections of Lake Isle Park
• Greenburgh, NY, has limited smoking at Anthony J. Veteran Park, its primary recreation area, leaving only two designated smoking sections there.
• Mesa, AZ, bans smoking in just about every outdoor space where the public congregates
• Mount Olive, NJ, smoking is forbidden at outdoor recreation areas
• New York City, NY, smoking is prohibited at children's playgrounds and in public places like work sites, sports arenas, schools and restaurants
• Putnam County, NY, banned smoking on its public lakeside beach
• Rye, NY, Kiddyland section of Playland Park banned smoking in all lines for rides at the amusement park
• Scarsdale, NY, recently adopted a no-smoking policy for all public parks that have play equipment for children and at playing fields and pools as well as in all village-owned vehicles.
Sharon, ME, smoking is prohibited on beaches and in public playgrounds
• Westchester County, NY

• Article by Reuters, 3/14/05 on Worldwide Smokefree Workplace Laws
• Earth Source web site:

• Newspaper article: Backers call smoking bans along beaches healthy move By Ben Fuchs UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER September 12, 2004

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Read all about cigarette butt litter!

Click here to read an article that was published in the August 2000 issue of the American Littoral Society journal, The Underwater Naturalist. This article, by CVW's Executive Director Kathleen M. Register, includes background data, such as the fact that 2.1 billion pounds of cigarette filters were discarded worldwide in 1998, along with results of her research showing that leached chemicals from cigarette filters are deadly to the water flea Daphnia magna, a small crustacean at the lower end of, but important to the aquatic food chain.


Students and Teachers:

Are you interested in doing a science fair project on cigarette litter? Click here for ideas and information.

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Compiled by Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University, Farmville, VA 23909
434-395-2602 Fax: 434-395-2825 Email: