The New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act
New Jersey passed the Smoke Free Air Act in 2006. The Act is part of New Jersey’s effort to eliminate tobacco use because it is a significant public health threat. The United States Surgeon General has declared that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that leads to premature death in children and non-smoking adults.
The Smoke Free Air Act serve an important public purpose: Banning smoking in indoor “workplaces” and “public access” places. The Act ensures that people have same smoke-free workplaces and citizens can breathe smoke-free air in public places. Almost every place outside the home is affected, except for registered cigar bars.
In New Jersey, smoking is banned in places such as offices, restaurants, factories, bowling alleys, stores, malls, hotels (twenty percent of the rooms may be used for smoking), and private clubs. It is banned outside grammar schools and high schools. Smoking is also prohibited in workplaces and within twenty-five feet of a workplace. A “workplace” includes any area where some type of service or labor is performed, regardless of how much time workers spend working. “Workplace” also includes locations were volunteer work is performed. The Act applies to smoke break areas outside of the building, including outdoor patios and decks that are attached to a building
Recently an amendment was passed which bans the use of an electronic smoking device (i.e., “e-cigarette”) in indoor public places and workplaces. New Jersey is the first state to pass the “e-cigarette” law.