Connecticut Tobacco Laws
As of May 5, 2016
As of October 1, 2015
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems:
Prohibits the use of E-Cigarettes, Hookahs and Vape Pens in areas where cigarette smoking is not allowed.
Effective October 1, 2014
Tobacco Sales and Youth Access:
Sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems to persons under the age of 18 years of age is prohibited, subjected to fines
Persons under the age of 18 years of age are prohibited from possessing Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems
- The legal age for purchase of tobacco products is eighteen.
- Tobacco products include chewing tobacco, snuff, and smoking tobacco.
- Minors (under the age of 18) who illegally purchase tobacco products, falsely claim to be over eighteen years of age, or possess tobacco in any form in any public place can be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses. "Public place" means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
- Anyone delivering tobacco to a minor can be fined up to $200 for the first offense and up to $350 for a subsequent offense within 18 months.
- A store clerk who sells tobacco to a minor can be fined $100 for the first offense and $150 for a subsequent offense within 18 months.
- The Department of Revenue Services Commissioner can suspend or revoke a dealer's or distributor's license for any sale or delivery of tobacco to a minor. Additionally, he will be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.
- Three convictions within an 18 month period will result in suspension of the dealer's or distributor's license in the case of an over the counter sale, or removal of the vending machine for one year in the case of a vending machine sale, as well as a $500 fine.
- To report violations or to request enforcement, contact your local police department.
- To report repeat violations, call the Department of Revenue Services at (860) 297-5650
Responsibility for posting signage lies with the person in control of the premises:
- Required in elevators
- Indicate smoking is prohibited by state law in conspicuous locations
- Where smoking is allowed, signs must clearly indicate smoking and non-smoking areas (ex: outdoor restaurant seating or motel guest rooms)
Size of letters:
- At least 4” high
- Principle strokes of letters not less than ½” wide
- Exceptions (no size requirement)
- Hotels, motels, or similar lodging
- Health care institutions
Clean Indoor Air Act
CT General Statute Sec. 19a-342 protects citizens from the health risk associated with secondhand smoke. The Act prohibits smoking in:
Workplaces with 5 or more employees
All restaurants, bars, retail food stores, hospitals, and other establishments
Effective April 1, 2004
- Smoking is prohibited in Off Track Betting establishments
- Retail food stores
- Hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes, homes for the elderly, home health care agencies, and infirmaries, both public and private.
- Buildings owned or leased by the state or any political subdivision of the state
- School buildings during school hours and activities
- Elevators, private or publicly owned
- Dormitories in public institution of higher education
Effective October 1, 2003
- Smoking is prohibited in all restaurants
- Smoking is prohibited in all bars except those holding cafe or tavern permits
- Smoking is prohibited in outside seating of a restaurant that has a ceiling or other type of covering. Outside seating that does not have a ceiling or other type of covering must have 75% of that seating designated smoke free
- Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces with 5 or more employees. There can be a smoking room designated for employees that conform to OSHA guidelines for ventilation and guidelines set forth in Sec 19a-342
- Businesses with less than 5 employees must provide a smoke free environment upon request from an employee
- Smoking is prohibited in establishments with the following liquor permits: hotel, restaurant, juice bar, university, resort, railroad, airline, bowling establishment, racquetball facility, special sporting facility, nonprofit theater, nonprofit public museum
- Smoking is prohibited in private institutions of higher education
- Hotels must maintain 75% of rooms smoke free
Exceptions to the Law:
- Private club with liquor permits as of May 1, 2003
- Tobacco bars pursuant to Chapter 545 that, in the calendar year ending December 31, 2003, generated 10% or more of its total annual gross income from the on-site sale of tobacco products
- Correctional facilities
- Smoking areas of psychiatric facilities
- Public housing projects
- Classrooms where smoking is part of medical or scientific research
- Testing areas of a business that is engaged in the testing or development of tobacco or tobacco product
Other Connecticut laws and regulations prohibit smoking in the following areas:
- Theater auditoriums (Fire Safety Code, Section 29-109-113)
- Areas near flammable and combustible liquids (Fire Safety Code, 29-320 in accordance with NFPA code)
- Bakeries (CT Gen. Stat. 21a-157)
- Pasteurizing plants (CT Gen. Stat. 22-201)
- Food preparation and processing plants (Public Health Code, 19-13,B42)
- Buses and railroad cars (CT Gen. Stat. 53-198)
Requirements of the Law and Penalties
Restaurants and Bars
- All restaurants and bars must be smoke free regardless of the number of employees. Establishments with a cafe or tavern permit or the bar area of a bowling alley and in any area of a dog race track or a facility equipped with screens for the simulcasting of off-track betting race programs or jai alai games must be smoke-free by April 1, 2004
- Restaurants and bars must post signs stating smoking is prohibited by state law. This sign must be prominently posted and maintained and any such removal of this sign is punishable by law up to $99.
- Smoking is prohibited in outside seating of a restaurant that has a ceiling or other type of covering. Outside seating that does not have a ceiling or other type of covering can have up to 25% of the seating designated as smoking. Signs must be posted designating smoking area.
- Any patron or employee found guilty of smoking in violation of Public Act 03-45 is subject to an infraction punishable up to $99. In addition, any employer who allows smoking in an area or establishment that is regulated by this Act is subject to administrative enforcement by the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Labor.
Businesses Employing 5 or More Employees
- Employers must post signs that state smoking is prohibited pursuant to state law. Signs must be positioned so that both employees and visitors can readily see them. The lettering on such signs must be at least four inches high and one-half inch wide.
- Signs must be prominently posted and maintained and any such removal of this sign is punishable by law up to $99.
- Employers may designate their entire facility smoke-free or they may provide one or more smoking break rooms for the use of employees only. Smoking break rooms must be located in non-work areas, where employees are not required to enter to perform their work. Employers who designate smoking break rooms must designate sufficient nonsmoking break rooms for their employees. Appropriate signage must be posted indicating whether an area is a smoking or non-smoking break room.
- Employer designated smoking rooms must exhaust air to the outside, and ventilation must comply with state and federal (OSHA & EPA) ventilation standards.
Business Employing Less than 5 Employees
- Employers must provide a smoke free environment upon request from an employee
- Signs must be posted to designate smoking area. This sign must be prominently posted and maintained and any such removal of this sign is punishable by law up to $99.
- Local and state police
- Liquor control division of the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection
- Connecticut Department of Labor
- Citizens can file a complaint with the local or state police department
- Employees can file a complaint by calling the Connecticut State Department of Labor at 860-566-4550
Note: The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services requires all state mental health facilities to be smoke-free, and The Joint Commission of Hospitals and Organizations requires its members to be smoke-free
Other Laws Concerning Smoking
Day Care Centers and Group Day Care Facilities
(Public Health Code Regulations 19a-79-3,c,4)
- Smoking is prohibited in all child day care centers and group day care homes licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, except in designated smoking areas.
- Designated smoking areas must be enclosed in a separate part of the facility, away from any children.
- The person in charge of the facility must place signs at all entrances indicating that smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
- The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Community-based Regulations (860-509-8045) is the enforcement agency.
- Licensure requires adherence to Public Health Regulations.
For further information on these laws, contact:
The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health
Tobacco Control Program
For further information on youth access laws, contact:
The State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service Tobacco Compliance Officer 860-418-7000 Toll Free: 877-331-1999 or www.ct.gov/dmhas/tpep
This information is not intended to substitute advice from your legal professional.