In the spring of 2008, Iowa lawmakers passed legislation to protect employees and the general public. The Iowa Smokefree Air Act (ISAA) prohibits smoking in enclosed areas within places of employment as well as some outdoor areas. If you are an owner/operator of a bar or restaurant in Iowa, you should familiarize yourself with the law to ensure your establishment is in compliance.


The ISAA identifies a restaurant as an establishment which offers food to the public, guests, or employees. The ISAA prohibits smoking in the outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants. In other words, if the outdoor area contains seating of any kind (i.e., chairs, benches, picnic tables, stools, etc.), smoking is prohibited. Further, if staff serves food or beverages to patrons in the outdoor area, smoking is prohibited.


The ISAA identifies a bar as an establishment where alcoholic beverages may be purchased for consumption on the premises, and in which food service is limited to prepackaged snack foods, popcorn, peanuts, and the reheating of commercially prepared foods that do not require assembly. The ISAA does not regulate smoking in outdoor areas of bars and smoking can be allowed on patios, decks or any other outdoor areas of bars.


Finally, if bars or restaurants provide entertainment (i.e., live band, comedian, etc.), the ISAA prohibits smoking in all outdoor areas where people can witness the entertainment. These areas include seating, standing room only, festival style seating or any area where people congregate to experience the entertainment.


For more information about the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, call the Iowa Department of Public Health at 888.944.2247 or visit

Smokefree Air Act: Marked Highlighted version for licensees
Smokefree Air Act
Administrative Rules
Report a Smokefree Air Act Complaint Website