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Workplace smoking ban starts July 1

Publication Date: 2009-05-30
  • Publication:Times Argus

A Bennington facility home to about 160 war veterans and their spouses will be the last workplace in Vermont to allow indoor smoking once a new law takes effect on July 1.

Gov. James Douglas signed into law this week a 100 percent ban on smoking in workplaces, closing the last loopholes in a public health movement that started with the state passing a partial ban in 1987.

The new law, which takes effect on July 1, prohibits smoking areas in Vermont businesses--typically a closed-off room in a workplace used by smokers during breaks, along with ending a rule allowing employees to vote to allow smoking at work.

"Vermont helped lead the way when we passed the workplace smoking ban in 1987," said Tina Zuk, the coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont. "But now we will be the 24th state to pass a 100 percent workplace protection law when it comes to tobacco use."

The new law does contain an exemption for the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington. The state-run facility is home to about 160 people--war veterans and their spouses--and includes in its ranks many smokers who don't want to give up their indoor smoking room.