"The anti-smoking movement has become more sophisticated in its efforts to enact bans and restrictions on smoking.... They have adopted a 'Pac-man' strategy where they attempt to gobble up one community at a time.... The 'Pac-man' strategy makes sense for the antis because it is easier for a group of extremists to have an impact on the local level than in larger jurisdictions.... The solution to 'Pac-man' is statewide pre-emption."Tina Walls
Many workplaces in Tennessee are smokefree as of October 1, 2007. The law was a step forward for public health by protect many workers, but unfortunately the law exempts workplaces with four or fewer employees, and any restaurant or bar that chooses to prohibit people under age 21 at all times. Read Tennessee's smokefree law.
Tennessee, one of the states left most behind in our national movement, faces the challenge that local communities are not able to adopt their own smokefree laws to close gaps and expand coverage, due to preemption. In 2016, the Legislature adopted a law to give municipalities the right to prohibit smoking on the grounds of municipal property, which is a small step forward in expanding local control.
Tennessee state law preempts local control and (TN CODE ANN. § 39-17-1551) states, "The general assembly intends by this part and other provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated to occupy and preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation of tobacco products enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994, by any agency or political subdivision of the state or any agency thereof is void; provided, that cities, counties and counties having a metropolitan form of government may regulate the use of tobacco products in buildings owned or leased by such political subdivisions; and provided further, that airport authorities created pursuant to the provisions of title 42; utility districts created pursuant to the provisions of title 7; and special school districts may regulate the use of tobacco products in buildings owned or leased by such entities. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, individual owners or operators of retail establishments located within an enclosed shopping mall shall retain the right to determine the policy on the use of tobacco products within such person's establishment."
Current tobacco-related statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control's Tobacco Control State Highlights, 2010.
Tennessee's 2018 Legislative Session: : January 9 - Mid April
- 1/13/2017HB0009—(college campuses)—An Act relative to smoking on campuses of public institutions of higher education—Companion bill signed by Governor
- 1/19/2017HB0071—(partial local control)—An Act relative to the regulation of products containing nicotine—Carry over to 2018
- 1/27/2017HB0113—(partial local control)—An Act relative to the regulation of products containing nicotine—Signed by Governor
- 3/31/2017HB0122—(restore local control)—An Act relative to exceptions to state law preemption in certain health-related areas—Carry over to 2018
- 2/3/2017HB0279—(partial local control)—An Act relative to local regulation of products containing nicotine—Failed in Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
- 1/26/2018HB1867—(e-cigarette use)—An Act relative to the Non-Smoker Protection Act—On Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee calendar for 2/28
- 1/26/2018HB1932—(partial local control)—An Act relative to exceptions to state preemption in certain health-related areas
- 2/5/2018HB2327—(partial local control)—An Act relative to exceptions to state preemption in certain health-related areas—Taken off notice in Agriculture Subcommittee
- 1/19/2017SB0116—(college campuses)—An Act relative to smoking on campuses of public institutions of higher education—Signed by Governor
- 1/19/2017SB0123—(partial local control)—An Act relative to the regulation of products containing nicotine—Passed Senate 28-0
- 2/3/2017SB0278—(partial local control)—An Act relative to local regulation of products containing nicotine—Re-refer to Senate Calendar Committee
- 3/31/2017SB0303—(restore local control)—An Act relative to exceptions to state law preemption in certain health-related areas—Deferred to Summer Study
- 2/17/2017SB1369—(partial local control)—An Act relative to the regulation of products containing nicotine—Companion bill signed by Governor
- 1/26/2018SB1850—(e-cigarette use)—An Act relative to the Non-Smoker Protection Act
- 2/5/2018SB2525—(partial local control)—An Act relative to exceptions to state preemption in certain health-related areas
- 4/13/2018Preemption Watch Bill Tracking Summary
- 2/23/2018It's Time for a Smokefree Tennessee!
- 2/4/2011What's happening in the U.S. Territories and Commonwealths?
- 2/27/2018Candidates for Tennessee governor support letting local governments handle smoking bans
- 2/9/2018 New Bill Could Place Smoking Laws in Local Governments' Hands
- 10/13/2017State lawmakers choose winners and losers through preemption
- 7/6/2017Blue Cities Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won't Let Them.
- 5/10/2017The Threat of Super-Preemption
- 3/6/2017Preemption Prevents Innovation
- 2/21/2017City Rights in an Era of Preemption: A State-by-State Analysis
- 2/2/2017Red State, Blue City
- 1/5/2017GOP aims to rein in liberal cities
- 9/9/2016How ALEC, ACCE, and Preemption Laws are Gutting the Powers of American Cities
- 8/22/2016Blue Cities, Red States
- 6/28/2016Colorado Preemptions of Local Government: The Need for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment
- 6/23/2016State and Local Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars--United States, 2015
- 4/6/2016From Fracking Bans To Paid Sick Leave: How States Are Overruling Local Laws
- 4/1/2016Growing Southern cities are increasingly targets of state pre-emption
- 3/25/2016Beyond North Carolina's LGBT Battle: States' War on Cities
- 2/4/2016Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy
- 8/6/2015Blowing the Whistle on ALEC's Little Brother ACCE
- 7/7/2015Four Ways ALEC Tried to Ruin Your State this Year
- 5/17/2015Say no: States increasingly blocking cities and counties from imposing mandates on businesses
- 5/8/2015State lawmakers hate federal meddling even as they preempt local government
- 3/30/2015The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy
- 2/23/2015Govern Yourselves, State Lawmakers Tell Cities, but Not Too Much
- 12/15/2014Smokefree advocates fight pre-emption laws that limit regulations on tobacco use in Tennessee
- 2/5/2010State Preemption of Local Smoke-Free Laws in Government Work Sites, Private Work Sites, and Restaurants United States, 2005-2009
- 12/29/2009New Push To Ban Smoking In Bars
- 12/5/2009Tougher TN smoking ban may be on the way
- 3/3/2009Bill would prevent fine for no anti-smoking sign
- 7/4/2008Smoke ban expansion in the works
- 5/14/2008New law exempts churches from 'No Smoking' sign rules
- 4/23/2008Anti-smoking bills snuffed in ag committees
- 3/4/2008Businesses with smoking still cannot hire minors
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