Tennessee

Clean Indoor Air

Public Places

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places and workplaces in Tennessee, including most restaurants. See Tennessee Code section 39-17-1804 for a detailed list. Exempted from this law are: 1) age-restricted venues that do not allow persons under 21 to enter at any time; 2) 25 percent of hotel/motel rooms, provided that all smoking rooms on the same floor shall be contiguous and smoke from these rooms shall not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited; 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 as specified; 5) residents in licensed nursing homes and long-term care facilities, provided that smoke does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited; 6) workplaces with three or fewer employees in a private room not accessible to the general public; 7) private clubs as long as they aren’t established to avoid compliance with the law; 8) private homes, private residences and private motor vehicles except under specified circumstances; 9) retail tobacco stores that prohibit minors on their premises; and 10) commercial vehicles when such vehicle is occupied solely by the operator. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Government Buildings

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places, the definition of which includes all places of public employment. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Smoking shall be prohibited in all buildings that are owned or operated by the state of Tennessee, including state correctional facilities, except for those sleeping rooms in state park inns and cabins that are designated as smoking rooms or cabins. Smoking is also prohibited in all motor vehicles that are owned, leased, or operated by the state of Tennessee. Cities, counties, and counties having a metropolitan form of government are specifically allowed to regulate the use of tobacco products in buildings owned or leased by such political subdivisions.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 4-4-121 (2007).

Private Workplaces

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places, the definition of which includes most places of private employment. Exempted are private businesses with three 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. 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 are also exempt. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Schools

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places, the definition of which includes both public and private educational facilities. Special school districts are specifically allowed to regulate the use of tobacco products in buildings owned or leased by such entities.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

The University of Tennessee and the board of regents may adopt uniform policies prohibiting smoking in all student dormitories. With respect to public institutions of higher education, upon the adoption of smoking policies by the administrative head of such institution, the administrative head is not required to provide an indoor smoking area in each student dormitory or other facility. The administrative head of each institution is encouraged to provide for reasonable smoke-free zones at all building entrances and exits.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 49-7-135 (2005).

Child Care Centers

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places, the definition of which includes child care and adult day care facilities. Home-based child care and adult day care facilities are specifically included. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Health Facilities

Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public places, the definition of which includes health care facilities. Health care facilities are defined as an office or institution providing care or treatment of diseases, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or other medical, physiological, or psychological conditions. This definition shall include all waiting rooms, hallways, private rooms, semiprivate rooms, and wards within health care facilities. Licensed nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt, 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. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Restaurants

Restaurants: Smoking is prohibited in restaurants unless they do not allow people under 21 to enter at all times. A person must submit an acceptable form of identification to gain entry. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Bars: InTennessee, what are commonly referred to as bars do not exist because they are considered restaurants under existing state law. So, the restrictions on smoking in restaurants apply (see above). This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Penalties/Enforcement

“No Smoking” signs shall be conspicuously posted where smoking is prohibited except in places of worship. The law shall be enforced by the state Department of Health or the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development in those enclosed public places where each department has jurisdiction. If neither department otherwise regulates an enclosed public place, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development shall enforce. Any person who desires to register a complaint under this part may initiate such complaint with either or both departments. A person who knowingly smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited is subject to a civil penalty of $50. A person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls any public place and knowingly fails to comply is subject to a written warning for the first violation, a $100 civil penalty for a second violation in one year, and a $500 civil penalty for a third or subsequent violation in one year. Each day on which a violation is committed is considered a separate offense. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1801 to 39-17-1810 (2008) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Tobacco Excise Tax

Cigarettes

Tax rate per pack of 20: 62 cents

Date last changed: July 1, 2007 — from 20 cents to 62 cents

Year first enacted: 1925

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1004 (2007).

The revenue from 20 cents of the cigarette tax is distributed as follows: four percent for administrative expenses; $82,500 annually to provide the special sinking fund to pay the principal and interest on the Tennessee rural public school building and repair bonds; $225,000 to provide the special sinking fund to pay the principal and interest on the Tennessee rural public school building and repair bonds; and the remainder is applied to the general state school fund to be used for public education, grades one through twelve;

The revenue from another 40 cents of the cigarette tax is distributed as follows: All revenue goes to an education trust fund, provided that $21 million is allocated to the Department of Agriculture’s Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program;

The remaining two cents is distributed to the Trauma System Fund to fund state trauma centers.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1025 (2007).

Other Tobacco Products

All other tobacco products: 6.6% of the wholesale cost price

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1005 (2002).

