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Information for Employers

What is the Law?

Under this new law, smoking is illegal in all enclosed public places within the State of Tennessee with a few exceptions. The smoking ban applies, but is not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Public and private educational facilities
  • Health care facilities
  • Hotels and motels
  • Retail stores and shopping malls
  • Sports arenas, including enclosed public areas in outdoor arenas
  • Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas
  • Lobbies, hallways and other common areas in apartment buildings and other multiple-unit residential facilities
  • Child care and adult day care facilities

To review the law, go to http://state.tn.us/sos/acts/105/pub/pc0410.pdf

What responsibilities do employers have?

Employers and business owners are required by law to do the following:

  • Post "No Smoking" signs at every entrance to every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited. Download a sign by clicking here.
  • Notify and inform all existing and prospective employees that smoking is prohibited.
  • Inform patrons and customers who are found smoking on the premises that it is prohibited.

What are the penalties?

A person who knowingly smokes in area where smoking is prohibited is subject to a civil penalty of $50. A business that knowingly fails to comply with the requirements of this act will subject to the following:

  • For a first violation in a twelve-month period, a written warning from the Department of Health or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • For a second violation in a twelve-month period, a civil penalty of $100
  • For a third or subsequent violation in a twelve-month period, a civil penalty of $500

Who is responsible for enforcing the law?

Both the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development have authority to enforce the law. The Department of Health will enforce the law for the establishments it inspects. Among them are:

  • Restaurants
  • Public and private educational dining facilities
  • Health care facilities
  • Hotels, motels and bed and breakfast facilities
  • Organized camps
  • Tattoo and body piercing parlors
  • Sports arenas, including enclosed public areas in outdoor arenas
  • Child care and adult day care facilities

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will enforce the law for establishments they inspect including:

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Construction sites
  • Convenience and grocery stores
  • Retail stores and shopping malls
  • Sports arenas, including enclosed public areas in outdoor arenas