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HR Insights with Ali: Implementing California’s New Tobacco Control Laws in Your Workplace


Posted on 12/15/2016 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
As of June 9, 2016, California has instituted new smoke-free laws which modified many previous policies. The new law prohibits smoking in a number of areas which used to be exempted from California’s no-smoking policy. The changes affect smoking in the workplace, meaning that it is important that employers familiarize themselves with the new laws.

Specifically, the law now requires non-hospitality workplaces to be 100% smoke-free. Smoking will no longer be permitted in the following locations:

  • businesses with five or fewer employees
  • employee break rooms
  • warehouses
  • hotel lobbies, and
  • owner-operated businesses

The above locations were exempt under the previous version of the Clean Indoor Air Law but now they all must be smoke-free. These rules are in addition to the previous restrictions in place before June 9, 2016, which essentially banned smoking in all but the above-listed locations. Therefore, the effect of this change is to remove prior exemptions and to make all non-hospitality workplaces 100% smoke free, with no exceptions.

In addition, electronic smoking devices cannot be used anywhere cigarette smoking is prohibited under state law. This includes smoking devices which do not contain nicotine. Further, the laws above also apply to marijuana cigarettes or smoking devices.

If you have any questions as to how the new smoking ban affects your business, reach out to legal counsel or an HR expert.
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