Maine law prohibits smoking in: all enclosed areas of public places, meaning any place not open to the sky into which the public is invited or allowed; outdoor eating areas, defined as decks or other properties that are partially enclosed or open to the sky that are permitted for outdoor eating or drinking under the control of an eating establishment, as long as food or drink is served by the eating establishment to the public for consumption on the premises; rest rooms made available to the public; child care facility-designated motor vehicles within 12 hours before transporting a child and when a child is present; outdoor areas of child care facilities where children may be present; the buildings or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school; and within 20 feet of a beach, playground, snack bar, group picnic shelter, business facility, enclosed area, public place, or restroom in a state park or state historic site. Smoking is also prohibited in a motor vehicle by the operator or a passenger when a person under 16 years of age is present in that motor vehicle, regardless of whether the motor vehicle’s windows are open.
22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1542(1): Smoking prohibited in public places
22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1549(2): Smoking in vehicles when minor under 16 years of age is present
22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1578-B(2): Tobacco use in elementary and secondary schools prohibited
22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1580-E: Smoking in state parks and state historic sites
Signs must be posted conspicuously in buildings where smoking is regulated. Designated areas must have signs that read “Smoking Permitted” with letters at least one inch in height. Places where smoking is prohibited must have signs that read “No Smoking” with letters at least one inch in height or the international symbol for no smoking.
Maine law contains no specific provisions concerning state preemption of local laws on smoking, so local communities are allowed to pass stronger laws or ordinances further restricting this area.
The following are exempt from the ban on smoking, subject to conditions:
Individuals under 18 years of age may not purchase, possess, or use or offer false identification in an attempt to purchase, possess, or use cigarettes, cigarette papers, or any tobacco product. However, a person may transport or permit to be transported in a motor vehicle cigarettes, cigarette papers, or tobacco products in the original sealed package in which they were placed by the manufacturer if the transportation is in the scope of that person’s employment. For direct, face-to-face sales, employees who sell tobacco products must be at least 17 years of age. An employee who is at least 17 years of age but less than 21 years of age may sell tobacco products only in the presence of an employee who is at least 21 years of age and is in a supervisory capacity.
Similarly, it is illegal to sell, furnish, give away, or offer to sell, furnish, or give away a tobacco product to any person under 18 years of age. Tobacco products may not be sold at retail to any person under 27 years of age unless the seller first verifies that person’s age by means of reliable photographic identification containing the person’s date of birth.
A dealer or distributor of tobacco products must post a notice of the law prohibiting tobacco and cigarette paper sales to persons under 18 years of age. Notices must be publicly and conspicuously displayed in the dealer’s or distributor’s place of business in letters at least 3/8 inches in height.
A person under 18 years of age is prohibited from entering a business licensed as a tobacco specialty store unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, regardless of whether smoking is allowed in that store.
Maine law allows municipalities to enact ordinances or regulations that are more restrictive than state law in this area. However, when a municipality intends to consider an ordinance or regulation or intends to amend an ordinance or regulation so that the ordinance or regulation would be more restrictive than state law, the municipality must give notice of that intention by mail, at least 30 days prior to consideration of the ordinance, regulation, or amendment, to the last known address of each retail tobacco licensee doing business within the municipal corporate limits. This notice must state the time, place and date of a hearing or proposed enactment and the subject matter of the proposed ordinance, regulation, or amendment.
Federal regulations prohibit free samples of cigarettes and limit free samples of smokeless tobacco products to certain age-restricted venues under several conditions.
Regulations Restricting the Sale, Distribution, and Marketing of Cigarettes, Cigarette Tobacco, and Smokeless Tobacco: Consumer Fact Sheet
In Maine, a distributor may not offer for sale or sell tobacco products if the package containing the tobacco products is subject to and does not comply with the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act for the placement of labels, warnings, or any other information for a package of tobacco products to be sold within the United States.
It is unlawful for any person, partnership, or corporation that engages in retail sales, including free distribution of tobacco products, to sell, keep for sale, or give away in the course of trade any tobacco products to anyone without first obtaining a Retail Tobacco License by filing the Department of Health and Human Services Retail Tobacco License Application.
Free tobacco samples are subject to the Maine tobacco products tax, as the term “sale” is defined to include a gift for advertising by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products.