Helpful Information About Birmingham’s Smoke-Free Indoor Air Ordinance

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With recent news of several violations reported in the city of Birmingham, the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership wants residents and businesses to know the facts about the law and how to report violations.

Dozens of supporters wearing "SmokeFree Alabama" stickers spoke in favor of the smoke-free ordinance when it was passed in April.

The Health Action Partners offer help to individuals and companies looking for information about the smoke-free rules, where to report violations, and how to quit smoking."

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Recent news reports about business defying Birmingham’s smoke-free ordinance have raised questions in the community. The Health Action Partners offer help to individuals and companies looking for information about the new rules, where to report violations, and how to quit smoking. The most commonly asked questions and answers are below.

Q: What cities are affected by the smoke-free ordinance?
A: The local ordinance passed by the Birmingham City Council does not apply to Birmingham’s suburbs or anywhere outside of Birmingham city limits. Other municipalities, such as Fultondale, Midfield, and Vestavia Hills, have similar laws.

Q: Where is smoking prohibited?
A: The ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed public spaces within the city of Birmingham. This includes bingo halls, private clubs, any enclosed city property, nursing homes, offices, taxis, buses, restaurants, most bars (except certain tobacco stores, or cigar/hookah bars), hotels and motels, polling places, and parking decks. Outdoor arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters are also smoke free within 30 feet of the bleachers or grandstands.

Q: Can people smoke outside?
A: Smoking is off limits within seven feet of the entrance of an enclosed public space, bus shelter or bus station, or other public transportation platform. Outside seating or serving areas of restaurants and bars located on public property (such as city sidewalks) are also smoke-free zones.

Q: Who enforces the smoke-free ordinance?
A: County health officers, fire marshals, and police officers are allowed to enforce the smoke-free ordinance. Owners, operators, managers and employees of establishments where smoking is prohibited should instruct customers not to smoke on the premises, and to ask them to leave if they refuse to stop smoking. Businesses that allow customers to violate the smoke-free ordinance can face severe penalties, including the loss of a business license.

Q: Where do I file a complaint I see a violation?
A: Citizens can also be enforcers by reporting abuses to the city via the Birmingham Police Department (non-emergency line: 205-328-9311) or to the Birmingham Fire Marshal (205-250-7540).

Q: Where can I get information on quitting?
A: For more information quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit AlabamaQuitNow.com.

For other questions about Birmingham’s smoke-free ordinance visit healthactionpartners.org or write info(at)championsforhealth(dot)org.

SmokeFree Alabama is an initiative of the Jefferson County Health Action Partnership — a coalition of more than 100 nonprofit organizations working alongside the Jefferson County Department of Health — to promote smoke-free spaces, reduce tobacco use, encourage physical activity, reduce obesity, expand food access, and improve the overall health of Jefferson County residents. SmokeFree Alabama is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Michael Hansen

Brad Kachelhofer
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