Clean Indoor Air Act Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When did the law go into effect?
A. The law became effective on September 11, 2008. If additional information on the Clean Indoor Air Act is needed please call the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control at (717) 783-6600. 

Q. What does the new legislation do?
A. The Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants, workplaces and a portion of casino floors.

Q. Is Pennsylvania the only state to do this?
A. Pennsylvania joins twenty-four states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, which currently ban smoking in public places.

Q. Why is the state doing this?
A. A 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General documented the serious and deadly health effects of secondhand smoke on healthy non-smokers, which include developmental effects in children, heart disease in adults and cancer in sites beyond the lungs.

Q. Are there exceptions to the law?
A. The bill allows for some exceptions, including a private residence (except those being used at the time for the provision of child care services), a private social function where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except when the club is open to the public for a club-sponsored event, or used for a private event that is not club sponsored) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop.

Q. How do I apply for an exception?
A. Exception forms can be downloaded from the Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.pa.us/ciaa.

Q. What do I do if I want to report someone?
A. Please log onto www.health.state.pa.us/ciaa and download the Clean Indoor Air complaint form or call the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control at (717) 783-6600 to report an individual or business not in compliance with the law.

Q. Why is this a big deal – not that many people smoke in Pennsylvania.
A.  Two million Pennsylvania adults are current smokers

  • Over 20,000 Pennsylvania adults die each year from their own smoking.
  • Approximately 300,000 kids under age 18 and alive in Pennsylvania who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
  • It is estimated that between 1 and 3 million adults non-smokers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Over $5 billion in annual health care costs in Pennsylvania are directly caused by smoking.

Q. This is going to affect my business – I will lose income if people can’t come into my establishment and smoke.
A. An analysis of the health and economic impact of New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act found that the law did not have an adverse financial impact on bars and restaurants. Another study found that bars located in areas with smoke-free laws sold for prices that were comparable to prices for similar bars in areas with no smoking restrictions.

Q. Our volunteer fire company has two separate buildings for bingo – one for smokers and one for non-smokers.  How will the CIAA affect our bingo? 
A. The CIAA requires that bingo halls that are open to the public must be smoke-free. Detailed information on the responsibilities of volunteer fire, ambulance and rescue companies are provided in the Guidance on Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act Provisions and Exceptions for Specific Organizations, Workplaces, Facilities, Residences and Events under “Private Clubs” 

Q. Our place of worship owns and operates a bingo which is open to the public.  Do we need to be smoke-free?
A. Yes. By CIAA definition your establishment is both a public place and a workplace that may not permit smoking.

Q: Our restaurant has an outside deck.  Is there anything that prohibits us from making the deck non-smoking since it is outside?
A. The CIAA does not ban smoking for structures such as a deck or patio that is not enclosed by walls and a ceiling, but does make it clear that nothing in the Act is intended to preclude the owner of a public or private property from prohibiting smoking on the property. 

Q: Can employees working in an auto body shop smoke on the work floor?  Is smoking outside permitted during working hours?
A. No, employees may not smoke on the work floor. Permitting smoking outside during working hours is at the discretion of the employer and, if allowed, should be in a designated area away from openings into the work area.

Q: Our business is a union workplace.  How do we establish our policy to comply with the Clean Indoor Air Act?
A. The CIAA smoke-free requirement for the indoor workplace and public places supersedes all union agreements related to smoking in the indoor areas of a workplace or public place. Any other policy would relate to outdoor smoking and accommodations for your workers. 

Q: In the construction industry workers are outside putting up residential or commercial buildings.  When is a newly enclosed space considered a smoke-free workplace?
A. As the construction of a building may be completed in phases, when a portion of the building is enclosed with a floor, walls and a ceiling that area of the building is considered to be a smoke-free workplace.

Q: Can an organization build a separate smoking area which has no food or alcohol service, has its own ventilation system and entrance completely apart from food prep/service/customer areas?
A. The CIAA does not permit the construction of a separate area with its own ventilation system and entrance for the sole purpose of smoking.

Q: Our county jail currently allows inmates to smoke inside and allows smoking in an administrative office that is attached, but outside of the jail itself.  Both the jail and the administrative office are located in the County Courthouse.  Will the legislation ban smoking in the jail by inmates and staff?  Will the legislation ban smoking in the administrative office.
A: Both the jail and the administrative offices are workplaces, and as such must be smoke-free in any and all indoor areas. 

