TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-17.5
Rights of Nursing Home Patients

SECTION 23-17.5-26


§ 23-17.5-26 Smoke-free environment.

(a) Smoke-free environment. Nursing home patients shall have the right to live in a tobacco smoke-free environment. It shall be prohibited for any person other than a nursing home resident to smoke in any nursing home in Rhode Island. It shall be prohibited for any nursing home resident to smoke in any nursing home in Rhode Island except in a smoking room, rooms designated by the administration of the nursing home, a private room, or a semi-private room where both residents smoke. The designated smoking room or rooms shall be a room or rooms other than the largest living or assembly room or lounge. The designated smoking room or rooms shall be ventilated in such a way that the air from that room or rooms shall not enter other parts of the nursing home.

(b) Penalties and enforcement. (1) The department of health, having received a written and signed letter of complaint from any person citing a violation of this chapter, shall enforce this entire chapter against violations by either of the following actions:

(1)(i) Serving written notice to comply to the person, organization or facility manager charged with the violation, with a copy of the notice to the complaining person, requiring the person, organization or facility manager to correct within ten (10) days any violation or section of this chapter.

(ii) Upon receiving a second complaint at the department of health for the same or continued violation by the same person, the complaint shall be resolved by calling upon the attorney general to maintain, without delay, an action for injunction to enforce the provisions of this chapter, to cause the correction of the same or continued violation of this section, and for assessment and recovery of a civil penalty for the violation.

(2) A person, organization, or facility manager who violates this chapter shall be liable for a civil penalty, but not to be less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) which shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought by the attorney general in any court of competent jurisdiction. Each day the violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as a separate offense. Any penalty assessed and recovered in an action brought pursuant to this subsection shall be paid over to the general treasurer and added to the general fund.

(3) In undertaking the enforcement of this chapter, the state is assuming an undertaking only to promote the general welfare. It is not assuming, nor is it imposing on its officers and employees, an obligation for breach of which it is liable in money damages to any person who claims that the breach proximately caused injury.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1993, ch. 224, § 1.)