Denver 1993 & 2008


GASP of Colorado (Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution)


Ordinance Grade: 2


Some local laws have provisions that are stronger than the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act and provide better protection from exposure to secondhand smoke at work and in public places. GASP of Colorado rates local laws compared to the state law on a scale of zero to five.  The highest and best rating is a five (click here for an explanation of our rating system).  Any stronger provisions in the state law take precedence over any weaker local provisions so the state law should be reviewed first through these links: or


This local law provides more protection from secondhand smoke than the state law in the following area(s):


Work Places: (none)

Employee Retaliation Prohibited: (24-3-314)

Restaurants and Bars: (none)

Building Entrances and Perimeters: (none)

Outdoor Places: (24-305-b1-4, 38-8)








WHEREAS, environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of preventable disease and death in nonsmokers, and is a major source of indoor air pollution; and


WHEREAS, environmental tobacco is a cause of lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis,

emphysema, decreased exercise tolerance, asthma, asthmatic attacks, and eye irritation; and


WHEREAS, scientific studies have shown that breathing environmental tobacco smoke is

especially hazardous to children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic lung or heart disease; and


WHEREAS, the U.S. Surgeon GeneralÕs Report on Involuntary Smoking warns "the simple

separation of smokers and non-smokers within the same airspace may reduce, but does not eliminate, exposure of non-smokers to environmental tobacco smoke," and "the technology for the cost effective filtration of tobacco smoke from the air is currently not available"; and


WHEREAS, tobacco smoke can, without warning, present an immediate health threat to asthmatic individuals; and


WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that environmental

tobacco smoke is a Group A carcinogen; and


WHEREAS, unregulated smoking in public and private settings commonly causes non-smokers physical discomfort; and


WHEREAS, numerous surveys have shown that a majority of both non-smokers and smokers

support restrictions on smoking in public places and in places of employment; and


WHEREAS, smoking is a cause of fires, which jeopardize the welfare and safety of the public; and


WHEREAS, the Denver City Council finds and declares that the purpose of this Ordinance is to protect the public health, welfare and safety;


WHEREAS, the Council further finds and declares that where needs of smokers and non-smokers conflict, the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority.



Section 1. Article IX of Chapter 24 of the Revised Municipal Code is hereby repealed and reenacted to read and be read as follows:



Sec. 24-301. Definitions.

(a) Food service establishment means any business licensed by the City to serve food in an

indoor area.


(b) Public places means places open to the public or open to the public upon payment of a



(c) Smoke or smoking means inhaling, exhaling, or carrying any burning tobacco project.


(d) Smoke-free area means an area free of environmental tobacco smoke.


(e) Work area means any part of an indoor area at a place of employment where an

employee carries out his or her responsibilities.


Sec. 24-302. Smoking Regulated. Smoking in the city is regulated as provided in this article.


Sec. 24-303. Notwithstanding any other provision in this article, no person shall smoke in any place designated by signs conforming to Section 24-309, by the owner, operator or person in charge as a no-smoking area.


Sec. 24-304. Smoking in Public Places. Smoking in public places is regulated as follows:

(a) In indoor spaces smoking shall be prohibited except:


(1) in a fully enclosed, independently ventilated smoking area, which shall not exceed

one-half of the facility;


(2) when exempted by section 24-306; and


(3) in designated smoking areas established under section 24-307.


(b) In outdoor spaces smoking shall be allowed except as follows:


(1) Within the exterior walls/fences of an open-air theater smoking is prohibited in

open seating areas, food/drink concession areas and related lines leading thereto, restrooms and amphitheater aisles and allowed elsewhere within the facility only in designated smoking areas established by the owner, operator, or person in charge, in a manner consistent with section 24-307(a);


(2) During special events open to the public and held within the exterior wall/fences

of a botanic garden or zoo smoking is prohibited except in smoking areas established therein by the facility owner, operator, or person in charge, in places apart from visitor viewing areas and walkways, in a manner consistent with section 24-307(a);


(3) Within the exterior walls/fences of a sport stadium smoking is prohibited in open

seating areas, aisles, interior ramps or stairs leading to seating areas, food/drink concession areas and the area of lines leading thereto, and restrooms and the area of lines leading thereto and allowed elsewhere within the facility only in designated smoking areas established by the owner, operator or person in charge, in a manner consistent with section 24-307(a); and


(4) Within the exterior wall/fences of tennis courts and swimming pools smoking is



Sec. 24-305. Regulation of Smoking in Places of Employment.

