SMOKING BANS ARE NOT EXCEPTED FROM THE ADA

 

In a letter to a Texas resident, dated September 02, 2010, Mr. Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General of the United States, stated:

 

The Department [DOJ] has consistently interpreted the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] as permitting restrictions on smoking. In addition, in those circumstances where a covered entity allows smoking, it may be required to make reasonable modifications to limit or ban smoking where necessary to avoid discrimination as long as it does not result in a fundamental alteration.[1] (emphasis added)

 

The Department of Justice is responsible for implementing Title II and Title III of the ADA and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that:

 

It is enough to observe that the well-reasoned views of the agencies implementing a statute “constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance.[2]

 

Therefore, individuals whose disabilities are caused or exacerbated by second hand tobacco smoke may rely on the Thomas E. Perez letter that is cited above as evidence that smoking restrictions and bans may be required under the ADA.

 

Prepared by:

 

Billy Williams

Executive Director

GASP of Texas

http://www.gaspoftexas.com/

 

The statutes and regulations cited above can be accessed at http://www.law.cornell.edu/.

 

Additional information is available at: http://www.ada.gov/

and also from the Northeastern University School of Law at:

http://tobacco.neu.edu/tobacco_control/resources/ETS/adainfo1.htm.

 

DISCLAIMER: The content contained in this document has been prepared by GASP of Texas as a service to its readers. It is not intended to constitute legal advice. GASP of Texas has used reasonable efforts in collecting, preparing and providing quality information and commentary, but does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained herein. Users of this information do so at their own risk.

 



[1] Perez letter, page 2, paragraph 3.

[2] Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 642, 118 S.Ct 2196, 2007 (1998).

 

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