Revenue Collected

$127,121,000

Youth Access

Compliance/Enforcement

The Department of Agriculture shall conduct random, unannounced inspections at locations where tobacco products are sold or distributed to ensure compliance with this law. Law enforcement efforts may involve the use of individuals under the age of 18 if a parent has consented to this action. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1504, 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Photo ID: A person engaged in the sale or distribution of tobacco products shall demand proof of age from a prospective purchaser or recipient if an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that the prospective purchaser or recipient may be less than 27 years of age. “Proof of age” means a driver’s license or other generally accepted means of identification that describes the individual as 18 years of age or older, contains a photograph or other likeness of the individual, and appears on its face to be valid. Penalties for violation are the same as those for selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1504 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Penalties for Sales to Minors

It is unlawful for any person to sell or distribute any tobacco product to another person who is less than 18 or to purchase a tobacco product on behalf of such person. It is unlawful for any person to persuade, entice, send or assist a person who is less than 18 years of age to purchase, acquire, receive or attempt to purchase, acquire or receive a tobacco product. This shall not be deemed to preclude law enforcement efforts involving the use of individuals less than 18 years of age. A person who violates these provisions shall receive a warning letter for the first violation, a civil penalty of not more than $500 for a second violation, not more than $1,000 for a third violation and not more than $1,500 for a fourth or subsequent violation within a five-year period. A person who demanded, was shown, and reasonably relied upon proof of age shall not be liable for a civil penalty for a violation. When assessing a civil penalty, the Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized to assess the penalty against any person or persons determined by the commissioner to be responsible, in whole or in part, for contributing to or causing the violation to occur, including, but not limited to, the owner, manager or employee of a store at which tobacco products are sold at retail. Before selling tobacco products, all employees are required to undergo training regarding state law restricting youth access to tobacco products and sign a statement to this effect. That statement can be used by the owner or manager as an affirmative defense against the civil penalty for a second violation, and may be used as a mitigating factor for subsequent violations. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1504 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Penalties to Minors

It is unlawful for a person under 18 to possess a tobacco product, to purchase or accept receipt of a tobacco product, or to present or offer to any person any purported proof of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually that person’s own for the purpose of purchasing or receiving any tobacco product. A violation is a civil offense with a penalty of not less than $10 and not more than $50. The juvenile court may also impose community service work not to exceed 50 hours or successful completion of a prescribed teen court program for a second or subsequent violation within a one-year period. A minor assisting a law enforcement officer in a compliance check is not subject to these penalties. It is not unlawful for a person under 18 years of age to handle or transport tobacco or tobacco products as a part of and in the course of such person’s employment, provided that the person is under the supervision of another employee who is at least 21 years of age. This Act and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1505 (2001) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Sign Posting

Every person who sells tobacco products at retail shall post conspicuously and keep so posted at the place of business a sign, no smaller than ninety-three and one-half square inches, to ensure that it is likely to be read at each point of sale, stating the following: “STATE LAW STRICTLY PROHIBITS THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS OR SMOKING PARAPHERNALIA TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. PROOF OF AGE MAY BE REQUIRED. Penalties are the same as those for selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1506 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Bidis

Bidis were added to the definition of tobacco product in state law thus prohibiting their sale to minors. Violation is subject to the same penalties as selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1503 (2002) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Other Provisions

Internet Sales: Each seller, dealer or distributor of cigarettes who mails, ships, or otherwise delivers cigarettes in connection with a delivery sale shall: provide a prominent and clearly legible statement to each prospective consumer with specified information; include a clear and conspicuous statement upon the package, as specified; and use a method of mailing, shipping, or delivery that obligates the delivery service to require the consumer placing the purchase order for the delivery sale, or another adult of legal minimum purchase age, to sign to accept delivery of the shipping container; and restrict delivery to an adult of legal minimum purchase age. A first violation of the above provisions is subject to a fine of $1,000 or five times the retail value of the cigarettes involved, whichever is greater. A second or subsequent violation is subject to a fine of $5,000 or five times the retail value of the cigarettes involved, whichever is greater. Violation by a delivery service is subject to a fine of $500.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1029 (2005).

Note: Some parts of this law may be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport Association, decided February 20, 2008.

Prohibits the sale or giving away of novelty lighters in the state. This does not apply to cigarette lighters made before January 1, 1980 or that are considered collectible items. “Novelty lighter” means a mechanical or electrical device typically used for lighting discount cigarettes, cigars, or pipes that has entertaining audio or visual effects, or that resembles in physical form or function articles commonly recognized as appealing to or intended for use by children 10 years of age or younger. This includes, but is not limited to, lighters that resemble cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, musical instruments, vehicles, toy animals, food or beverages, or that play musical notes or have flashing lights or other entertaining features. Violation is a prohibited practice under TN. CODE ANN.§ 47-18-104.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 47-18-129 (2008).

