In late December of 2008, the General Services Administration (GSA) published a bulletin that canceled and replaced the existing 1997 federal workplace smoking policy, and imposed further smoking bans in and around federal facilities.

In addition to prohibiting smoking in all interior space owned, rented or leased by the executive branch, the new rule also bans smoking in courtyards and within 25 feet of doorways and air-intake ducts in outdoor space.

The bulletin, published Dec. 22 in the Federal Register, also does away with an exception in the Federal Management Regulation for designated interior smoking areas, which will be closed.

The rule provides a six-month phase-in period to allow agencies to meet labor-management obligations.

In terms of exceptions, the new restrictions "do not apply to residential accommodations for people voluntarily or involuntarily residing, on a temporary or long-term basis, in federal buildings, nor do they apply to portions of federally owned buildings being leased to nonfederal parties," the bulletin said.

Additionally, agency heads will have authority to grant "limited and narrow exceptions when necessary to accomplish missions."

To see the bulletin, go to: