Environmental Health Rules & Applications


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  • Tobacco Control 
  • NC Smoke Free Restaurants & Bars Law – On January 2, 2010, a law went into effect prohibiting smoking in restaurants and bars in North Carolina entitled an ACT TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN CERTAIN PUBLIC PLACES AND CERTAIN PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT (S.L 2009-27) referred to as the NC Smoke-free Restaurants and Bars Law. If you observe or note a possible violation, please notify the owner or manager of the establishment. They are responsible for compliance and are required to direct a person who is smoking to extinguish the lighted tobacco product. If your issue is not resolved at the establishment, please submit a Complaint Form to file a formal complaint.
  • Tobacco related ordinances in New Hanover County 

New Hanover County Smoking & Vaping Ordinance

(effective February 1, 2021)

On Monday, November 16, 2020, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to implement an ordinance mirroring a Health and Human Services Board rule prohibiting the use of combustible tobacco and e-cigarette in New Hanover County, effective February 1, 2021.

The ordinance aligns the expectations of vaping with traditional cigarette smoking in most public places, and protects residents from unwanted inhalation of second hand smoke and e-cigarette vapors. Areas where smoking and vaping will be prohibited include county, town and city buildings, vehicles and grounds, and public places like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

View the full ordinance here and a detailed list of where smoking and vaping is prohibited below.

Visit our Smoke & Vaping Ordinance page here for educational materials, cessation resources and printable signage to assist with implementation of the new ordinance. 

Smoking/Vaping Permitted as of February 1, 2021

Smoking/Vaping Prohibited as of February 1, 2021

  • Personal residence
  • Personal vehicle
  • Designated areas of unenclosed sections in restaurants and bars.
  • Privately owned unenclosed areas (business parking lot, business patio, etc.)
  • Smoking/E-cigarette shop
  • Cigar bar
  • Designated smoking/vaping guest room in a lodging establishment
  • Private club
  • Movie, TV, theater or other live production set, only for the actor portraying smoking/vaping
  • A public area at such time group therapeutic rehabilitation is being conducted
  • County, Town and City buildings
  • County, Town and City vehicles
  • Any County, Town and City grounds, except where expressly permitted
  • County, Town and City parks, playgrounds, athletic field and trails except where expressly permitted
  • Bus stops on County, Town or City grounds
  • Public Transportation
  • Child Care Facilities
  • Shopping Malls & Retail Stores
  • Elevators
  • Polling Places
  • Public Restrooms
  • Restaurants and Bars (except where expressly permitted in unenclosed areas)
  • Galleries, Libraries and Museums
  • Theaters, Entertainment and Sports Arenas
  • Gaming facilities including Internet Sweepstakes
  • Lobbies, hallways and common areas in multi-unit residential facilities (apartment buildings, retirement facilities, nursing homes, etc.)
  • Offices and commercial establishments where the public is invited or permitted.

*This rule would not apply to any property owned, leased or maintained by the State of North Carolina



2021 Proposed Rules Governing Body Art

The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board will consider revisions to the New Hanover County rules governing body art, including tattoos and piercings, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 8 a.m.

The revised rules are a result of combining and condensing the 1999 Rules Governing Body Piercing Establishments and Practitioners and the 2018 Rules Governing Piercing and Tattoo Establishments.  Revisions include updated definitions reflecting language used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated record retention schedules for establishments and a more streamlined process for permitting.

Review the revised proposed rules here.

The Health and Human Services Board will review the proposed rules and public comments submitted by March 12 at the March 16 meeting before voting.

The New Hanover County Board of Health rule governing the fencing and operation of private swimming pools in the county (adopted October 4, 2000, and amended March 7, 2018) was repealed effective April 20, 2021, and is no longer in effect.

For more information and permitting for residential pools, contact New Hanover County Building Safety or visit the COAST portal to apply online.



Frequently Asked Questions

Additional information can be found on the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) website.

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Download a spreadsheet of Application Costs*

*Fees are subject to change. Listings are a general representation of application costs. As each project is different, please call (910) 798-6667 for the most accurate cost assessment and a complete list of applications.

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815
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