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Smoking and Vaping on School Grounds

Reviewed April 2022

Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act (Iowa Code 142D) prohibits smoking in school buildings or on school grounds. Specifically, the act covers school districts and non-public educational institutions by prohibiting smoking in these buildings. The Act also prohibits smoking in outdoor areas on school grounds including parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and any other outdoor area under the control of a public or private educational facility, including inside any vehicle located on such school grounds. Thus, parents and staff are prohibited from smoking anywhere on school grounds, including in their vehicles. The Act is enforced by the Iowa Department of Public Health, including assessments of civil penalties for violations.

Are E-Cigarettes or other vaping products covered under the Act?

Although E-Cigarettes, by definition are not specifically covered under the Act - individual businesses or property owners may ban E-cigarettes and other vapor products in their establishments. Thus, schools and school districts may adopt policies prohibiting their use on school grounds. See Appendix E of the State of Iowa Employee Handbook as an example.

What is the smoking age? Does it apply to vaping products?

Students who are under the age of twenty-one are already prohibited from the use of nicotine, alternative nicotine, or vaping products under the law. A student who is under age 21 in possession or attempting to purchase tobacco, alternative nicotine or vapor products will face civil penalties including up to $325 fine and up to 16 days of community service, depending on the level of the offense. For more information visit the Iowa Smoke Free Act website.