Q: Our day care facility is currently non smoking and we want the grounds to be smoke-free as well.  What do we need to do to be a completely smoke-free facility?
A: There are no restrictions on business owners that want to extend the no smoking area of their property to include the outdoor area. This can be accomplished by posting appropriate signage and implementing an outdoor smoke-free policy for employees and the public.

 

Private Clubs FAQ
 

The Department has received numerous questions about private clubs and how Pennsylvania's Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) applies to them. The CIAA, which prohibits smoking in workplaces, commercial establishments and public places, provides an exception for private clubs. In order to be considered a private club under the CIAA, the club must first be one of four types of organizations:

1. The first type of organization that is defined as a private club in the CIAA is a "reputable group of individuals associated together as an organization for legitimate purposes of mutual benefit, entertainment, fellowship or lawful convenience." This type of private club includes but is not limited to:

  • American Legion
  • Amvets
  • Elks
  • Moose
  • VFW
  • County Club
In addition, in order to be considered this type of private club the CIAA requires the following:
  • The club must regularly and exclusively occupy a clubhouse or quarter for the use of its members.
  • The club must own or lease the clubhouse.
  • The club must hold regular meetings.
  • The club must conduct its business through officers regularly elected.
  • The club must admit members by written application, investigation and ballot.
  • The club must charge and collect dues from members.
  • The club must have been in continuous existence for a period of ten years as such an organization.

The three other types of private clubs are:
 
2.    A volunteer ambulance service
 
3.    A volunteer fire company
 
4.    A volunteer rescue company
 
In order for any one of the above types of private clubs to allow smoking, the private club must take and record a vote of its officers.
 
If the officers vote to allow smoking in the private club, the club may allow smoking throughout the facility or in any part of the facility, as the club chooses, except for two circumstances:
 
1. When the club is open to the public through general advertisement for a club sponsored event.
 
2. When the club is leased or used for a private event which is not club sponsored.
 


A number of questions have been asked by private clubs concerning the CIAA.  Following are questions that are representative of the many questions asked, and the Department's guidance in response to those questions.
 
Question:  Is there a requirement for a private club to apply for an exception from the Department of Health if they want to permit smoking?
Response:  No.  Private clubs are not required to apply for an exception from the Department of Health.   The Department recommends that following the vote, the private club notify the Department of the outcome of the vote.  A form is posted on the Department's website here.

 
Question:  Will there be an extension of the implementation date for private clubs that have not had the opportunity to vote on whether to permit smoking?
Response:  The CIAA does not provide an extension of the implementation date.  If the private club officers are unable to take and record a vote prior to September 11, 2008, the private club must be smoke-free until the vote is taken and recorded.
 

Question:  If a private club does not serve food, does it have to comply with the CIAA?
Response:  The service of food is not relevant to whether a private club must comply with the CIAA.
 

Question:
  If a club has employees, does the club become a workplace and therefore may not allow smoking under the private club exception, regardless if employees agree with the club exception?
Response:  Under the provisions of the CIAA the fact that a club has employees does not make a difference in whether the club officers may vote to permit smoking.
 

Question:  We are a private social club that qualifies as a "private club" under the Clean Indoor Air Act list of definitions. We also hold a PLCB Catering Club Liquor License and alcohol is served on the premises. Does this mean we have to apply for an exception under a drinking establishment or do we still qualify as a "private club".
Response:  You qualify as a private club if you meet the definition as stated above.
 

Question:  May a private club permit "social members" into the club if the private club votes to permit smoking?
Response:  The CIAA does not distinguish among types of memberships.  The CIAA defines a member as one who goes through a membership process that includes a written application, investigation and ballot, and pays dues.
 

Question:  If a private club allows smoking can members of another chapter or home of the state or national organization of the same club, be allowed to come into the club?
Response:   Yes, if the by-laws or rules of the private club permit members of another chapter or home of the state or national organization of the same club to come into the club.
 

Question:  As a private organization, we participate in sports leagues, where different teams come to the Lodge and are not members.  Do we have to ban smoking while these events are being conducted, or are they exempt?
Response:  This appears to be a club sponsored event that is open to the public.  Therefore smoking is prohibited.
 