(a) Employers shall provide a smoke-free work area for every employee requesting not to

have to breathe environmental tobacco smoke.


(b) Each employer having an indoor place of employment shall implement, make known,

follow, and enforce a written smoking policy which shall:


(1) State that every employee has a right to work in an area free of environmental

tobacco smoke. If a designated smoke-free area does not eliminate environmental tobacco smoke from the employeeÕs work area, except in food service establishments, the employer will take steps to eliminate the environmental tobacco smoke. In any dispute concerning the smoking policy, the health of non-smoker shall take precedence. In food service establishments, employers shall accommodate an employeeÕs request to work in the no-smoking section unless such accommodation is impractical;


(2) Prohibit smoking in auditoriums, classrooms, conference/meeting rooms, elevators, elevator lobbies, hallways, stairwells, escalators, medical facilities, and restrooms; and


(3) Prohibit smoking in employee cafeterias, lunchrooms, and lounges unless separate

facilities are available to non-smokers.


(c) An employer may prohibit smoking throughout an entire place of employment by posting

signs required by section 24-309.


Sec. 24-306. Smoking Restriction Not Applicable. Except when a facility or a portion

thereof has been designated by the owner, operator, lessee/licensee, or person in charge as non-smoking, the regulations in this ordinance do not apply to:

(a) A bar or bar area of any facility, except the dining area therein which shall be treated as

a food service establishment;


(b) Private residences, except portions used for commercial child care, teaching, tutoring,

health services, or personal care services while being so used;


(c) Hotel and motel rooms when rented to guests;


(d) Conference or meeting rooms within restaurants, hotels and motels while being used

exclusively for private functions;


(e) Retail tobacco stores;


(f) A private enclosed office work place occupied exclusively by a smoker or smokers, even

though such office may be visited by non-smokers. However, an office work area with

a cash register, service counter, or waiting area open to the public shall be subject to this



(g) A private function not open to the public;


h) Food service establishments with a seating capacity of less than twenty-five (25) persons;



(i) A business which has 4 (four) or fewer employees.


Sec. 24-307. Designating Smoking Areas.

(a) So long as the smoking area does not exceed the non-smoking area and smoke or the

products of smoking do not contaminate the non-smoking area, the owner, manager or

person in charge of a facility may designate smoking areas which do not meet the requirements of Section 24-304(a)(1) except in the indoor portions of the following facilities:


(1) Elevators, elevator lobbies, stairwells, and escalators;


(2) Public walkways, hallways, lobbies;


(3) Buses, taxicabs, and other means of public transit;


(4) Public restrooms;


(5) Ticketing, boarding, baggage collection, and waiting areas in public transportation



(6) Service lines, check-out counters, cash register areas, or cashier areas;


(7) Retail stores;


(8) All areas available to and customarily used by the public in all businesses,

commercial establishments, and nonprofit entities;


(9) Indoor malls of buildings or structures which are open to the public including, but

not limited to food courts (to be treated as a separate food service establishment)

located within or adjacent to the mall;


(10) All public areas in grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores or any other

retail food establishment whose primary function is to sell food to the public for consumption on or off the premises;


(11) All educational facilities;


(12) Aquariums, galleries, zoos, libraries, museums, recreation centers, and botanic gardens;


(13) Any facility open to the public and used for the presentation of motion pictures, dramas, lectures, musicals, recitals or similar functions;


(14) Health care facilities, including, but not limited to hospitals, clinics, physical therapy facilities, and medical and dental offices.


(15) Commercial child care centers and those areas, private homes used for commercial child care, teaching, tutoring, or health or personal care services while being so used;


(16) Polling places;


(17) Any rooms being used by any board, council, commission, committee or agency of the City and County of Denver for a public meeting;


(18) Courtrooms, jury waiting rooms, and deliberation rooms in any building which serves as a place for the convening of any court organized under the City Charter;


(19) Amusement centers, including video arcades and childrenÕs play areas;


(20) Theaters and concert halls; and


(b) In food service establishments, including dinner theaters, with a seating capacity of twenty-five (25) persons or more, the owner, operator or person in charge shall designate

a no-smoking area of sufficient size to accommodate, without unreasonable delay, patrons

who request to be seated in such an area. The delay shall be deemed reasonable if it is equal for smokers and non-smokers. The smoking and no-smoking areas may be adjusted at any time to meet the needs of smoking and no-smoking patrons. Smoking shall be prohibited in the waiting areas of all food service establishments with a seating capacity of twenty-five (25) persons or more. This paragraph shall apply only to fully enclosed areas within food establishments and not to open air areas;


Sec. 24-308. Procedure for Designating Smoking Areas. An area is designated as a

smoking area by the installation of signs as follows:

(a) Signs stating "Smoking Permitted in this Area" shall be permanently posted in every

smoking area in such a manner that the area where smoking is allowed is clearly delineated.


