Smoking in Public Places Law

Smoking in Public Places Law

RCW 70.160 

In 2005, Washington voters approved Initiative 901, which prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment.  

The Smoking in Public Places law (SIPP) also prohibits smoking within 25 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited.

Why prohibit smoking in public places?

 Secondhand smoke poses a significant health risk, and prohibiting smoking in public places protects you from exposure to secondhand smoke and the toxic chemicals it contains. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

SIPP enforcement

– The Whatcom County Health Department enforces the Smoking in Public Places law in Whatcom County. Businesses that violate the law are subject to civil penalties - fines of up to $100 per day for each day they are found to be out of compliance.  They are also subject to re-inspection fees and may face legal action. 

 Learn more about what your business can do with this compliance checklist.
  Does your business need smoke-free signs?  Download them here.

 See our SIPP FAQ for more information.

What about e-cigarettes?

  Some Washington counties have local laws that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in public places, just like cigarettes.  As of March 2015, Whatcom County does not prohibit e-cigarette use in public places.

 SIPP does not apply to most areas of multi-unit housing or other private rental housing.  For information about what landlords and tenants can do to make their properties smoke-free, visit our smoke free housing page.

Contact Information
  • Smoking in Public Places violations - Environmental Health (360) 778-6000