Question:  We are a private club that occasionally allows members the use of the hall to have weddings/birthday parties and other events as described in our general laws. Since the event is private and under the control of the member, can smoking be permitted?
Response:  No.  Smoking is prohibited in private clubs when the club is leased or used for a private event which is not club-sponsored
 

Question:  Under this law does a private club that has voted to permit smoking have to allow smoking at all times throughout the facility?
Response:  No.  If the officers of the private club have voted to permit smoking in the club, the club may designate smoking and non-smoking as well as smoking and non-smoking days or times.  The only restriction under the CIAA on the organization is that the entire facility must be smoke-free during club sponsored events open to the public through general advertisement and when the club is leased or used for a private event that is not club sponsored.
 

Question:  Can a private club that has voted to allow smoking designate one area of the facility (the bar, for example) as smoking and another part of the facility (the "Social Quarters", for example) as non-smoking?  Does this qualify as a Type II drinking establishment?
Response:  If the private club officers vote to permit smoking the club may designate smoking and non-smoking areas.  A type II drinking establishment does not apply to private clubs.
 

Question:  If the private officers vote to permitting smoking can the private have a non-smoking dining area with a door that leads to a bar that is a smoking area? The heating and air conditioning systems in the two areas are independent of each other.
Response:  If the officers of the private club have voted to permit smoking in the club, the club may designate smoking and non-smoking areas.   The CIAA does not have any requirements relating to doors or separate heating and air conditioning systems for private clubs.
 

Question:  If the officers of the private club have voted to allow smoking can the club have club sponsored dinners that are open to the public through general advertisement and allow smoking?
Response:  No.  When club-sponsored dinners are open to the public through general advertisement the entire facility must be smoke-free.
 

Question:  May a private club vote to have smoking, but on certain days hold events open to the public and make the facility non-smoking on those days?
Response:  Yes.  A private club that has voted to allow smoking may designate certain days to hold events open to the public and make the entire facility non-smoking on those days.
 

Question:  Can a private club have an area where smoking is permitted that is closed off from the area where a function like bingo is being held and smoking is banned?
Response:  No.  If a club-sponsored event that is open to the public through general advertisement is held in the club, the entire facility must be smoke-free during the event.
 

Question:  Is it possible to add doors to divide our bingo hall that is open to the public into 2 equal areas to allow smoking? Our hall is equipped with smoke eater fans.
Response:  No.  The entire building must be smoke-free for a club sponsored event that is open to the public.
 

Question:  If the officers of a private club vote to permit smoking in the private club can an advertised public event be held in a separate room if the area is posted as a "No Smoking Area"?
Response:  No.  Whenever an advertised club sponsored public event is held in the club, the entire facility must be smoke-free.
 

Question:  If the officers of a private club vote to permit smoking can a part of the facility be rented out to non-members for a private event and at the same time the rest of the facility still be available for smoking?
Response:  No.  If any portion of the private club facility is leased or used for a private event which is not club-sponsored, smoking is not permitted in any part of the facility.
 

Question:  Can a private club have an outside entrance with a vestibule with a doorway to a second vestibule which has two doorways one leading to a main dining area which is non-smoking and a second doorway leading to a bar area which is smoking.  Both areas have their own heating and air conditioning systems.
Response:  If the officers of the private club have voted to allow smoking in the club, the club may designate smoking and non-smoking areas.  The CIAA does not place any restrictions or requirements on doorways, vestibules, or air systems.
 

Question:  Our club has an outdoor pavilion attached to the building, but it is not enclosed. If we have an event may people smoke out there?
Response:  Yes.  The CIAA does not restrict outdoor smoking for private clubs.
 

Question:  As commander of an organization qualified as a private club under the Clean Indoor Air Act, we intend to vote for non-smoking.   What are the guidelines for outdoor smoking areas?
Response:  The Clean Indoor Air Act does not restrict or regulate outdoor smoking as it applies to private clubs.  The CIAA does not require the club to designate outdoor smoking and non-smoking areas.  If the club chooses to designate an outdoor smoking area, the Department of Health recommends that the designated area for smoking be located away from building entrances, windows or openings, and have  appropriate containers for ash and cigarette disposal.   A distance of 20 feet from the building entrances is recommended.
 