(b) Ash receptacles shall be places at entrances to no-smoking areas from smoking areas and signs shall be posted at or near the receptacles stating: "No Smoking by city ordinance, extinguish here."


Sec. 24-309. Signs. "No Smoking", "No Smoking Except In Designated Areas", "No Smoking by City Ordinance, Extinguish Here", and "Smoking Permitted in This Area" signs shall measure not less than forty (40) square inches in size with "NO SMOKING" in all upper case letters not less than one (1) inch high, the remainder of the lettering may be lower case and shall be not less than one-half (½) inch high. The international "NO SMOKING" symbol, not less than five (5) inches high, may be used as a substitute for a "No smoking" sign. A sign stating "No Smoking", "No Smoking except in designated areas", and the "No Smoking Symbol" may also contain the words "By City Ordinance" or by Article IX of Chapter 20 of the Revised Municipal Code.


Sec. 24-310. Location of Signs and other Notices. In addition to other locations set forth in

this chapter, signs shall be posted as follows:

(a) No smoking signs shall be visible at all public entrances to every facility where smoking is regulated. Facilities with designated smoking and no-smoking areas shall post signs which read "No Smoking" or "No Smoking Except in Designated Areas".


(b) In the following specific settings these additional requirements shall also apply:


(1)In theaters, signs shall be posted in the lobby stating that smoking is prohibited within the theater or auditorium. Motion picture theaters shall project, prior to each feature film, a five  (5) second message saying smoking is prohibited.


(2) In addition to appropriate signs at the entrance, in indoor malls no smoking signs shall be prominently and clearly posted in sufficient locations to alert persons using the mall of the prohibition against smoking.


(3) At indoor food service lines, no smoking signs shall be clearly visible from the entrance to the food service line.


(4) In grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or retail establishments, clearly visible "No Smoking" signs shall be posted at all public entrances.


Sec. 24-311. Responsibility of the Owner, Operator, Manager, or Person in Charge.

The owner, operator, or manager of every facility open to the public or open to the public upon the payment of a fee where smoking is regulated shall:

(a) post signs as required by this chapter;


(b) request that anyone known to be smoking in a no-smoking area comply with the law;


(c) if a host or hostess is on duty, ask patrons for their seating preference between smoking or non-smoking areas prior to seating or, if no host or hostess is on duty, adequately post the entrance so that patrons will be aware of the location of smoking and non-smoking areas;


(d) in sports arenas, stadiums, and indoor malls where a public address system is available and regularly used for non-emergency announcements, make public address announcements regarding the smoking regulations at appropriate times.


Sec. 24-312. Enforcement. In enforcing this Article any police officer may issue a summons

and complaint to be filed in County Court to:

(a) any person personally observed not complying with a "No smoking" sign posted in accordance with this article;


(b) the owner, operator, or manager of any facility that has not posted the required signs; and


(c) any person, who according to a written statement by the owner, operator, manger, patron,

or employee of any facility, is not complying with a "No smoking" sign posted in accordance with this article.


Sec. 24-313. Agency Responsibility. Every department, agency, and office of the City shall

implement this Article in all facilities under its management control.


Sec. 24-314. Non-retaliation. It shall be unlawful for an employer to retaliate against or

discharge any employee for requesting a non-smoking work area, or filing a complaint or otherwise reporting a violation of this ordinance.


Sec. 24-315. Other Applicable Laws. This Article shall not be interpreted or construed to

permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.


Sec. 24-316. Power of board of health and hospitals. The board is hereby authorized to

adopt, and the manager may promulgate rules and regulations deemed necessary for the proper and effective enforcement of the provisions of this Article.


Sec. 24-317. Effective Date. This ordinance shall be effective sixty (60) days from and after

the date of its enactment, except insofar as the application of this ordinance to professional sports stadiums where it shall not be effective until February 1, 1994.





TO: All Departments and Agencies Under the Mayor

FROM: Mayor

DATE: December 1, 1993

SUBJECT: City Smoking Policy

I. This Executive Order, effective immediately, establishes the smoking policy in City-owned, or City-managed facilities and offices, and replaces Executive Order No. 99 dated July 2, 1990.


