There has been much to do about the newly effective smoking ban in public places in the State of Iowa that went into effect at 12:00 a.m. this morning. According to the newly enacted Iowa Code section 142D .3 smoking is prohibited in all public places and all enclosed areas within places of employments. Additionally, a person is not allowed to smoke in the seating areas of outdoor sports arenas or stadiums or other type of venues where members of the general public assemble to watch entertainment events, patio areas of restaurants or public transit stations, school grounds or any public buildings under the control of the state government or political subdivision. The prohibition does not however apply to the Iowa state fairgrounds in specified designated smoking areas nor to facilities of the Iowa national guard in designated smoking areas or the gaming floor of a casino. There are a number of detailed definitions and exceptions as to when and where people can still smoke in the State of Iowa, but a question worth answering is what are the consequences if someone breaks the new law.
A violation of the new smoking bans is a "civil violation" for both the offending smoker and the offending establishment.
For the offending smoker, the violation is punishable by a civil penalty of $25.
The consequences are a little steeper for the owner, operator manager or person with custody or control of the public place in violation. First Offense = maximum civil penalty of $100; Second Offense within one year = maximum civil penalty of $200; and each Third and Subsequent Offense within one year = maximum civil penalty of $500. More importantly any permit or license issued to the premises or owner is subject to suspension for violations of this law. The Administrative Rules pertaining to the enforcement of these penalties can be found at http://www.iowasmokefreeair.gov/common/pdf/admin_rules.pdf.
Also, in case you were wondering, the money raised by these civil penalties goes into the general fund of the state, unless a local authority is designated by the department in administrative rules is involved in the enforcement, in which case they are deposited in the general fund of the respective city or county.