Question:  We currently have two buildings. One is our community hall where our fire department (volunteer) does all fund-raising. This facility is currently smoke-free. My question pertains to our fire station itself. Under the Clean Indoor Air Act, does this building have to be smoke-free as well?
Response:  If the officers of the volunteer fire company have voted to allow smoking, the building that is used for meetings of the membership and for conduction of business of the department may allow smoking.  The other building where members of the public are permitted must be smoke-free.
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions Specific to:

  1. Allowing Guests Including Children into a Private Club Whose Officers Have Voted to Permit Smoking
  2. Circumstances Where the Officers of a Private Club Have Voted to Permit Smoking and the Club Must Be Smoke-Free

The Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) requires a private club to admit members through a written application, an investigation and a ballot. 

The CIAA requires that the officers of the club take and record a vote on how to address smoking in their club.
Note:  The voting officers should be the officers of the private club, not the officers of a Home Association.

If the officers of the private club vote to allow smoking in the private club, the club may allow smoking throughout the facility except for two circumstances:

  • Where the club is open to the public through general advertisement for a club sponsored event.
  • Where the club is leased or used for a private event which is not club sponsored.


Member/Guest Questions

The CIAA defines a private club and requires the officers of the club to take and record a vote on how the club will address smoking.  The CIAA requires a club to be smoke-free under two circumstances.  The CIAA does not provide for the following:

  • The CIAA does not restrict a club from allowing members to bring guests into the club during times smoking is permitted.
  • The CIAA does not determine how many guests a member may bring into a club during times smoking is permitted.
  • The CIAA does not restrict families including children under the age of 18 from being in a club during times smoking is permitted.

Therefore, the answers to questions that pertain to types of memberships, the number of guests that a member may bring into the club, whether or not members may bring their families into the club and if children under 18 are permitted in a club that allows smoking, depend on the individual private club’s bylaws or rules. 

Following are examples of the types of questions and statements that have been submitted to the Department of Health that require responses by the individual private club:

  • Is there a limit to the number of guests that may be in attendance with any one member and do we need to have them sign a guest register?
  • In a Club that allows smoking, are the wives, husbands and minor children permitted in the club with the member when the club is closed to the public?
  • I work at a Club. It has both regular and social members who pay yearly dues. We do have alcohol. If the officers choose to have a smoking environment, are our members still permitted to bring in guests? Our bylaws state that they are permitted to bring two guests.
  • If the Officers of a private club vote to allow smoking, are the wives or husbands and children of members under the age of 18 permitted to be in the club, or are they considered "the public" because they are not actual members?
  • Are qualified guests of members who are signed into the club according to PLCB laws permitted to be in the club? This would include sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, etc.
  • Are our members permitted to bring children under the age of 18 in being there will be smoking?
    Note from the Department of Health:  The provisions for private clubs in the CIAA do not require a private club to restrict children under 18 from being in the club while smoking is occurring.  Any such restriction to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke is the responsibility of the club.
  • Can a private club that votes to allow smoking allow children under the age of 18 permission to enter the club (smoking area) when they are accompanied a parent or legal guardian?
  • I have a social membership at a local private club.  My membership allows me to bring in four guests plus my entire family.  We enjoy the meals at the club.  Will the law make the club stop members from smoking so my kids don’t have to be in all the smoke?
  • If a club allows children under the age of 18 into the facility, must the facility be non-smoking even if they are children of club members?
  • If a private club votes to allow smoking does this mean members are allowed to bring small children to this club while smoking is going on? Example members only party but families are allowed.
  • We run a private club and allow children in with their parents!  Must we stop this policy?
  • We are a private club that serve's meals six days a week to both members and non-members i.e., family and guests.  Are we required to go non-smoking?

If the Officers of a Private Club Have Voted to Permit Smoking, there are still circumstances where the Club Must Be Smoke-Free

There are two circumstances where a private club must be entirely smoke-free.  These are:

  • Where the club is open to the public through general advertisement for a club sponsored event.
  • Where the club is leased or used for a private event which is not club sponsored.

Note:  During club-sponsored events open to the public and during non club-sponsored events, the entire facility must be smoke-free.

Club-sponsored events open to the public through general advertisement include but are not limited to:

  • Bingo halls
  • Meals that are open to the public.
  • Raffle drawings where raffle tickets have been sold to the public and the public is invited to the drawing.
  • Entertainment – i.e., featured bands where the event is promoted and open to the public

Non club-sponsored events where the club is leased or used by a member or non-member for a private event including, but not limited to:

  • Birthday, wedding, anniversary celebrations
  • Graduation parties
  • Retirement parties
  • Meetings or conferences hosted by other local organizations