This policy is intended to be a model for state legislation to create smoke-free Senior Centers. To that end, this policy provides for smoke-free environments both indoors and outdoors at Senior Centers. This policy can also be easily adapted for use as a state regulation or as a policy for an individual Senior Center facility.
Sec. 1000. Title
This law shall be known as the Smoke-Free Senior Center Act.
Sec. 1001. Authority [This section would, in most states, not be needed in state legislation. However, this section is included herein for use by state agencies if this policy is adopted as a state regulation, under existing authority of the state agency.]
This regulation is hereby adopted by the [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] pursuant to the authority conferred upon the [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] by the [insert appropriate state law citation].
Sec. 1002. Jurisdiction and Administration
This law shall have effect throughout the state of [insert name of state]. The [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] shall have responsibility for administering and enforcing this policy, including all amendments hereafter adopted unless otherwise specifically stated.
Sec. 1003. Findings and Purpose
The [insert name of State legislature] hereby finds that:
The U.S. Surgeon General, National Research Council, and National Academy of Sciences report that environmental tobacco smoke causes lung cancer and poses an increased risk of heart disease in adult nonsmokers. These agencies, as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have also found that separating smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, a nonsmoker’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Further, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds that environmental tobacco smoke is a Group A Carcinogen – a category reserved for known cancer-causing agents in humans.
Of the over 416,000 smoking-related deaths annually in the U.S., over 94% are to persons aged 50 and over, while over 70% are to persons aged 65 and over. All the major causes of death among the elderly (cancer, heart disease, and stroke) are associated with smoking or environmental tobacco smoke. Recent research also indicates that smoking is related to a number of health problems and diseases that are generally associated with aging, including hearing loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Accordingly, the [insert name of State legislature] finds and declares that the purposes of this policy are 1) to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in the enclosed areas that make up Senior Centers and prohibiting smoking on all outdoor grounds of Senior Centers; and 2) to guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.
Sec. 1004. Definitions
A. The following words and phrases, whenever used in this law, shall be construed as defined in this section:
1. "Senior Center" means any nonresidential program that provides a variety of social or recreational activities and services for older individuals who are relatively independent, both physically and socially. [If your state has a definition of Senior Centers, use that definition.]
2. "Employee" means any person who is employed by a Senior Center in consideration for direct or indirect monetary wages or profit, and any person who volunteers his or her services for a nonprofit entity.
3. "Employer" means any person, partnership, corporation, including a municipal corporation, or nonprofit entity, functioning as a Senior Center, who employs the services of one or more individual persons.
4. "Enclosed Area" means all space between a floor and ceiling which is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows (exclusive of door or passageways) which extend from the floor to the ceiling.
5. "Person Served" means a user of a Senior Center.
6. "Place of Employment" means any enclosed area under the control of a public or private Senior Center which employees normally frequent during the course of employment, including, but not limited to, work areas, employee lounges and restrooms, conference and classrooms, employee cafeterias and hallways. A private residence is not a "place of employment" unless it is used as a Senior Center.
7. "Smoking" means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, weed, plant, or other related substance or product.
Sec. 1005. Operation and Maintenance of Smoke-Free Senior Centers
A. It shall be the responsibility of the employer to provide a smoke-free place of employment for all employees and a smoke-free setting for all persons served by a Senior Center.
B. Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed areas of Senior Centers without exception. This includes, but is not limited to, common work areas, rooms, hallways, stairs, lobby and reception areas, cafeterias, lounges, elevators, restrooms, motor vehicles owned or leased by the Senior Center, and any other enclosed areas.
C. Smoking shall also be prohibited in all outdoor areas of Senior Centers without exception. This includes, but is not limited to, all doorways, sidewalks, parking lots, grounds, and any other outdoor areas.
D. This smoking policy shall be communicated to all current employees and persons served at least three (3) weeks prior to its effective date, and at the time of employment for all other employees.
E. The employer shall supply a written copy of the smoking policy upon request to any existing or prospective employee or person served.
Sec. 1006. Posting of Signs
A. "No Smoking" signs or the international "No Smoking" symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) shall be clearly, sufficiently and conspicuously posted at every entrance to the Senior Center by the employer.
B. The employer shall remove all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from any area where smoking is prohibited by this policy.
Sec. 1007. Enforcement
The [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] shall be responsible for enforcing this law.
Sec. 1008. Nonretaliation
The employer shall not discharge, refuse to hire, or in any manner retaliate against any employee, applicant for employment, or person served because such employee, applicant, or customer exercises any right to a smoke-free environment afforded by this law.
Sec. 1009. Other Applicable Laws
This law shall not be interpreted or construed to permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.
Sec. 1010. Severability
If any provision, clause, sentence, or paragraph of this law or the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions of this law which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this law are declared to be severable.
Sec. 1011. Effective Date
This law shall be effective sixty (60) days from and after the date of its adoption.
Model prepared in March, 2003 by The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan. http://www.tcsg.org