Frequently Asked Questions

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When does the ordinance go into effect?

On January 1, 2008. 

What does the ordinance prohibit? 

It prohibits smoking within the City of Newton in two categories of indoor areas and two
categories of outdoor areas:

  1. Indoor areas which are open to the general public;
  2. Indoor areas of employment which are under the control of the employer and are
    provided for employment-related activities;
  3. Outdoor areas within 20 feet of a public entrance or exit to a building, or within 20 feet
    of a building’s ventilation intake; and
  4. Outdoor areas within 20 feet of an outdoor vendor.

What are some examples of indoor areas open to the general public? 

Retail stores; retail service establishments (including restaurants and bars); professional
offices; educational, healthcare, child care and adult day care facilities; indoor recreational
and sports facilities; hotels, motels and other places of public accommodation; and
convention, conference and meeting facilities.

What about parts of a business where the general public is not allowed?

They would be included if either (a) it is an area where the business’ employees engage in
any of their employment-related activities, or (b) it is an area which is not physically
separated from the public areas sufficiently to prevent migration of second-hand smoke into
the public areas. Otherwise they are not included.

What about public sidewalks and parking lots? 

They are not included within the no-smoking prohibition, except for portions within 20 feet
of a public entrance or exit to a building, or within 20 feet of an outdoor vendor.

What about public parks? 

Public parks are not included within the no-smoking prohibition, although indoor shelter
houses would be. However, be aware that some organizations, such as the school district or
the Newton Recreation Commission, may prohibit smoking in areas where events sponsored
by them are being conducted.

Are private clubs and fraternal organizations included? 

They would be included if either (a) they permit the use of their facilities by the general
public; or (b) they have employees which work in their facilities.

My employer permits employees to smoke outside of the building. Is this still okay? 

Yes, as long as the outdoor area is not within 20 feet of an entrance or exit which is provided
for use by the general public.

As a business owner, am I required to take any action if someone smokes in my business? 

You are required to take reasonable steps to stop the violation, such as advising the person
that smoking is not permitted, asking the person to cease smoking while in the building, and
asking the person to leave if they will not cease smoking. If a person still does not comply,
you should not take any forcible action yourself, but instead you should call the police.

Are businesses and employers required to put up no-smoking signs? 

They are not required to, but are encouraged to do so. This helps communicate the
restriction, and helps avoid inadvertent violations and the need for any confrontations.

I operate a business out of my home, and sometimes I meet with customers there. Does
that mean my home has to be non-smoking? 

No. The types of businesses which are lawful home occupations under Newton zoning
ordinances are not of the type which would come under the ordinance. However, be aware
that some home businesses such as daycare centers which are licensed by the State may be
subject to State regulations regarding smoking. 

If someone does smoke in a prohibited area, who gets fined – the person smoking or the
business owner/operator? 

The person smoking in a prohibited area can be fined. The business owner or operator would
only be subject to a fine if it was shown that he or she is making no effort to enforce the
prohibitions. Most communities who have adopted such ordinances have not had particular
problems with enforcement.

What are the applicable fines? 

Up to $100 on a first violation in a one-year period; up to $200 for a second violation; and up
to $500 for a third violation.