Smoking now banned in most places

Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 10:53pm

As the clock struck midnight early this morning, smoking became banned in restaurants and most workplaces, a measure designed to discourage the habit and keep workers and customers safe from the perils of secondhand smoke.

But the Non-Smokers Protection Act has its critics who say the law has too many exemptions, is confusing, and encourages businesses to try and find a loophole.

Ruble Sanderson, who owns four honky-tonks on lower Broadway, said overall, he thinks the law is a “good thing,” but he is disappointed that it has “all of those exceptions.”

One of those exceptions allows smoking at “age-restricted venues,” most commonly known as bars.

Sanderson said that exemption defies one of the goals of the law — to protect non-smokers — since people who work at bars and those who frequent them are still subjected to secondhand smoke.

“It defies common sense to me why they would have done that … because it’s not protecting everybody in the workplace,” Sanderson said. “But anyway, we’ve got to live with it and I think in the long term, it will be a good thing.”

Sanderson will make three out of the four establishments he owns — The Stage, Legend’s Corner and Second Fiddle — smoke free. He is undecided as of Friday on whether he will allow smoking at Nashville Crossroads.

Sanderson would have preferred Gov. Phil Bredesen’s smoking ban bill. That proposal was more restrictive, essentially outlawing smoking in all workplaces.

But Bredesen’s bill was not passed and instead, a watered-down version became law today.

Nevertheless, Bredesen praised the new law.

“The most effective way to protect workers from deadly secondhand smoke is to require smoke-free workplaces,” Bredesen said in a statement. “The goal of this legislation is to protect Tennesseans who are simply trying to go to work each day and earn a paycheck.”

The law bans smoking in “all public places” within Tennessee, including restaurants and businesses with more than three employees.

Those businesses required to ban smoking most post “No Smoking” signs at every entrance to every public place.

Including being able to allow smoking in bars, the law has other exceptions that some businesses can exploit.

Jimmy Kelly’s, the legendary Nashville steakhouse, will allow smoking on its patio that connects to the main restaurant, an exemption granted under the law.

The restaurant and bar area will be non-smoking, though.

Mike Kelly, the owner of Jimmy Kelly’s, wouldn’t comment on whether he thought the law should have been passed.

But Kelly, who said a lot of his customers smoke, did not think it would hurt business.

“I mean 95 percent of our restaurant has been non-smoking,” Kelly said. “We only have one small area in the bar where you can smoke. So, no, we are not too concerned about that.”

Besides bars and patios, other places that are exempt from the ban include:

— Private homes, private residences and private motor vehicles unless used for child care or day care

— Open-air patios, porches, decks or any area enclosed by a garage-type door when all of those doors are open and tents with “removable sides or vents”

— Private clubs such as country clubs

— Up to 25 percent of hotel/motel rooms are allowed to be smoking

— Tobacco manufacturers, importers and wholesalers as well as tobacco shops

— Nursing homes and long-term care facilities

— Commercial vehicles when occupied only by the driver

— Businesses with three or fewer employees, as long as they smoke in an enclosed area not accessible to the public

While the ban is effective today, the agencies with the dual responsibility of enforcing the law, the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, won’t start fining violating businesses immediately.

“We want to give them an opportunity to comply before we take more punitive measures,” said Andrea Ewin Turner, spokeswoman for the Department of Health.

The Department of Health will enforce the law in businesses that it inspects, including restaurants, hotels and motels.

Correspondingly, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development will enforce the Act in locations that it inspects, which include factories, construction sites, convenience and grocery stores, retail stores and malls.

Once state officials start instituting fines, those businesses “knowingly” violating the ban receive a written warning for the first violation, a $100 fine for a second violation within a year, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent violation in a year.

An individual who “knowingly” smokes in a prohibited area is subject to a $50 fine.

