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    Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch
    DSHS Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section
    1100 West 49th Street, Mail Code 1965
    Austin, TX 78756

    Phone: 512-776-7111
    Fax: (512) 776-7555


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TobaccoFreeWorkplace FAQ

Tobacco-Free Workplace Requirement Frequently Asked Questions


What is the requirement for a tobacco-free workplace?

All contractors with DSHS must certify that they have adopted and enforce a tobacco-free workplace policy that meets or exceeds DSHS minimum standards. 

We are already a tobacco-free workplace, however we do have a designated area where someone can go to smoke (at City Hall, not at our Health Facility).  Does this satisfy the requirement?

All contractors should submit current or future smoke-free workplace policies to the DSHS Contract Management Section (CMS) for review and approval.

We have a “Smoking Regulations in Public Places and Places of Employment” city ordinance.  Does that meet the requirement to be a Tobacco-free workplace?

It is possible that the ordinance may address some or all of the requirements.  However, DSHS contracted agencies must have a Tobacco-Free Workplace policy in place to describe how they specifically meet the tobacco free workplace requirements at their facilities.

To what extent does this policy need to apply?  Jurisdiction-wide, agency-wide, only building the contract personnel are in?

The tobacco-free workplace policy must apply to the building(s) in which the contractor’s personnel are normally located.  

What is required of us to “control” the area around our facility, including the sidewalks, parking lots, etc.?  Will putting up a sign that says it is a tobacco-free area constitute control?

Putting up a sign is appropriate.  No paid patrol is required; however, contractor should have a tobacco-free workplace policy in place to describe how it meets the tobacco free workplace requirements at its facilities.

If the office space is leased, does the requirement apply to the building, sidewalks and/or parking lots?

Sidewalks and parking lots not under contracted agency control would not be subject to the tobacco-free policy.  

Our workplace is tobacco-free.  Tobacco use is prohibited within 25 feet of the building, although there is a concession for employees confined to a wheelchair.  Does our policy meet the new DSHS requirement?

Prohibiting the use of tobacco products within 25 feet of the building is in accord with the requirement for a tobacco-free workplace.  Contractor policies and waivers will be reviewed and approved by DSHS on a case-by-case basis.

Do we have to have signs posted such as, “This is a designated smoke-free area,” where we conduct business?  

Signage is one mechanism that can be utilized to designate an area as smoke-free.  However, it is up to the agency to decide what mechanisms are used to implement their tobacco-free workplace policy. DSHS contracted agencies must have a Tobacco-Free Workplace policy in place to describe how they specifically meet the tobacco free workplace requirements at their facilities.

Does the requirement apply to agencies that receive funding (i.e. EMS and hospitals)?  If office space is leased, does this apply to the entire building where office space is leased (i.e. at a COG)?

The tobacco-free workplace policy applies to entities with which DSHS has a contract and would apply to areas where DSHS-funded activities take place.  In some cases, it would not be the entire building.  DSHS contracted agencies must have a Tobacco-Free Workplace policy in place to describe how they specifically meet the tobacco free workplace requirements at their facilities.

What if my workplace cannot comply by the deadline?

Contractor can submit a completed Tobacco-Free Workplace Exemption Form to DSHS to obtain a waiver.

How long is the waiver good for?

A DSHS-approved waiver provides a contractor exemption from the tobacco-free workplace requirement for 1 year.

What is the process for obtaining a waiver?

Please see Tobacco-Free Workplace Exemption Form.

Contractors can seek a waiver for FY2019 (Beginning September 1, 2018) if they meet the following requirements:

  • Describe/submit the current tobacco policy highlighting tobacco restricted areas and smoking designated areas.
  • Submit a plan to be a tobacco-free workplace by the end of their FY2019 contract term.
  • Waivers will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Submit waivers to Contract Management Section (CMS)

What is the deadline for submitting a waiver?

Waivers must be submitted to the DSHS Contract Management Section (CMS) before the end of the FY2019 contract term.  Please plan to allow time if your agency requires policy changes be approved by City Council, Commissioner’s Court, Board of Directors, etc.

What documentation is required to demonstrate referral of employees to smoke cessation programs? 

Contractor must submit a tobacco-free workplace policy that describes referral to smoke cessation programs.  Policy must include at minimum referral to the Quitline at https://www.yesquit.org/. The contractor is not required to document the referrals.

 

Last updated May 3, 2018