The Public Health and Workplace Safety Act prohibits smoking in every public place and place of employment in the state of Rhode Island. “Smoking” or “smoke” includes the use of electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic pipes, electronic nicotine delivery system products, or other similar products that rely on vaporization or aerosolization.
Public Health and Workplace Safety Act Covered Locations
Places of Employment – all enclosed facilities within places of employment without exception. This includes common work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, elevators, hallways, medical facilities, cafeterias, employee lounges, stairs, restrooms, vehicles, and all other enclosed facilities.
Public Places – all enclosed public places, including, but not limited to, aquariums, galleries, libraries, and museums; areas generally available to the general public in businesses and nonprofit entities patronized by the public; bars; bingo facilities when a bingo game is in progress; convention facilities; elevators; facilities primarily used for exhibiting a motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical, recital or other similar performance; health care facilities; licensed child care and adult day care facilities; lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes and other multiple unit residential facilities with more than four units; polling places; public transportation facilities; restaurants; restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common use areas; retail stores; rooms, chambers, places of meeting or public assembly; schools; service lines; shopping malls; and sports arenas.
Violation and Penalties
An employer who violates the Act shall be fined:
- a penalty of $250 for the first violation;
- a penalty of $500 for the second violation; and
- a penalty of $1,000 for the third and subsequent violations.
“No smoking” signs or the international “No smoking” symbol shall be clearly and conspicuously posted in every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited, by the owner, operator, manager or other person in control of that place. Every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited shall have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited (RI General Law, Section 23-20.10-7).