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By: BADCOPS on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This law is insane as Sanderson and others already had the choice to keep smoking or to go smoke free.This should have been a choice of the business owners only.Famous Dave's said they won't even let people smoke on the patio outside.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

“It defies common sense to me why they would have done that … because it’s not protecting everybody in the workplace,” Not everyone wants/needs government protection."— Up to 25 percent of hotel/motel rooms are allowed to be smoking"And what if the area has more demand from smokers then non smokers will those rooms be a premium price? Is the hotel expected to let rooms go empty when they can rent them? Are tired drivers supposed to shop for rooms risking accidents (or lie) What kind of equipment will be needed to enforce this? Are we going to qualify people as expert smoke sniffers to testify in court? Will roadside billbords have 2 vacancy listings? IMO something like this that effects the behavior of all tennesseans should be voted on by them not arbitraily be dictated by the few.I do hope that many "private" resturant clubs spring up. Then again I will save money with this policy just on principle that I don't want government telling me that I cannot consume a legal product that they overtax in other places I am spending my money (and being taxed again).HEIL BEDE$EN. (Up your nose with a rubber hose.)btw why don't we ban brats from public places? You know the ones that whine, scream and inturupt what you thought was going to be a good meal while their parents are either clueless or think its "cute".nd

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"btw why don't we ban brats from public places?"Because, id, you would no longer be allowed to post here, that's why.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why don't we ban the whiners like idgaf from their never ending whining.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

sorry guys I am not gay so not interested.

By: Wdeere on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I blame the restaurants for not setting up areas that are truly non-smoking. Very frequently, when we ask for non-smoking seating, we find ourselves within a few feet of a smoking area with only a short wall or some plants as a divider. In one restaurant that we no longer visit, the divider was made of lattice! That really blocks smoke. If restaurants had been built with completely separate areas for smokers and non-smokers, this law might not have been necessary. BTW, my wife is VERY allergic to cigarette smoke. Before you say we have the option of eating at home, I don't believe we should have to miss the pleasure of restaurant eating because of smokers. Having said that, I believe this law is typical of the mush that comes out of the TN legislature. The committee structure of the legislature needs to be changed so that the voice of the majority of representatives is heard rather than that of the powerful few.Will

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yes, they did a half-baked job of banning smoking. They should have just banned it anywhere that second-hand smoke could infringe on unsuspecting lungs.How is Waffle House gonna stay in bidness?;D

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The perils of second-hand smoke are as well established as the perils of first-hand smoke. Thus, we ban smoking where the public gathers inside. The Gen. Ass., bowing to tobacco money, wimped out on this bill. It should've passed a clear, simple bill. Like Serr0d, I, too, however, worry about Waffle House. It will be a watershed in the life of the world's greatest waffles.

By: lifesadance24 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

“The most effective way to protect workers from deadly secondhand smoke is to require smoke-free workplaces,” Bredesen said in a statement. “The goal of this legislation is to protect Tennesseans who are simply trying to go to work each day and earn a paycheck.”Governor Bredesen, don't Tennesseans work in bars?Mr. Sanderson is the sane voice of this debate and questioning legislation which is inadequate in doing what it was originally intended to do....protect the majority of people who choose not to smoke and should not be told to stay home so as not to be exposed to the poison from the small minority of people who choose to smoke. After all, non-smokers are hurting no one."Sanderson said that exemption defies one of the goals of the law — to protect non-smokers — since people who work at bars and those who frequent them are still subjected to secondhand smoke."I applaud Mr. Sanderson for including his downtown honky tonks in this legislation! Now I might actually have a place to take all of my out of town company when we want to explore downtown. THANK YOU!!!As has occurred in other states, look for this legislation to be strengthened to do what it was originally intended....it's only a matter of time.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The very people who are yelling and whining about government controlling personal decisions like smoking, had no problem with the government interferring and legislating who could marry whom. How strange is that?

By: JDG on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anyone who would eat at a Waffle House is already taking far more chances with their health than second hand smoke would create!!!!

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Whether one chooses to smoke in the confines of her/his own home is solely her/his personal business. However, once he/she exits his/her home and merges into the public arena the issue morphs from personal rights and yields to the greater good of ALL citizens. Cigar/cigarette smoke has harmful health to everyone regardless if one wants to acknowledge it, yet it has serious and immediate consequences to those with respiratory illness such as asthma, bronchitis, etc. In affect, promoting cigar/cigarette smoking in public places denies persons with respiratory illness their rights to access just as it does a person in a wheelchair. Therefore, since business owners/employers cannot grasp the concept of greater good in lieu of their own self interest, then it becomes the role of our government(s) to intervene and enact laws to protect the rights ALL of it citizens including the handicapped by establishing rules of conduct.Nicotine may have some medical benefits, and one can obtain all the nicotine one wants via a patch, but cigar/cigarette smoke regardless if firsthand or secondhand has no medical benefits. In fact, it affects are detrimental to everyone’s health. Therefore, it should be banned. BTW, the Waffle house in Brentwood has Smoke free hours, but should make them 24 hours.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Perhaps, lawsuits based on the Americans with Disabilities Act would prompt the necessary legislation and compliance.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Fundit, is a rose and petunia the same? Well, neither are your two examples.

