Clean Indoor Air Act FAQs

What is the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA)?

The Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) is a statewide prohibition of smoking in virtually all indoor workplaces as of February 1, 2008.

Why was the CIAA created?

Approximately 62,000 nonsmokers die each year in the United States from second hand smoke. Second hand smoke has been directly linked to the cause of serious illness. These include lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Waitresses have higher rates of lung and heart disease than any other traditionally female occupational group, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the same report, 1 8-hour shift in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes a day.

Have other states implemented the laws like the CIAA?

Yes. Twenty 4 (24) other states have enacted laws to create smoke free restaurants. Eighteen (18) states have enacted laws for smoke free bars. The State of Delaware passed a Clean Indoor Air Act in 2002. Delaware residents were surveyed about smoke-free indoor areas a year later. Almost all residents, 91%, were as or more likely to go to restaurants, and 89% were as or more likely to go to bars than they were before the regulations.

Baltimore City and multiple counties including Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Talbot went smoke-free before it was made a state law. Montgomery County passed regulations in 2003 that kept smoking out of restaurants. In 2004, County Council members reported that restaurant sales had gone up by 7%, or $2 million, and that 56 new restaurant applications had been received.

Who has to comply with the law?

As of February 1, 2008, there will be smoke-free air in almost all indoor places open to the public, including bars and restaurants. The Act prohibits smoking in the following areas:
  • Indoor areas open to the public
  • Indoor meeting places open to the public
  • Indoor places of employment
  • Mass transit vehicles
  • Private homes or residences being used by a licensed day care or child care provider
  • Private vehicles used for the public transportation of children or as part of health care or day care transportation
Such areas include:
  • Athletic facilities
  • Bars
  • Clubs as defined in Article §1-102(a)(4), Annotated Code of Maryland
  • Concert halls
  • Educational institutions
  • Financial service institutions
  • Government buildings
  • Hotels and motels
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Restaurants
  • Retail stores
  • Theaters
Smoking may still be permitted in tobacco shops, outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, and up to 25% of a hotel’s or motel’s guest rooms.

Is the law different for bars versus restaurants?

No. The law provides for fair and consistent statewide protection from exposure to secondhand smoke in indoor settings.

As a business owner, what can I do to comply with the law?

Compliance is the responsibility of the business owner and you should actively prohibit smoking in your establishment. Post “NO SMOKING” signs conspicuously at each entrance and in prominent locations inside your establishment

You may also want to use special smoke-free coasters, napkins or buttons to help get the word out. Free, downloadable signs and materials are available or may be purchased from local office supply, hardware and home improvement stores.

Can I apply for a waiver to allow people to continue to smoke in my establishment?

Yes, waivers may be granted under certain limited circumstances, undue financial hardship as a result of compliance, or other factors that would render compliance unreasonable. For most businesses considering a waiver application, it will still be necessary to comply with the requirements of the Clean Indoor Air Act for at least 2 months before submitting a waiver application. Waiver applicants must demonstrate how the business will move toward compliance during the time that the waiver is in effect. All waivers will expire January 31, 2011.

How will the law be enforced?

Compliance will be the responsibility of the business owner. If a complaint of a violation is filed with the Frederick County Health Department, then the violation complaint will be investigated by the Frederick County Health Department.

Who can file a complaint?

Employees and the public may confidentially or anonymously report violations of the Act. Complaints can be made in person or over the phone. While it is not the practice of the Frederick County Health Department to release names of those filing complaints, under Maryland law the release of that information may be required under certain circumstances. For further information or to file a complaint regarding a business you think may be in violation of the law, please, call 301-600-2542.

What are the penalties for violating the law?

A violation of Act or the regulations is subject to the following penalties:
  • First violation - a written reprimand
  • Second violation - a civil penalty of $100
  • Third violation - a civil penalty of $500
  • $1,000 per violation for each subsequent violation.

Can people smoke outside?

Yes. The Act does not ban smoking outdoors. There may be certain littering and loitering laws that may affect available locations.

Can employees smoke?

No. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the premises, including private offices and break rooms. Businesses that currently have a separate room for smoking can no longer allow smoking in these rooms or anywhere else inside. You must simply inform your employees who smoke that they must go outside to smoke. Be sure to communicate early and clearly with your employees to ensure they understand how the new smoke-free workplace law applies to both them and your customers.

NOW is a great time to QUIT!

When you are ready to quit call the Maryland Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW, or visit These are absolutely free services provided by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Frederick County Health Department (FCHD) can provide information on quitting and tools to help you quit for good. In addition the FCHD offers free smoking cessation class and nicotine replacement therapy. To find out more about cessation programs, visit our Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program.