The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act first went into effect on December 8th, 2006; ten days after receiving approval from the Nevada Supreme Court. The law specifically prohibits the use of tobacco products in almost all public places and places of employment. The State, District or County health boards, along with local law enforcement officials are tasked with enforcing the tobacco ban.
Reasons for Initiated Act
The most often cited reason for passage of The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is to ensure public health and safety. The primary danger to public health lies in secondhand smoke also referred to as environmental tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is actually a combination of smoke arising from the lit end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency state that tobacco smoke, along with secondhand smoke, contains more than four thousand substances, including many that have been shown to be carcinogenic, that is; they are known to cause cancer in humans. In 2006, the United States Surgeon General released a comprehensive report concluding that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits the use of tobacco products in almost all indoor places of employment. This includes public or government buildings, public and private schools and their grounds, child care facilities, all areas of grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores and indoor areas within restaurants – including those within casinos or other gaming establishments. Smoking is also banned in shopping malls, retail establishments, video arcades and movie theaters. Any slot machine area within a grocery or convenience store is considered, first and foremost, a part of that establishment and the use of tobacco products is not allowed. This act makes it difficult for aforementioned establishments to continue their viability and certain cigar institutions and stores will no longer get the business they once did. Cigar lighters, humidors, cutters and other accessories plus cigar bars and establishments will be affected the most by this act.
Exclusions to Act
However, the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act does not apply to the gaming area of casinos. Smoking and the use of tobacco products is allowed in these areas. A casino operator, if they wish, may designate separate rooms as nonsmoking or allocate portions of the gaming area to be tobacco free. Many casinos now have smoke free poker rooms and even nonsmoking slot areas. Any area of the casino that is not fully within the gaming area is required to be smoke-free. This includes any restaurants, bars, shopping malls, concert halls, theaters, retail stores or convention areas.
As previously noted, all indoor areas of restaurants must be tobacco free as well as any restaurant within a gaming establishment. However, if the restaurant does contain an outdoor area or patio, smoking may be allowed within that outdoor area. Stand alone bars, taverns or lounges which prohibit patrons under the age of twenty-one from entering may also allow smoking and the use of tobacco products.
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act does specifically state that smoking is permitted in areas within casinos where loitering by minors is already prohibited by state law pursuant to NRS 463.350. Also, a completely enclosed area in a stand-alone bar, tavern or saloon that does not admit minors onto the premises may be designated a smoking area. The use of tobacco products is also permitted in age-restricted, stand alone bars, taverns and saloons, strip clubs and brothels, retail tobacco stores and private residences.
Other Alterations and Amendments to Act
Smoking is allowed in a private residence that serves as an office or workplace, unless it is used as a child care, adult day care or health care facility. An area within a convention facility which is hosting a meeting or trade show, may allow smoking during the time the meeting or trade show is being held, if the meeting or trade show is not open to the public, is being organized or produced by a tobacco related business or a professional association for convenience stores and involves the display of tobacco products. An example would be a cigar convention that organizes high quality cigar humidors and smoking may be a necessary act to convince individuals.
Be aware that city, county or town governments may enact tougher, more restrictive laws against smoking and the use of tobacco products if they so choose. Remember also, even if an establishment allows you to smoke or use tobacco in a tobacco free or smoke free area, you are still in violation of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act and you may be subject to applicable penalties.