By: ainvar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Finally, TN is out in front on an issue and not the last state to stubbornly get pulled into the current century. It's not a perfect law....but it's a good thing.I will be going out to lunch and dinner with large groups of friends today to enjoy the change.

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Imagine for a moment that a sick bigot published an ad insulting blacks, Jews or homosexuals. We might debate the scope and limits of the first amendmentand the freedom of individuals to say what they please, so long as they please the lynch mobs.But what if the government ran it?Nazi Germany in the thirties? No, America in the nineties. The only difference is that the group out of favor today is smokers. Anyone who dismisses the comparison has not been reading the news. Smokers are banned from universities, libraries, most places of business and the halls of government. They have been denied employment and fired from their jobs for smoking at home. They have been fined and thrown in jail. And the anti-smoking campaignis just getting warmed up: what lies ten years ahead?

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

There seems to be a general acceptance that a majority can do anything it likes to a minority. If you are unconcerned or even happy about the present plight of puffers, you should remember that in one respect or another everyone belongs to some minority and that one day, your turn will come. And more seriously, our government, which was elected to serve (not rule!) us, is now in the business of bashing the politically incorrect. That phrase, once used humorously, is now starting to acquire the sinister tone that it carries in China. Once we allow the state the power to coerce "correct" behavior, it is only a matter of time, given present trends, before we are all clad neck to toe in black garments and addressing each other as "thee".

By: ainvar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dear fear-monger,Smokers are NOT "banned from universities, libraries, most places of business and the halls of government." They just can't smoke in there. There is a difference.Don't forget, people still have the right to smoke.

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

That right is rapidly diminishing. The argument that this is being done "for smokers' own good" is demeaning. Our bodies are not government property. The argument that smokers cost society money is asinine. About one third of us considerately die before cashing in on social security. The argument that smoke is harmful to others is nothing but a subterfuge. The risk of second-hand smoke exposure has been so outrageously distorted that it amounts to an out-right lie.

By: ainvar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Until you have some 30 years of documented proof that smoking does NOT effect other people's health, then I guess we will have to disagree. (Preferaby research not done by tobacco companies or their auspices).

By: ainvar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I also have about 35 years of personal experience that tells me being around smoke isn't good for my health as it causes headaches and problems with my sinuses. Taking my personal experience and research into account, it is easy for one to come to their own conclusion that over time, such things would lead to bigger (more serious) medical problems.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If headaches and sinus problems constitute a reason for banning something why haven't we banned traffic, concerts, Spring, my mother-in-law...

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It’s not strange at all, Fundit, because there is no connection between freedom to marry whom you want & license to impose your smoke on many unwilling people. Plants makes the case in his remarks about what one does in private & what one does in public as well as I would. Remember, Fundit, one of the fundamental American rights is the right to be left alone. If what I’m doing doesn’t harm you (which cannot be the case for smoking in a public interior), then you should not stop it.Greenie, smokers are not a persecuted minority. They are free to smoke anywhere others needn’t breathe it. Smoking has always been an act of permission. People used to ask, “Do you mind if I smoke” before lighting up. This legislation (if it were stronger) merely frees us from asking everyone who enters, say, the restaurant, since they’re all affected.

By: ainvar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well, those "symptoms" are just symptoms of being doused in secondhand smoke. And there's been plenty of research to show that it can lead to heart disease, cancer, stroke, miscarriages, low birth weights....and the list goes on and on.I don't think concerts, spring and traffic have the same long term effects. But feel free to show me some research.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hey hypocrites you ready to give up the cigerette tax money?