A. Smoking in McNichols Arena, Mile High Stadium, Denver Coliseum, Botanic Gardens,

convention centers, libraries, museums, theaters, and parks shall be regulated as provided in Denver Revised Municipal Code 24-301 et. seq., and the managers and department personnel in charge of the operation of such facilities shall implement such regulations and procedures in all facilities under their management control.


B. At Stapleton International Airport, smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places except

bar/lounges designated by the concessionaire and food service establishments meeting the

requirements of D.R.M.C. 24-307(b) and so designated by the concessionaire. At Denver International Airport, smoking is prohibited in all indoor public places, including bars, restaurants, and food courts, except in fully enclosed, independently ventilated smoking areas pursuant to D.R.M.C. 24-304(a)(1). Smoking is prohibited in the tunnel and all restricted access areas.


C. Smoking in the County Jail and City detention centers shall be regulated by the

Department of Safety and the mangers in charge of such facilities.


D. Smoking in public and private City offices, courts, and other indoor buildings not otherwise specified herein, including City offices within the facilities listed in paragraphs A and B, shall be prohibited.


E. Smoking at the entrances or on the grounds of City-owned or managed facilities may be

regulated by the manager in charge of the facility with an effort made to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.


F. The City's Wellness Committee will continue to offer smoking cessation classes to City employees.


G. Enforcement for City employees violating this order shall be the responsibility of the

manager of the department or agency. Enforcement for the general public shall be the responsibility of the building manager.

Approved for legality: Daniel E. Muse. City Attorney



For an ordinance amending Chapter 38, Article I, of the Revised Municipal

Code pertaining to Offenses, Miscellaneous Provisions, In General by adding a prohibition against smoking on certain public premises adjoining hospitals.

WHEREAS, secondhand smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke) is a complex mixture of thousands of chemicals that are emitted from burning tobacco;

WHEREAS, secondhand smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing);

WHEREAS, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified environmental tobacco smoke as a Group A carcinogen under EPA's carcinogen assessment guidelines, which classification is reserved for those compounds or mixtures that have been shown to cause cancer in humans;

WHEREAS, breathing secondhand smoke for a short time can have immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, interfering with the normal functioning of the heart, blood, and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk of heart attack;

WHEREAS, persons who already have heart disease are at especially high risk of suffering adverse effects from breathing secondhand smoke and should take special precautions to avoid brief exposure;

WHEREAS, secondhand smoke contains many chemicals that can quickly irritate and damage the lining of the airways and brief exposure can trigger respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, wheezing, and breathlessness;

WHEREAS, persons who have asthma or other respiratory conditions are at especially high risk for being affected by secondhand smoke and should take special precautions to avoid secondhand smoke exposure;

WHEREAS, outdoor secondhand tobacco smoke may have an acute affect on populations;

WHEREAS, short-term outdoor secondhand tobacco smoke exposure could be a danger to high-risk persons; and

WHEREAS, hospitals treat people with such diseases and injuries and are dedicated to providing a safe, clean, and healthy environment and to promoting health, wellness, and prevention.



Section 1. Chapter 38 (Offenses, Miscellaneous Provision), Article I (In General) of the

Denver Revised Municipal Code, is amended by the addition of the following section:

"Section 38-8 Smoking Prohibited within Certain Public Premises Adjoining

Hospital Properties.

 (a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases

have the meaning set forth below:

 (1) Flow line means the face of the curb and gutter, or if no curb and gutter, the edge of the pavement.

 (2) Hospital has the meaning set forth in ¤ 59-2(141) of this code.

b) Prohibition.

1) It shall be unlawful to smoke or possess burning tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco smoking devices, or any other lighted smoking equipment, on the public right-of-way (including sidewalks, tree lawns, and alleys) adjoining hospitals and other hospital-owned properties or properties leased by any hospital, up to the closest flow line. This prohibition does not apply to persons in moving vehicles in alleys.

(c) Hospitals shall post "No Smoking" or "Smoke Free" signs, or the international

"No Smoking" symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) or both in conspicuous places on their property (ies) sufficient to provide public notice of this smoking prohibition. Failure to post signage under this section is not punishable under this code.

(d) Notwithstanding the hospitals' responsibility to post signs, the presence or absence of signs shall not be a defense to a violation of any provision of this section. A person found to be in violation of this section 38-8(b)(1 is subject to a fine up to three hundred dollars ($300) per violation.

Section 2. This ordinance becomes effective November 20, 2010