Report a Clean Indoor Air Violation

Clean Air

There is no safe level of exposure to the smoke produced by burning commercial tobacco. Secondhand smoke can cause problems in children and adults, and can even be deadly.

All people have a fundamental right to breathe clean air. Smokefree environments keep people from being exposed to the toxins, gases, chemicals, and particulate matter that is released by burning or using commercial tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Smokefree environments eliminate all smoking indoors and in common places of gathering, such as parks and rodeos, and are the only proven way to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure.

The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program (MTUPP) offers model policies, no cost signage and materials, and assistance to any organization wishing to go tobacco-free. For further help and information, find your local tobacco prevention specialist or MTUPP's policy specialist at Contact Us.

In 2005, the Montana legislature passed the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), one of the most important public health policies in state history.

The CIAA  requires all enclosed public places and workplaces, including work vehicles, or vehicles that serve as a place of work, and vehicles accessible to the public, such as taxis and buses to be smokefree; and it requires businesses to prominently place smokefree signs on all public entrances. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has adopted these rules. The CIAA is a complaint-driven law, report a violation.

The health benefits of the Clean Indoor Air Act are three-fold:

  1. Patrons and workers alike are protected from the deadly health effects of secondhand smoke exposure.
  2. More people who smoke will try to quit.
  3. Fewer Montana youth will begin smoking.                                         FAQs

The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, §§50-40-101, et seq., MCA (CIAA or the “Act”), prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, subject to various exceptions.  The Act is enforced by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services or its designees, or local boards of health or board designees.  §50-40-108, MCA.   A person or entity that owns or operates a facility is guilty of a misdemeanor upon a third violation of the CIAA, and subject to various monetary penalties.

The application of a state law, like the Clean Indoor Air Act, within the boundaries of an Indian Reservation is a question of federal law.  State laws are not generally applicable to Indians on the Indian reservation of their enrollment, except when Congress has expressly intended that State law shall apply, or in certain exceptional circumstances.  See, e.g., Gobin v. Snohomish County, 304 F.3d 909 (9th Cir. 2002).   State laws generally apply to non-tribal member activities on non-tribal lands within an Indian reservation unless preempted by federal law.  See, e.g., White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980); Strate v. A-1 Contractors, 520 U.S. 438 (1997).

Under federal law, the Clean Indoor Air Act applies on Reservations as follows:

  • The CIAA does not apply to public facilities owned and operated by tribal governments or tribal members within their reservation of enrollment.

  • The CIAA does apply to non-member owned public facilities operating on non-tribal lands within reservations.

In addition, MCA § 50-40-104, section states a site that is being used in connection with the practice of cultural activities by American Indians that is in accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 42 U.S.C. 1996 and 1996a is exempt.

The CIAA sets the minimum health and safety standards for secondhand smoke exposure in Montana while allowing cities and counties the ability to strengthen smokefree laws to best meet the needs of their communities. Local jurisdictions have and continue to adopt smokefree laws that are stronger than state law by prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and smoking in public outdoor areas. The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program offers free assistance to any localities within the state that are interested in expanding their local smokefree laws, including model policy language and signs. The policy language includes:

Inclusion of E-cigarettes in Smokefree Laws
Air free of both smoke and e-cigarette or vape aerosol should be the goal and standard for public health. E-cigarettes are not proven to be safe, and pose dangerous long term health threats to youthEleven localities in Montana have incorporated e-cigarettes into their local smokefree laws, further protecting their communities from the dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smoking Distance Provisions
There is no Montana state law that prohibits smoking within a certain distance of buildings or public places. However, communities in Montana may put such a policy in place. Secondhand smoke can be detected between 23 and 29.5 feet away from the source; the recommended smoking distance is at least 30 feet from any doors, windows and ventilation systems. Smoking distance provisions further protect Montanans from the harms of secondhand smoke exposure.

Localities and organizations can go beyond the state’s smokefree indoor air law protections by prohibiting the use of all forms of harmful tobacco products (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, chew, dissolvables, e-cigarettes, etc.) on properties. Tobacco-free environments prevent secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol exposure, reduce tobacco litter, lower cleanup costs, promote healthy behaviors to youth, and help those who are trying to quit tobacco. MTUPP offers free resources and assistance to all types of organizations wishing to go tobacco-free, including:

Tobacco-free Events
Tobacco has been a part of rodeo culture – but it does not have to be. Montana has become one of two states in the nation to have tobacco-free high school rodeo! Tobacco-free events foster a healthy environment and model health behaviors for the youth who attend. MTUPP offers a Model Tobacco-free Event Policy and free signage.

Tobacco-free Medical Campuses 
Tobacco-free Medical Campus policies can help support a healthcare organization's mission to improve the health of community members and address the number one cause of preventable disease and death: commercial tobacco use. MTUPP offers a Model Tobacco-Free Medical Campus Policy and free signage. MTUPP also works with behavioral health facilities to implement tobacco-free policies. MTUPP, in conjunction with the Addictive and Mental and Disorders Division of DPHHS, developed a toolkit to assist with integrating tobacco treatment and policies to better help clients overcome their addiction. Contact MTUPP Cessation Specialist for a copy of the toolkit.

Tobacco-free Parks
Tobacco-free parks promote positive community role modeling and protect the health, safety, and welfare of community members. Secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted. MTUPP has available free signage and a Model Tobacco-free Parks Policy that is free to use by any organization that wishes to implement a tobacco-free policy. Review the "Why You Want Tobacco-Free Parks in Your Community" Infographic.

Tobacco-free Schools, Colleges, and Universities
To protect youth and young adults from the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure, MTUPP partners with the Montana Office of Public Instruction for K-12 schools and The BACCHUS Initiative of NASPA for colleges and universities. Montana School Districts of Excellence and Montana Tobacco-Free Colleges and Universities.

Tobacco-free Worksites
Worksite wellness programs and policies have a substantial impact on health care costs, absenteeism, workers compensation costs, and productivity. If you are interested in finding out more on how to build or strengthen the worksite wellness program, including implementing a tobacco-free workplace policy at your worksite, please visit Montana's Worksite Wellness webpage.

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