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New Smoking Laws Go into Effect

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Several months after their enactment at the end of Summer 2017, two new laws with regard to smoking policies in buildings have gone into effect as of February 24, 2018.

Local Law 147 of 2017 now prohibits smoking in common areas of all residential buildings with three or more units. Although smoking was banned previously in common areas of buildings with 10 or more units, this amendment to the law now affects thousands of RSA members and small property owners with buildings that are less than 10 units.

Please keep in mind that this law has two compnents and the second stage will go into effect on August 24, 2018. The second part of the law will require owners of all rental apartment buildings, co-ops and condos to promulgate a policy that explains where smoking is permitted in their buildings (if at all) and provide this new policy in all new leases and lease renewals (see page 13 of the November 2017 RSA Reporter).

As of now, the law does not dictate the contents of the policy that must be promulgated by owners. However, the law defines this smoking policy as “a written declaration that states in a clear and conspicuous fashion where smoking is prohibited on the premises of a Class A multiple dwelling.”

Please keep in mind that RSA will produce a policy template internally once we have more information from the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Once we are provided with the necessary information, we plan to have the policy available to RSA members as soon as possible. Although we cannot provide an exact date, we will have this policy available well before this part of the law goes into effect on August 24th. We will keep you posted as often as possible on the status of the policy via the RSA Reporter and email blasts.

Local Law 141 of 2017, which also went into effect as of February 24th, prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in common areas of buildings with three or more units. This law amends the City’s Smoke-Free Act, which previously prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in buildings with 10 or more units.

As a result of the new law, owners of buildings with three or more units must post “No Smoking” and “No Electronic Cigarette” signs in all building common areas. All signs must conform to these following specifications:
1. All lettering and symbols shall be at least one-half (1/2) inch in height and shall be color contrasted so that all information is clear, conspicuous and easily readable.
2. Signs must be printed on durable material
3. Signs may read: “NO ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE USE”
4. Owners may also post combined signs that read: “NO SMOKING OR ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE USE”

Please keep in mind that many owners already have “No Smoking” signs posted in common areas and will only be required to add the new signage that prohibits e-cigarette use. Owners will now have the option of posting combined signs. n

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