North Dakota employers need to be ready for new smoking law

by Lisa Edison-Smith

North Dakota employers need to take steps to comply with a new antismoking law that will take effect on December 6, 2012.

On November 6, voters approved Measure 4 by a 2-1 margin. The law “prohibit[s] smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices, in public places and most places of employment in the state, including certain outdoor areas.” It also provides that employers have “notification and enforcement responsibilities.”

The full text of the law, which is much longer than the abbreviated version that was on the ballot, includes requirements that employers:

  • Prohibit smoking within 20 feet of “entrances, exits, operable windows, air intakes, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas”;
  • Clearly and conspicuously post no-smoking signs or the international no-smoking symbol in places of employment, including in vehicles;
  • Remove all ashtrays from any area where smoking is prohibited, except for ashtrays displayed for sale and not for use on the premises; and
  • Communicate to all existing employees and prospective employees on their employment application that smoking is prohibited.

The full text of the statute is available on the North Dakota secretary of state’s website. Look for more information on this new law in North Dakota Employment Law Letter.

Lisa Edison-Smith is an editor of North Dakota Employment Law Letter and an attorney with Vogel Law Firm in Fargo. She can be reached at