With Cannabis Legalization Come Restrictions For All Smokers

Permitted public areas for tobacco smoking and vaping will soon be limited.

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The legalization of cannabis will impact a wide range of the Connecticut population, and not just those who use it. With the new regulations, permitted areas for all forms of smoking will soon be restricted.

Included in the legislation, legalizing cannabis, is the definition of “smoking.” Broadly describing it to include a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or device that contains cannabis, hemp and tobacco. With that, any kind of smoking will soon be limited to designated areas only.

“I don’t enjoy being around cigarette smoke or vaping smoke. So, from a selfish perspective I guess I’m happy about that,” said Devon Francis of Rocky Hill.

Beginning October 1, smoking of any kind – including tobacco and vaping - will be restricted in many public places. That includes outside restaurants and bars. Smoking can only be done 25 feet away from any door or open window.

 “I think that it’s certainly a personal choice, what you put into your body. But the second-hand smoke aspect of that I think it should be restricted for sure,” said John Casadei of Salisbury.

Workplace lounges that were previously designated for smoking will no longer be legal. Tuesday, Charley Hickey of Windsor was taking a smoking break from work. Something that could soon be more difficult to do but he says, he understands.

“I think that’s probably a good thing. Even though I’m a smoker, it’s a good thing,” he said.

As for businesses, like restaurants, they’re still adjusting but the Connecticut Restaurant Association doesn’t foresee a major problem.

“Restaurants, even with outdoor dining, have really gone away from allowing cigarette smoke,” said Executive Director Scott Dolch.

The Tobacco Shop in Hartford has existed since 1920. It’s over a century old, but the business challenge introduced today is brand new.

“The first thing I think about, being selfish, is my customers,” said Gerry Grate, owner of The Tobacco Shop.

The 25-foot distance regulation also applies to food and retail stores. Which means smoking tobacco and vaping on public streets near these establishments will also be restricted.

Among the other common locations affected are workplace lounges that were previously designated for smoking. Those will no longer be legal. There will also be no smoking in prisons or psychiatric facilities.

For many in the business community, these new regulations will mean an adjustment after evaluating the regulations.

“My approach is going to be a wait and see approach,” said Grate. “The law is only a day old; we’ll find out.”

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