‘No smoking’ effective Oct. 1

Posted By | September 28, 2007 12:00 am

Kim Swindell Wood
The new law prohibiting smoking in public places that becomes effective Oct. 1 will carry some penalties and fines for employers who fail comply and also for the individuals who refuse to obey the regulations.
Snuff out those cigarettes and prepare to walk outside to take a puff beginning Monday. And, for those who have previously ignored
“no smoking” signs, prepare to comply with the law. Penalties will now be attached to those who fail to adhere to the restrictions. Smoking will be prohibited in all enclosed public places, including places of employment.
Who is responsible for the enforcement of the new law? Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will be responsible for those enclosed public places that are otherwise regulated by the department. Some examples include retail establishments, construction sites, manufacturing sites, EMT operations, hospitals and doctors’ offices.
The Department of Health will enforce the law in the public places that are regulated by its department. These include, but are not limited to, restaurants, hotels/motels/bed and breakfast, tattoo studios, camps, swimming pools, assisted care living facilities, pharmacies, veterinary facilities, massage establishments and hospitals (also included under TDLWD).
So, anyone who wants to report a violation may contact either of these sources.
If neither of the aforementioned departments other wise regulate an enclosed public place, then TDLWD will enforce the law for that entity. This would include such places as malls. convenience stores/grocery stores, libraries and sports venues.
“No smoking” signs or the universal “no smoking” symbol must be posted at every entrance. Employers are advised to check to see if the smoking prohibition has been communicated to employees.
If an inspector at a facility discovers someone violating the “no smoking” law, the inspector will inform the person in charge of the establishment (manager, owner, operator or an employee) someone is violating the law. The person in charge must inform the smoker of the appropriate provisions of the law. A person who knowingly smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited will be subject to a civil penalty of $50.
However, the penalties are somewhat stiffer for employers. A person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls any public place and who knowingly fails to comply with the law will be subject to:
(1) First violation in a 12-month period: Written warning from the regulating department
(2) Second violation in a 12-month period: Civil penalty of $100
(3) Third violation in a 12-month period: Civil penalty of $500
Neither department has the authority to suspend or revoke an establishment’s permit or license. However, the commissioners of either department may apply for injunctive relief to enforce such provisions in any court in the jurisdiction.
According to Tennessee Department of Health, some of the frequently asked questions include:
•Can I be a “no smoking” establishment during lunch and then restrict access to persons 21 and older at night and allow smoking?
(Answer) No. “Age-restricted venue” means a legal establishment that affirmatively restricts access to its buildings or facilities at all times to persons who are 21 years of age or older.
•I have a restaurant with only three employees, so can I allow smoking in my establishment/
(Answer) No. Smoking is prohibited in restaurants regardless of the number of employees. Even private businesses with three or fewer employees cannot allow smoke to infiltrate areas where smoking is prohibited.
•Can I smoke at Titans games, U.T. Volunteer football games and at the races in Bristol/
(Answer) No. Smoking is prohibited in sports arenas, which includes stadiums and other places where the general public assembles to witness sports or other events.
PUBLIC CHAPTER NO. 410
SENATE BILL NO. 1325
Section 39-17-1804. Notwithstanding any other provision of this part to the contrary, the following areas shall be exempt….
(1) Age-restricted venues;
(2) Hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms; provided that no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of rooms rented to guests in a hotel or motel may be so designated. All smoking rooms on the same floor shall be contiguous and smoke from these rooms shall not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part;
(3) All premises of any manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of tobacco products, all premises of any tobacco leaf dealer or processor, and all tobacco storage facilities;
(4) Non-enclosed areas of public places, including:
(A) Open air patios, porches or decks;
(B) Any area enclosed by garage type doors on one
(1) or more sides when all such doors are completely
open; and
(C) Any area enclosed by tents or awnings with removable sides or vents when all such sides or vents are completely removed or open. Smoke from such areas shall not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part;
(5) Nursing homes and long-term care facilities licensed pursuant to Title 68, Chapter 11; provided that such exemption shall only apply to residents of such facilities and that resident smoking practices shall be governed by the policies and procedures established by such facilities. Smoke from such areas shall not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part;
(6) Private businesses with three (3) or fewer employees
where, in the discretion of the business owner, smoking may be allowed in an enclosed room not accessible to the general public. Smoke from such room shall not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part;
(7) Private clubs; provided that such exemption shall not apply to any entity that is established solely for the purpose of avoiding compliance with this part;
(8) Private homes, private residences and private motor vehicles, unless such homes, residences and motor vehicles are being used for child care or day care or unless the private vehicle is being used for the public transportation of children or as part of health care or day care transportation;
(9) Retail tobacco stores that prohibit minors on their premises; and
(10) Commercial vehicles when such vehicle is occupied solely by the operator.
Section 39-17-1805. “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it, shall be clearly and conspicuously posted at every entrance to every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this part by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of that place.
Section 39-17-1806. (a) This part shall be enforced by the Department of Health in those enclosed public places otherwise regulated by the department. This part shall be enforced by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development in those enclosed public places otherwise regulated by the department. If neither department otherwise regulates an enclosed public place where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development shall enforce the provisions of this part therein. The Commissioner of Health or the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may apply for injunctive relief to enforce such provisions in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Notice of the provisions of this part shall be given to all applicants for a business license pursuant to Title 67, Chapter 4, Part 7.
(c) Any person who desires to register a complaint under this part may initiate such complaint with the Department of Health or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development or both.
(d) The Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development shall, while an establishment is undergoing otherwise mandated inspections, inspect for compliance with this part.
(e) An owner, manager, operator, or employee of an establishment regulated by this part shall inform persons violating this part of the appropriate provisions thereof.
Section 39-17-1807. (a) A person who knowingly smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited by the provisions of this part shall be subject only to a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50).
(b) A person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls any public place where smoking is prohibited pursuant to the provisions of this part and who knowingly fails to comply with any provision of this part shall be subject to the following:
(1) For a first violation in any twelve-month period, a written warning from the Department of Health or Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as appropriate;
(2) For a second violation in any twelve-month period, a civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100); and
(3) For a third or subsequent violation in any twelve-month period, a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500).
(c) Each day on which a knowing violation of this part occurs shall be considered a separate and distinct violation.

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