Laws and Regulations Regarding Tobacco

Laws and regulations that restrict indoor venues where people can smoke, access to and advertising of tobacco, and increasing the costs of tobacco products have had a significant effect on reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, initiating tobacco use, and youth access to tobacco products. They have also increased the number of tobacco cessation attempts.  In addition, raising cigarette prices is one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce smoking, especially among kids.

Pertinent Connecticut Laws and Regulations

Clean Indoor Act (C.G.S. 19a-342)

Creating smoke free work environments is a powerful tool to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke. Studies show that such laws reduce heart attacks and help smokers to quit. Through the efforts of the MATCH Coalition and many partners, the Connecticut legislature enacted landmark legislation in 2003 that prohibited smoking in workplaces and public places including restaurants.  Bars were added in 2004. Connecticut’s Clean Indoor Act was a victory for workers’ rights and a healthier work environment. Although the Connecticut law is 100% smoke free in restaurants and bars, the smoking prohibition does not apply to all workplaces. The law allows smoking in specific settings:

  • Businesses with fewer than five employees
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private clubs with liquor permits as of May 1, 2003
  • Public housing authorities
  • Smoking areas of psychiatric hospitals
  • Tobacco bars in existence on December 31, 2003

These exemptions are permissive, not mandatory. That means that the business, private club or housing authority may permit smoking or adopt a smoke-free policy. They are not required to allow smoking. Many small businesses, country clubs, VFWs and other private clubs have chosen to go smoke-free.

As of October 2011, 23 states, along with Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C, have a law in effect that requires non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, and bars to be 100% smoke-free. These laws, along with local laws in other states, protect 48.5% of the U.S. population. 

There is no federal Clean Indoor Act. 

To learn more about Connecticut’s Smoke-free laws see the following links:

To see why smoke-free laws are important and what states have 100% smoke-free laws see the following links:


Day Care Centers and Group Day Care Centers

The Department of Public Health (DPH) regulates these centers. Smoking is prohibited in all child day care centers and group day care homes licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, except in designated smoking areas. DPH is the enforcement agency (860-509-8045.


There are a number of agencies with the authority to enforce the various sections in the act including local and state police, the liquor control division of the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection and the Connecticut Department of Labor. Citizens can file a complaint with the local or state police department. Employees can file a complaint by calling the Connecticut State Department of Labor at 860-566-4550

Tobacco Taxation

Increasing the price of cigarettes can reduce smoking substantially by discouraging initiation among youths and young adults, prompting quit attempts, and reducing average cigarette consumption among those who continue to smoke. Increasing cigarette excise taxes is one of the most effective tobacco control policies because it directly increases cigarette prices, thereby reducing cigarette use and smoking-related death and disease. Research shows that every 10 percent cigarette price increase reduces overall cigarette consumption by four percent, reduces the adult smoking rates by 2% percent, and youth smoking rates by 6.5% (Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids). Since 2002, MATCH has supported raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products as a tobacco use reduction strategy. In 2001 the state tax on a pack of cigarettes was fifty cents. As of July 1, 2016, the state tax on cigarettes was increased by .25 cents from $3.65 to $3.90.  This increase gives Connecticut the second highest cigarette tax in the country.

For more information on tobacco taxes in other states and their affects see the following links:

Youth Access and Advertising

More than 90% of adult smokers began smoking while they were teenagers. A successful tobacco control program must work to prevent new smokers - most of them young people - from starting to use tobacco. One method, proven to be effective and used by most states, is to restrict young people's access to tobacco products.

The federal Synar Amendment of 1997 requires states to have laws in place prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 and to enforce those laws effectively. In addition, Synar requires that statewide compliance with these laws must be at a rate of 80% or better in order to release block grant funding for prevention programs in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Since 1999 Connecticut’s Targeted Reduction Schedule with Retailer Violation Rate has been less than 20% each year. In 2011 it was 11.3%. Almost 75% of violations occurred at gas and convenience or convenience and deli establishments. Connecticut’s success in reducing underage youth access to tobacco was due to state tobacco law enforcement by the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS); the enactment of legislation such as Connecticut General Statute Section 12-295a and 53-344 that provides meaningful, yet rational penalties for non-compliance; and the work of investigators and youth agents in the Tobacco Prevention and Enforcement Program (TPEP) who conduct inspections and merchant education alongside local police and resident troopers.

It is also against the law for minors to possess or purchase tobacco.  Minors will be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense.

To learn more about laws related to youth access and their enforcement see the following links:

Federal Laws

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) became law on June 22, 2009. It gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health. 

To learn more about the FDA regulations see Prevention Section on FDA regulation, Other Tobacco Products and Advertising see the following links: