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HomeNewsArchivesV.I. Answer Desk: When Does the Smoking Ban Take Effect?

V.I. Answer Desk: When Does the Smoking Ban Take Effect?

Source reader Erik Miles asks: "A no-smoking bill was recently signed into law by the governor. When does it go into effect?"
To answer the question, the Source contacted the offices of V.I. Senate President Louis Hill and of Gov. John deJongh Jr. The Senate passed the V.I. Smoke-Free Act in April, and deJongh signed it into law in May.
The law bans smoking in bars, restaurants and many public places, which are "enclosed spaces," and business owners are to post no-smoking signs inside and outside their establishments.
The prohibition went into effect when it was signed into law. It is currently illegal to smoke in what the law terms "enclosed areas of public places; … enclosed areas of places of employment; … any outdoor service or waiting line and in and within 20 feet from any point of any service or waiting line; and … within 20 feet of all outdoor public transportation stations and platform shelters open to the public."
Some private clubs and sole-proprietor businesses are exempt. "No smoking" signs at the entrance and inside every public place and workplace where smoking is banned must contain the sentence: "It is illegal to smoke in this establishment," and a contact number for the Department of Health to report violations.
When deJongh signed the bill into law, he also sent the Senate a letter recommending it be amended and softened in some respects. He urged the definition of "enclosed space" be narrowed and said mandates for business owners to post non-smoking signs inside and outside their establishment may be "overly burdensome," while charging people who violate the law with a misdemeanor is "troublesome" since it appears to "criminalize smoking."
Hill’s office has begun drafting legislation to address most of these issues, according to Hill’s Chief of Staff Colette Monroe. In the meantime, the law is in effect as written; the Department of Health should soon be issuing rules and enforcement guidelines for establishments, like bars and restaurants.

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Source reader Erik Miles asks: "A no-smoking bill was recently signed into law by the governor. When does it go into effect?"
To answer the question, the Source contacted the offices of V.I. Senate President Louis Hill and of Gov. John deJongh Jr. The Senate passed the V.I. Smoke-Free Act in April, and deJongh signed it into law in May.
The law bans smoking in bars, restaurants and many public places, which are "enclosed spaces," and business owners are to post no-smoking signs inside and outside their establishments.
The prohibition went into effect when it was signed into law. It is currently illegal to smoke in what the law terms "enclosed areas of public places; … enclosed areas of places of employment; … any outdoor service or waiting line and in and within 20 feet from any point of any service or waiting line; and … within 20 feet of all outdoor public transportation stations and platform shelters open to the public."
Some private clubs and sole-proprietor businesses are exempt. "No smoking" signs at the entrance and inside every public place and workplace where smoking is banned must contain the sentence: "It is illegal to smoke in this establishment," and a contact number for the Department of Health to report violations.
When deJongh signed the bill into law, he also sent the Senate a letter recommending it be amended and softened in some respects. He urged the definition of "enclosed space" be narrowed and said mandates for business owners to post non-smoking signs inside and outside their establishment may be "overly burdensome," while charging people who violate the law with a misdemeanor is "troublesome" since it appears to "criminalize smoking."
Hill's office has begun drafting legislation to address most of these issues, according to Hill's Chief of Staff Colette Monroe. In the meantime, the law is in effect as written; the Department of Health should soon be issuing rules and enforcement guidelines for establishments, like bars and restaurants.