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gd – I heard your mother-in-law was a saint! I mean look at what she has to work with!!! (lol)

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You first ainvar. There is no research showing that the long-term effects of second-hand smoke can kill you. In fact, the evidence is "suggestive, not indicative".

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

et tu revo? LOL

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anti-smokers have long tried to restrict smoking on the grounds that it was bad for smokers' health. But this sort of paternalism, while it has many adherents, is not very effective when it comes to getting laws passed. At least not in this country. In recent years, however, they have made great progress using the theory that smoking is bad for the health of others: that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) can, in fact, be deadly.The principal ammunition used in the war on smokers consists of these claims:1. The EPA says secondhand smoke causes 3,000 cancer fatalities in Americans each year.2. The American Heart Association says that secondhand smoke causes 50,000 fatal heart attacks in Americans each year.3. An unspecified number of Americans are dying each year from "respiratory illnesses" attributable to secondhand smoke.All of these falsehoods depend for their general acceptance on thecredibility of those disseminating them and upon the inability of the typical listener to perform simple sanity checks using common senseand arithmetic. The simplest is this. It takes 20 years or more for damage to manifest itself in a smoker. ETS is hundreds of times more dilute than mainstream smoke. Non smokers would have to live with ETS for upwards of 2,000 years to incur the same damage. Here's another. Smoke from charcoal contains many of the same components as those most feared in tobacco smoke(carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, carcinogens and so forth). A ten pound bag of charcoal produces as much smoke (and harmful chemicals) as 160 packs of cigarettes. Are you going to quit barbecuing? Probably not. Yet the slightest whiff of tobacco smoke gives many anti-smokers idiot fits. Are they being hysterical? I think they are.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Finally, something we can agree upon Green!

By: Elvis666 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

greenwood, the problem with your arguement lies in the fact that you ignore how many people in the US live with that second hand smoke. Since there is a much larger pool of individuals exposed to second hand smoke (in comparison to actual smokers), 3000 fatalities is from a greater portion of the population than how ever many smokers kick it each year. In addition, there is a siginificant percentage of the non-smoking population who reach that 20 year mark when they turn 20, since they have been exposed to second hand smoke since birth. Not saying that I agree with the smoking ban, but I'm not sure your arguments against the dangers of second hand smoke hold water.

By: tennliberal on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I am glad the selfish, inconsiderate a**holes with their filthy cigarettes can no longer smoke in restaurants or other public places. You don't have the "right" to invade my lungs, ruin my meal, stink up my clothes or my wife's hair, or otherwise get into my face with your stupid intrusive habit.Just as you can't bring in a boom box and turn it up to the max in the next table to to mine at O'Charley's, now (finally) you can't blow your smoke into my air.The whining about it being confusing and "too many exceptions" is a bunch of bull. The law is easy to understand. The only exception I don't get is the nursing home one, but the nursing home lobby ($$$$$) pretty much gets its way in Nashville, so that may explain it.As for anyone going out of business, that's crap too. Smokers are still going to go eat ...they'll just have to finish their meal and inflict their deadly, stinking smoke just on themselves or others who are stupid enought to smoke with them somewhere else.Here's the deal: Smoking causes cancer and kills people. If you a stupid fool and idiotic dumb-ass and want to kill yourself, I can't help it, but I can help it if your smoke is in a public place and getting into my lungs as well as yours.Your smoking in a public place also invades my space. I don't care what you do at home, but stay the hell out of my face with your disgusting habit.Good law, long overdue, works all over the country.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Naw, gd, just a little fun’n. My m-t-l thinks I am the greatest. Of course, I am also the only one left, so I take it with a grain of salt!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I would take up smoking again just to blow a puff in Tennliberal's face.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Greenie, your argument still doesn’t hold water. No one denies that second-hand smoke harms others. No one denies that no one must smoke. No one denies that this harm is utterly & simply preventable by smoking outside. Whether the number of people harmed is 3000 or 50,000 is irrelevant. Smoking in public interior spaces is inflicting your personal habit on others. If you insisted, in a restaurant, upon yelling & banging the table constantly, the restaurant would be w/in its rights to demand your exit. You would be inflicting your personal habit on others. The issue in this article is that the Gen. Ass. passed a law w/ too many loopholes. It still won’t make for smoke-free public places. (By the way, I am not a rabid anti-smoker. I smoke myself, but I never inflict it on anyone w/out asking. Indeed, I use my smoking—mostly occasional—as an opportunity to enjoy the outside fresh air. Yes, I see—and love—the irony.)

