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NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC DPH: Chronic Disease and Injury Section

Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch

SmokeFreeNC: Rules Prohibiting Smoking in Restaurants and Bars

2014: New rule clarifies the definition of enclosed areas in the smoke-free law

The North Carolina state law (G.S. 130a-496) prohibits smoking in “enclosed” areas of restaurants and bars.  An area in a restaurant or bar is enclosed if it has a roof or other overhead covering, and permanent or temporary walls or side coverings on three or more sides that make up 55 percent or more of the total combined perimeter surface area.

 In other words, for an area with roof to be considered unenclosed, two or more of the four permanent or temporary walls or side coverings must be open to the outdoors and the walls or side covering must make up less than 55 percent of the total combined perimeter surface area.

For more information, see FAQs for Rules Clarifying Enclosed Areas (PDF, 129 KB) and How to Measure if an Area is Enclosed (PDF, 486 KB).

Subchapter 39C: Smoking Prohibited in Restaurants and Bars


(a) The purpose of the rules in this subchapter is to implement Part 1C of Article 23 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes.
(b) The definitions in G.S.130A-492 apply throughout this subchapter. In addition, throughout this subchapter, “Division” means North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.


(a) Cigar bars shall file an affidavit (see links after item "C" below) with the Division within thirty days after the end of each quarter stating the establishment meets the statutory requirements set forth for cigar bars by G.S.130A-492 and G.S.130A-496. Affidavits shall be sent to the:

Chief, Regulatory and Legal Affairs
N. C. Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Public Health
1931 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1931

(b) Affidavits submitted in 2010 and each year thereafter shall be post-marked:

(1) By January 31st for the quarter ending December 31st.
(2) By April 30th for the quarter ending March 31st.
(3) By July 31st for the quarter ending June 30th.
(4) By October 31st for the quarter ending September 30th.

(c) Within sixty days after receiving the affidavit the Division shall provide written documentation to the cigar bar on its exemption status under G.S. 130A-496.

Affidavit: Application for Cigar Bar Exemption -


The signs required to be posted in restaurants and bars by G.S. 130A-497 shall:

(1) Be posted at each public entrance at a height and location easily seen.
(2) Be at least 24 square inches in size (for example, 4 by 6 inches).
(3) Be in legible font type.
(4) Display:

(a)  The Division’s toll-free complaint line telephone number.
(b)   “G.S.130A-497”.
(c)   “”.

No-Smoking Signs

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Related: Tools for Businesses

SmokefreeNC Information






Updated: February 26, 2020