Smoke-Free Laws in N.C.

North Carolina law prohibits smoking in the following:

  • Enclosed areas of almost all restaurants and bars and also enclosed areas of hotels, motels, and inns, if food and drink are prepared there (effective January 2, 2010, pursuant to the N.C. Smoke-free Restaurants and Bars Law; see smokefree.nc.gov for more information);
  • Buildings owned by the state;
  • Buildings leased by the state as lessor (i.e., landlord), and the area of any building leased and occupied by the state as lessee (i.e., tenant);
  • Passenger-carrying vehicles owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the state and assigned permanently or temporarily to a State employee or state agency or institution for official state business to be smoke-free (effective January 1, 2009);
  • Public school (K-12) campuses and school-sponsored events;
  • Long-term care facilities;
  • State correctional facilities;
  • Family Child Care Facilities (NC Child Care Commission Rule);
  • Nearly all restaurants and bars, and many lodging establishments.

North Carolina law allows the following state/local venues to prohibit smoking and tobacco use:

Local Smoking Bans

The law allows local governments to prohibit smoking and all tobacco products in the following:

  • Buildings owned by local government, buildings leased by local government as lessor (i.e., landlord), and areas of buildings leased by local government as lessee (i.e., tenant);
  • Any place on a public transportation vehicle owned or leased by local government and used by the public;
  • Passenger-carrying vehicles owned, leased or otherwise controlled by local government and assigned permanently or temporarily to local government employees, agencies, institutions or facilities for official local government business to be smoke-free (effective January 1, 2009);
  • Unenclosed areas owned, leased, or occupied by the local government (i.e. "grounds";
  • Enclosed areas to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted (i.e., "public places");
  • Any enclosed elevator;
  • Public meetings;
  • Indoor arenas with seating capacity greater than 23,000;
  • Libraries and museums open to the public.