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

WOW! GD, I thought it would never happen. I ALSO agree with the post about the Puff at TennLib. What an a**hole.If you would like to see the stats on lost business due to smoking bans, check out this link: http://www.smokersclub.com/banloss3.htm

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Elvis, whether or not my argument holds water is mostly irrelevant. The point I attempt to make is that WE as Americans are swiftly relinquishing our freedoms to the government. A government which purports to protect us from ourselves. We must stop the government intervention into our lives. WE are the boss! We elect representatives to REPRESENT us in government and that has become so ridiculously skewed that we no longer have the representation we deserve. If we continue to relinquish our freedoms to government we soon will be a communist state. We are a republic of elected representatives and until WE stop the insanity (meaning WE THE PEOPLE) who knows where it will end? MJB, they will probably be coming for your red wine next. It doesn't end with smoking.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Food is next. Eventually fiction will merge with reality and we will live in a "joy-joy" world where everything that is deemed bad for you is illegal.

By: Wdeere on 12/31/69 at 6:00

greenwoodd, the next time my wife goes into larynx spasms and is grasping for air because someone blows smoke in her direction, I'll tell her that it is just her imagination and that second-hand smoke is totally harmless. I'm sure she will breathe easier knowing that.

By: MsTyphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why is something so wretched like cigs allowed to be sold, purchased, and smoked all day, everyday, everywhere ( anywhere outside that is), and mariju is still given a criminal "stigma". Weed cigs, although much more potent than nicotine, are not nearly as harmful chemical wise and IMO don't smell nearly as bad...Well I'll tell ya why, because back in the good 'ol fool days, when weed was not illegal it cut into the profits of big tobacco and alcohol...another reason was to try rid the country of the Mexicans who were no longer needed as laborers b/c of the depression...Also of course because it was embraced by the Jazz culture and we know who that was...

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I’ve been going to restaurants in Nashville all my life, excluding the years in the military, and unless I was sitting directly in a smoking section I have never had anyone blow smoke in my face. Wdeere, I would suggest not patronizing a restaurant where you have smoke blown in your face. It’s that simple. If enough people stop going, the restaurant will be forced to change. But it should be the owner’s decision, not the government.

By: lifesadance24 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What everyone here who opposes the ban seems to be forgetting is that we live in a democracy. This is what the majority wants. Period.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Actually, we live in a Republic.

By: greenwoodd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well said GD..........

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

...the jazz culture...Now THAT is American music...

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Instead of blathering about the smoking rules, Greenie, take your argument against a government that protects us from ourselves to a much more egregious situation: our government’s mendacious, bloody, & costly ($2 billion/week) occupation of Iraq. That is protecting no one from nothin’. It’s way higher a cost than what businesses might lose from these new, weak, local rules about smoking.

By: Tennessee_Budd on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well, the grubby little nanny-staters have gotten their way. My reaction is to no longer patronize restaurants in TN. I'll drive the 15 miles from my home to KY to eat. If I decide to shop, I'll do so while there. If I want to look at getting a new car, KY again. Why the hell should I give money to support a state that doesn't believe in the property rights of business owners? Makes me ashamed to be a lifelong Tennessean.I hope something heavy falls on Bredesen and his Supreme Soviet buddies from a great height. Carpetbagger scum.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Damn TNBudd, sounds like you might be in need of a nicotine fix!!

By: Elvis666 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"Elvis, whether or not my argument holds water is mostly irrelevant."Well, OK, if you say so. Then why make it?"The point I attempt to make is that WE as Americans are swiftly relinquishing our freedoms to the government. A government which purports to protect us from ourselves."I understand your point of view, but the other side sees that they are being protected from YOU.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This isn't a violation of property rights, Budd. Once you invite the public into your property, you no longer have the same rights. You need, for example, to meet many code obligations: number of exits, size of exits, number of people allowed inside, &c. If you want to maintain pure property rights, then keep the property to yourself. No one's stopping you from smoking on your own PRIVATE property.