Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

About the Law

NOTE: In 2010, the D.C. Council passed a provision that allows property owners to post “no smoking” signs near their entrances to ensure secondhand smoke doesn’t enter the building. It is a voluntary provision that was tucked into a larger bill. To read the provision, look at the end of page 1 and the beginning of page two.

Facts about D.C.’s Smokefree Workplaces Law: The Department of Health Functions Clarification Amendment Act of 2006

Read the text of the law.

The law requires almost all indoor public workplaces – including restaurants and bars – to be smokefree.

Effective Date
On, April 3, 2006, most public indoor workplaces, including offices, factories, apartment lobbies and the dining areas of restaurants, are required to be smokefree.

On January 1, 2007, bars, nightclubs, private clubs, brew pubs and bar areas of restaurants are required to be smokefree. This applies to establishments that hold a tavern license (Class C/T or D/T), a club license (Class C or D), a brew pub permit (Classes C/R, D/R, C/T, or D/T) or a nightclub license (Class C/N or D/N). Establishments that hold a restaurant license (Class C/R or D/R) may allow smoking until January 1, 2007, in the bar area only.

The following places are exempt from the law:
* A retail store that is used primarily for the sale of tobacco products and accessories in which the total annual revenue generated by the sale of non-tobacco products or accessories is no greater than 25 percent of the total revenue of the establishment; provided, that it does not share space with any other establishment;
* A tobacco bar, which under the law means an establishment that generates 10% or more of its total annual revenue from the on-site sale of tobacco products, excluding sales from vending machines, or the rental of on-site humidors;
* An outdoor area of a restaurant, tavern, club, brew pub, or nightclub;
* A hotel room or motel room rented to one or more guests;
* A medical treatment, research, or nonprofit institution where the activity of
smoking is conducted for the purpose of medical research or is an integral part of a smoking cessation program;
* Theatrical productions; and
* Establishments that are granted an “economic hardship waiver” by the mayor. As of March 2006, details of how the waiver program will work were still being worked out.

The new law authorizes the Department of Health to inspect all workplaces and public places to
ensure compliance with the law. The Department of Health will issue warnings, and then fines, for violations.

Smokers who violate the law will be subject to a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000; subsequent offenses shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 or more than $1,000. People who destroy or deface signs posted in accordance with the law are subject to a $500 fine. Establishments that permit a smoker to violate the law will be fined $500 per day.

To file a complaint, call the city at (202) 671-5000 or visit

The law requires posting of a “no smoking” sign.