On 10/18/2022, Metro Nashville City Council voted overwhelmingly to pass an ordinance that closes a gap and prohibits smoking inside most age restricted venues. This historic action, the first in Tennessee, will finally give Davidson County’s hospitality workers and musicians the same smokefree workplace protections enjoyed by nearly all other Nashvillians.

This local action follows a statewide bill signed earlier this year by Governor Lee and the TN General Assembly granting municipalities the ability to pass such laws. Sponsored by Councilman Jeff Syracuse along with ten additional members, the highly debated ordinance passed council with overwhelming support (30 in favor, 4 opposed, 1 abstained).

“We applaud Metro Council for stepping up and being the first city in Tennessee to guarantee a smokefree workplace for its hospitality workers and musicians,” said Jamie Kent, Chair of Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville. “As a national leader in healthcare, music, and hospitality, it’s a huge and long-awaited step towards protecting those who work hard to make Music City the place so many people want to live in and visit.”

Jamie Kent

While new to TN, Nashville now joins other Smokefree Music Cities (link to map) across the US (including places like Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Louisville) that enjoy smokefree protections in bars and music venues. According to the CDC, and a recent study published by ETSU, these changes have continuously benefited the health of communities, while never demonstrating any negative economic impact on business.

As an additional statement of support and celebration, members of Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville were invited to a ceremonial bill signing by Nashville’s Mayor, John Cooper.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper Ceremonial Signing of smokefree ordinance

The ordinance will go into effect March 1, 2023. The Metro Nashville Public Health Department will oversee implementation and enforcement of the ordinance, and fines of $50 (per occurrence) may be issued to those in violation. Unfortunately, the ordinance will exempt certain age restricted venues that generate a significant portion of their business from the sale of hookah or hemp-derived cannabinoid products and accessories. Due to state law, cigar bars are also exempt from this ordinance. Smoking or vaping of products not sold at exempted establishments are not allowed.

“While we were disappointed in some of the exemptions that ended up in the bill, eliminating smoking inside Nashville bars is a big step forward in improving the health and quality of life for our community,” said Dr. Daniel Muñoz, President of the American Heart Association Greater Nashville Board of Directors and Executive Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute. “Smoke-Free laws save lives. We hope other great cities in Tennessee will build on Nashville’s example so that we can make our state a healthier place to live and work.”