Downtown Chapel Hill
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Info for Businesses

FAQ: Smoke Free Public Places in Orange County

 Frequently Asked Questions: 
Smoke-Free Public Places Rule in Orange County

No Smoking. No Butts About It! Orange County's Smoke-Free Public Places Rule prohibits smoking outdoors anyplace owned or maintained by the town or county (e.g., sidewalks, bus stops) and indoors anyplace the public is invited or allowed. This helps keep our community healthy and makes the downtown area even more inviting for residents and visitors alike. 


Smoking Response Teams comprised of health department staff and Chapel Hill Police officers will be visiting downtown businesses in June and July to further educate you about the rule and answer any questions you might have. 


For more information, please contact Contact Coby Austin, with the Orange County Health Department, or 919-245-2424.

  • What if my employees smoke? 
    Local high school students collected 10,533 butts downtown last year. Photo by David Poulos.
    Most people who smoke want to quit. The health department offers 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, and lozenge) for people who live or work in Orange County and participate in the Freshstart program or enroll in QuitlineNC  (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Freshstart classes can be offered onsite at your business. Employees are allowed to smoke outdoors on private property, if permitted by the owner. 
  • What is the penalty for smoking?
    The current enforcement emphasis is on education and empowerment; however, people who do not comply with the rule could receive a $25 ticket. People who manage, operate or control a public place - such as sidewalk dining in front of your business - that fail to comply with the provisions in the rule could face an administrative penalty of up to $200.
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The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership works to bring together the resources of the Town, University and downtown community to maintain, enhance and promote downtown as the social, cultural, and spiritual center of Chapel Hill through economic development. Contact Meg McGurk at 919-967-9440 or

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