What to Know: City of Arlington’s Updated Smoking Ordinance
By Office of Communication
Posted on May 23, 2018, May 23, 2018


The Arlington City Council has adopted a more comprehensive citywide smoke-free ordinance that will mean changes for smoking customers at bars, bowling alleys and billiard halls.

The City's Smoking Ordinance, first adopted in 1985, already prohibits smoking in most public places and places of employment, such as restaurants, retail shops, schools and hospitals.

The ordinance update, which went into effect May 1, now prohibits indoor smoking at bars, billiard halls, sexually oriented businesses, bowling centers and other private work places. These are places where smoking had been allowed under an exemption in the previous ordinance, which was updated by City Council in May 2017.

Click the link below to read the ordinance.

2017 Smoking Ordinance Update

The City of Arlington produced the following Frequently Asked Questions to provide citizens with information about the Smoking Ordinance.

Where is smoking prohibited indoors?

  • bars
  • nightclubs
  • restaurants
  • hotels and motels
  • workplaces
  • schools (preschool to post-secondary)
  • billiard halls
  • sexually oriented businesses
  • bowling centers
  • common areas of multi-family housing, including apartment complexes and condos
  • municipal buildings
  • most other enclosed public places, including hospitals, nursing homes, museums, galleries, retail stores and theaters

Where is smoking prohibited outdoors?

  • Within 15 feet of the primary entrance to a bar, nightclub, billiard hall, bowling center or sexually oriented business
  • Within 50 feet of the exterior entrances or operable windows or ventilation systems of other smoke-free establishments
  • Within 50 feet of public park amenities, including public restrooms, playgrounds, fenced areas around public swimming pools, dugouts, and bleachers provided for spectators at outdoor athletics events

Which places are not included in the Smoking Ordinance?

  • Private homes and vehicles
  • A smokers' lounge attached to retail tobacco stores that meets established ventilation requirements
  • A stand-alone tobacco shop that doesn't allow in persons or employ persons under the age of 18 and meets established ventilation requirements
  • Specifically defined private clubs with 501 tax-exempt status
  • Outdoor areas, such as public parks, that exceed the 50-foot setback outlined in the ordinance
  • Bingo halls

Does the Smoking Ordinance regulate electronic cigarettes, or vaping?

o, the Smoking Ordinance does not regulate the use of electronic cigarettes.

When did the Smoking Ordinance go into effect?

The updated ordinance, adopted by Arlington City Council on May 9, 2017, went into effect at 12 a.m. May 1, 2018. As part of the update, smoking is now prohibited inside of bars, nightclubs, billiard halls, bowling centers and sexually oriented businesses.

What are the penalties for violating the Smoking Ordinance?

Upon conviction of an offense under the Smoking Ordinance, first-time offenders could face a fine ranging from $25 to $200 dollars. For persons with one previous conviction, the fine range will be between $50 to $500. Those with multiple previous convictions could face a fine between $100 to $2,000.

As a business owner or employer, how do I comply with the ordinance?

  • Post "No Smoking - City Ordinance" signs at all entrances
  • Remove ashtrays
  • Ensure smoking does not occur in prohibited areas. Ask individuals who are smoking on the premises in violation of the ordinance to stop. If a person refuses to stop smoking, refuse service and ask that person to leave the premises.

What type of signage is required?

Businesses may purchase or design their own "No Smoking - City Ordinance" signs, provided that those signs meet the ordinance's minimum requirements. Signs must say "No Smoking - City Ordinance" in bold letters that are no less than 1 inch in height.

Where can I obtain "No Smoking - City Ordinance" signage to be in compliance with the Smoking Ordinance?

"No Smoking - City Ordinance" signs for businesses can be picked up free of charge at the One Start Center, located on the 2nd floor of Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.

Click here to download and print a No Smoking sign.

As a business owner, can I add a patio to accommodate smoking customers?

Some businesses may be eligible to add a patio or outdoor seating area to accommodate smokers and be in compliance with the City's updated Smoking Ordinance. Please speak with a Planner at the One Start Center to discuss your specific property. The One Start Center is located on the 2nd floor of Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St. The phone number is 817-459-6502.

How do I report non-compliance?

  • Call the City of Arlington's Action Center hotline at 817-459-6777
  • Individuals may also submit anonymous complaints using the free Ask Arlington app
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