In the case of distribution by mail, the distributor of tobacco products shall obtain from the addressee an affirmative statement that such person is 18 years of age or older, and shall inform the recipient that such person is strictly prohibited from distributing any tobacco product to any person under 18 years of age. Violation is subject to the same penalties as selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. The required statement can be used as an affirmative defense in case of violation. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1504 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Restrictions on Distribution of Tobacco Product Samples or Sales of Single Cigarettes

Samples

No person shall distribute tobacco product samples in or on any public street, sidewalk, or park. Violation is subject to the same penalties as selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. A person who demanded, was shown, and reasonably relied upon proof of age shall not be liable for a civil penalty. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1504 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Single Cigarettes

No tobacco product manufacturer or cigarette retailer may directly or indirectly manufacture, sell or distribute any pack or other container of cigarettes containing fewer than 20 cigarettes, or any package of roll-your-own tobacco containing less than 0.60 ounces of tobacco.

TENN CODE ANN. §§ 47-18-2003 et seq. (1999).

It is unlawful for any person to sell cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products except in the original, sealed package in which they were placed by the manufacturer that bears the health warning required by federal law. Violation is subject to the same penalties as selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1508 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Restrictions on Sale of Tobacco Products in Vending Machines

Placement

Vending machines may only be located in the following areas: in areas of factories, businesses, offices, or other places that are not open to the public; in places that are open to the public but to which persons less than the age of 18 are denied access; in places where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises, only if the machine is under the constant supervision of the owner or their employee and is inaccessible when the establishment is closed; and, in other places if the machine is under the continuous supervision of an employee, or the machine can only be operated by the use of a token purchased from the proprietor prior to each purchase, and is inaccessible to the public when the establishment is closed. In any place where supervision of a vending machine is required, the person responsible for that supervision or sale of token shall demand proof of age from a prospective purchaser if an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that the prospective purchaser might be less than 27 years of age. A person who demanded, was shown, and reasonably relied upon proof of age shall not be liable for a civil penalty. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1507 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551(1994).

Penalty

A person who violates the restrictions on placement of tobacco product vending machines is subject to the same penalties as those for selling or distributing tobacco products to minors. This and other provisions of the Tennessee Code preempt the entire field of legislation concerning the regulation of tobacco products. Any law or regulation enacted or promulgated after March 15, 1994 by any agency or political subdivision of the state is void.

TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 39-17-1509 (1999) & 39-17-1551 (1994).

Licensing Requirements

Requirements

Every person engaged in the business of selling, distributing, or handling tobacco products must obtain a license from the Commissioner of Revenue. Licenses expire on May 31st of each year. Retailers are not specifically mentioned. Engaging in any business or activity without a license is subject to a penalty in the amount of the license fee for each month or part of a month during which the activity or failure occurs or continues. The commissioner may also impose a penalty of no more than $250 a day.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1015 (2008).

Fee

Manufacturing distributor: $200;

Tobacco Manufacturer’s Warehouse: $200 per warehouse;

Wholesale dealer and jobber: $200 for each separate sale warehouse;

Tobacco distributor: $100 for each secondary wholesale location.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 67-4-1015 (2008).

Smoker Protection Laws

No employee, including employees of state and local government, shall be discharged or terminated solely for participating or engaging in the use of an agricultural product not regulated by the alcoholic beverage commission that is not otherwise proscribed by law, if such employee participates or engages in such use in a manner which complies with all applicable employer policies regarding such use during times at which such employee is working; and/or if such employee participates or engages in such activity during times when such employee is not working. This section shall not be used for frivolous lawsuits, and anyone trying to do so is subject to sanction.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 50-1-304 (1990).

Tobacco Liability

Industry Protection

If a plaintiff in a civil action obtains a judgment under any legal theory, the amount of the appeal bond necessary to stay execution during the course of all appeals or discretionary reviews of that judgment by any appellate court shall be set in accordance with applicable laws or court rules, except that the total appeal bond that is required of all appellants shall not exceed $75 million, regardless of the value of the judgment. If an appellee proves by a preponderance of the evidence that an appellant is dissipating assets outside the ordinary course of business to avoid payment of a judgment, a court may enter orders that are necessary to protect the appellee and require the appellant to post a bond in an amount up to the total value of the judgment.

TENN. CODE ANN. § 27-1-124 (2003).

Tobacco Settlement

Tobacco Control Appropriations

Tennessee appropriated $5,000,000 for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in FY2009 (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009) from the state general fund. $10,000,000 was appropriated in FY2008.

FY2009 Annual Budget (S.B. 4213) enacted 6/23/08 and effective 7/1/08.

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