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Frequently Asked Questions about Clean Indoor Air Act Waivers

1. Can I get a waiver from the New York City Smoke Free Air Act of 2002?
No, there is no provision in the SFAA for waivers. The provisions of the SFAA must be complied with.

2. Can I get a waiver from the State law, the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act?
Yes, the CIAA has a provision for waivers, under some very limited circumstances.

3. Where and how do I apply for a waiver of the CIAA?
Under the State law, the City is responsible for acting on applications for waivers under the State law. Applications for waivers (PDF) can be found on the Department's website.

The address where it should be sent is on page 8 of the application. Be sure to read this FAQ sheet very carefully before filling out the application and make your answers as complete and thorough as possible.

4. What is the relationship between the SFAA (City law) and the CIAA (State law)?
The State law provides that the more restrictive law applies, whether it be the City law or the State law. For example, the State law permits smoking in "cigar bars" that were in existence as of 12/31/02, but the City law requires that these "tobacco bars", as they are called in NYC, have been in existence a year earlier in order for smoking to be permitted in them. The City law, being more restrictive, governs in NYC. Therefore, a cigar bar or tobacco bar must have been in existence since 12/31/01 in order for smoking to be permitted in them.

5. What does this mean for waivers of the State law in New York City?
It means that the City can only grant a waiver from the State law if smoking would have been permitted under the City law if the State law hadn't been passed. Remember, the City law can't be waived and the more restrictive law applies.

6. What are the criteria for waivers from the State law?
Please note that the grounds for waivers are extremely limited and eligibility for them is very hard to prove. An applicant must show that without a waiver he or she has suffered, or will suffer, undue financial hardship. This does not mean simply that the establishment is losing money because of the City law, but that it has experienced unique and unforeseeable circumstances that have been financially hurtful to it. The other ground for obtaining a waiver is that circumstances exist which would make compliance with the law unreasonable.

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