New York Laws on Smoking in the Workplace

Information on New York workplace smoking laws, including accommodations for smokers and employer policies on smoking.

Updated by , J.D. · University of Missouri School of Law

What kinds of workplaces are subject to New York workplace smoking laws?

Workplace smoking laws apply to indoor workspaces.

In New York, in what parts of the workplace is smoking prohibited? Where is smoking permitted?

Smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace, in copy machine and common equipment areas, and in company vehicles.

New York laws don't address the specific areas of a workplace where smoking may be permitted. Remember that some workplaces might already be subject to New York or local laws that regulate smoking in public, or smoking in or around certain kinds of businesses.

What are the requirements for designated smoking areas in New York workplaces?

New York does not require employers to create designated smoking areas or provide other accommodations for smokers in the workplace.

Does New York require employers to make accommodations for nonsmokers?

New York doesn't specifically require employers to provide workplace accommodations for nonsmoker employees.

Are employers required to have a written or oral policy on workplace smoking in New York?

New York employers must post "no smoking" signs, and employers must make a good-faith effort to ensure that employees do not smoke.

Does New York provide employees with protection from smoking-related discrimination?

An employee may not be discharged, refused employment, or discriminated against in terms of compensation or benefits because of lawful use of products offsite during nonwork hours when not using employer's equipment or property. That includes the use of cigarettes or vapes.

It is not discrimination to offer insurance with different rates or coverage for smokers if the difference is based on cost to employer, and employees are given a written statement of carriers' rates.

During the hiring process, can a New York employer ask an employee if they smoke?

Smoking and vaping away from the workplace are lawful protected activities in New York. That means employers may not ask job candidates whether they smoke or vape without running afoul of the law.

Does New York City have an anti-smoking law?

New York City's Smoke Free Air Act (SFAA) bars smoking and vaping in virtually all New York City workplaces. Under the law, employers must clearly display "No Smoking, Electronic Cigarette Use, and Smokeless Use" signs wherever smoking is prohibited.

Where can I find New York law information on smoking in the workplace?

If you want to go right to the source and look up New York law on workplace smoking laws -- or if you're writing a letter to your employer or employee and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at N.Y. Pub. Health Law Sections 1399-n to 1399-x; N.Y. Lab. Law Section 201-d(2b),(6).

Workplace smoking information is also available in Nolo's book The Employer's Legal Handbook, by Aaron Hotfelder.

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