Health department reminds residents about indoor clean air act
The Utah Department of Public Health has been working for the last nine months to educate people on the provisions of the new indoor clean air act that was passed by the legislature last January.
"We want people to know about this act, to understand it and to abide by it," said Georgina Nowak of the Southeastern Utah Health Department. "Many people don't realize that the laws on this have changed a lot recently."
One of the areas where the laws have changed dramtically is in the schools; both public, private and in pre-schools.
Effective as of May 16, 2006 the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in public or private elementary or secondary school buildings and education facilities or the property on which those facilities are located.
There are a lot of common questions about these laws. Here are some answers for those who work or spend time in school buildings.
As an administrator what am I required to do? One of the most important steps administrators can take is to develop and disseminate a written smoking policy to all employees notifying them about the changes and the consequences for violating the policy and law. In addition, administrators should take appropriate action, such as posting signs, to let parents and visitors to the campus know about the change in the law.
Do the 2006 changes in the UICAA apply to charter schools?
Yes. Charter schools fall under the same regulations as public schools.
What should someone do if someone smokes in the school at which they work? Employees that believe there is a violation, can contact their supervisor to report the problem. If the reporting person feels their concerns are ignored or if they feel uncomfortable talking with administrators, they can contact their local health department directly and they will send out a staff member to investigate the complaint.
There are also new regulations for child care providers under the UICAA, which also took place in May of this year. Smoking is prohibited in child care not subject to licensure or certification under 26-39-102 when any child cared for by the provider, other than the child of the provider is present.
This area also generates some common questions as well.
Do the changes in the law mean I can't smoke in my own home? Yes, if the facility you are providing care in is your home (or someone else's home) no smoking is allowed while children, other than your child is present. Discuss this with family members and friends so everyone is clear about the requirement.
What am I required to do to comply with the changes in the law? Since last May child chare providers have been required to prohibit smoking in the facility or home in which they are providing care. Signs indicating the no-smoking requirement must also be posted at the facility or home used to provide the care. These signs are available at the local health department office.
What do I do if someone smokes in my home or facility where I am caring for children? Inform employees, parents, and visitors that the law prohibits smoking in the facility. If the person does not heed your warning, ask them to leave the facility (and the premises if that is your choice as the property owner or manager). In the unlikely case that a person fails to leave, consider calling law enforcement for assistance.