City of Arlington Revises its Smoking RegulationsNovember 3, 2006The Arlington City Council has adopted revisions to Article X of the City’s Health and Sanitation Code, establishing new regulations for safeguarding public health. Arlington joins a growing list of United States cities taking additional steps to reduce the harmful effects of second-hand smoke in public places.Revisions to the City’s smoking ordinance were approved Tuesday, October 10, on second and final reading. The revisions are scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2007. Violation of this ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000.This month, the City of Arlington is posting information on its website, cable channel and in publications to help educate the public about the changes. A summary of the revisions is below. To review the revised ordinance in its entirety, go to the City of Arlington website and click on Smoking Ordinance or call the Environmental Health Division at 817-459-6502. For further information, please contact Claudi (Angel) Stewart, Health Services Supervisor at 817-459-6682 or Claudia.Stewart@arlingtontx.gov
Ordinance Revision Summary
- Eliminates “designated smoking areas” in restaurants and in combination restaurants and bars.
- Eliminates smoking in a bar, night club, sexually oriented business, billiard hall, bingo parlor or bowling center unless the establishment does not allow any person under the age of 18 to enter, does not open into a restaurant, hotel, motel or any other establishment where smoking is prohibited, and is fully enclosed from floor to ceiling by solid walls with a stand alone heating/ventilation air conditioning system.
- Establishes a 50-foot “no smoking” arc outside of each entrance and openable window of a nonsmoking facility.
- Prohibits smoking in all places that have shared heating/ventilation air conditioning systems unless all of the tenants of a facility with the shared HVAC system meet the requirements for exceptions granted under certain conditions to bars, night clubs, sexually-oriented businesses, billiard halls, bingo parlors and bowling centers.
- Expands to prohibit smoking in the buildings or grounds of a hospital or healthcare facility, which includes an ambulatory surgical center, rehabilitation center or minor emergency treatment facility.
- Eliminates numerous exceptions to the existing ordinance. Smoking is not allowed in public schools within the Arlington Independent School District, public libraries, museums, hospitals and healthcare facilities, retail or service establishments, theaters, auditoriums and other enclosed entertainment venues.
- Requires “No Smoking – City Ordinance” signage to be posted at all public entrances within establishments that do not meet ordinance exceptions.
Frequently Asked QuestionsQuestion:
Why were changes made to the ordinance?Answer:
The City of Arlington has restricted smoking in public places since the early 1990s to protect the public against the damaging affects of secondhand smoke, which the Environmental Protection Agency has classified as a known human carcinogen. Since that time, more U.S. cities have been imposing additional restrictions on smoking within public places. A report this year from the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than previously thought. The report finds that “even the most sophisticated ventilation systems cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure and that only smoke-free environments afford full protection.” For more about the report: Surgeon General – Reports of the Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health ServiceQuestion:
How do the revisions to the smoking ordinance impact the owner or manager of a restaurant in Arlington?Answer:
Smoking is prohibited in restaurants and combination restaurants and bars. It is an offense for a restaurant owner, manager or operator to designate or maintain a smoking area in a restaurant. It is an offense for the restaurant owner, manager or operator to allow the smoking of a tobacco product within the restaurant. Further, the owner or manager of the restaurant commits an offense if he or she fails to post and maintain required signage. See below for examples of required signage.Question:
How do the revisions to the smoking ordinance impact the owner or manager of bar in Arlington?Answer:
A bar is defined as an establishment that derives more than 75 percent of its gross revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption. Smoking is prohibited in a bar, night club, sexually oriented business, billiard hall, bingo parlor or bowling center unless the establishment does not allow any person under the age of 18 to enter, does not open into a restaurant, hotel, motel, or any other establishment where smoking is prohibited, and is fully enclosed floor to ceiling by solid walls with a stand alone heating/ventilation air conditioning system. An owner, manager or operator of such an establishment commits an offense if he or she allows smoking of a tobacco product unless this criteria has been met. Further, the owner or manager of a bar, night club, sexually oriented business, billiard hall, bingo parlor or bowling center commits an offense if he or she fails to post and maintain required signage. See below for examples of required signage.Question:
How do the revisions impact the public?Answer:
The amount of second-hand smoke inside of public places will be reduced, improving air quality.
A person commits an offense if he or she smokes tobacco or possesses a burning tobacco product within an Arlington restaurant, bar, night club, sexually oriented business, billiard hall, bingo parlor or bowling center where smoking is prohibited. A person commits an offense if he or she smokes tobacco or possesses a burning tobacco product with a 50-foot arc of an entrance to a non-smoking facility. Violation of this ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000.Question:
How do I know if my establishment is in compliance with the ordinance revisions?Answer:
Review Article X of the Health and Sanitation Code of the City of Arlington in its entirety. See below.Article X – Regulation of SmokingGuidelines for Installation of Approved Designated Smoking AreaSmoking Ordinance 06-103Sign 1 – No Smoking City OrdinanceSign 2 – No Smoking City Ordinance EspanolSign 3 – Smoking In Designated Areas OnlySign 4 – Smoking In Designated Areas Only – EspanolSign 5 – This Establishment Does Not Provide A Non-Smoking SectionSign 6 – This Establishment Does Not Provide A Non-Smoking Section Espanol
SMOKE TEST SEQUENCE
Building Inspector begins smoke test.
Smoke bomb is released.Smoke must clear in 15 minutes.
After “smoke bomb”, Building Inspector does “puff test” to make sure the smoke does not leave the smoking area.
The Health Division administers and enforces the smoking ordinance for the City of Arlington. The smoking ordinance came about due to the national awareness of the hazards of “passive smoking.” The regulations address smoking in places open to the general public, including retail and service establishments. Areas receiving the most attention are food establishments and the workplace. The Health Division investigates complaints and take enforcement when necessary, and provides education on the ordinance through brochures on “Retail and Service,” “Food Establishments,” “Guidelines for Employers” and “Smoking in the Workplace.”Contact the Community Development & Planning’s Environmental Health Division at 817-459-6502. For further information, please contact Claudi (Angel) Stewart, Health Services Supervisor at 817-459-6682 or Claudia.Stewart@arlingtontx.gov