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Tougher TN smoking ban may be on the way

Publication Date: 2009-12-05
  • Author:Nate Rau
  • Publication:The Tennessean

Some legislators say bars, all workplaces deserve protection

Two years after the General Assembly passed a bill to ban smoking from most workplaces, including restaurants, supporters say the law is working and should be extended to include places such as over-21 venues that are now exempt.

"There literally are hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who are healthier, and tens of thousands who do not have lung cancer or heart disease because they now get to breathe clean air," said state Sen. Roy Herron, who dropped his Democratic bid for governor this week to run for John Tanner's 8th District congressional seat. "Yet other Tennesseans are still at great risk and that's simply not right."

The advocacy group Campaign for a Healthy and Responsible Tennessee, or CHART, wants to eliminate exemptions in the law that include allowing smoking at places like 21-and-up establishments, hotel and motel rooms, workplaces with "garage-door" access, and sites with three or fewer workers.

In addition, said CHART Executive Director Shelley Courington, there is no requirement about how far from a door people must be to smoke. The group is working with lawmakers to file a bill in January to extend the ban.

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