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Workplace Smoking Rules in Tennessee

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 22, 2012.

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Employers in Tennessee must comply with these state rules regulating smoking in the workplace.

In Tennessee smoking is prohibited in enclosed public places.

Employers covered: Employers with one or more employees.

Written policy requirements: The prohibition on smoking must be communicated to all existing employees and prospective employees upon application for employment.

Posting requirements: No smoking signs, or the international no smoking symbol, which consists of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a circle with a bar across it, must be prominently and conspicuously posted and properly maintained at every entrance to a public place or place of employment where smoking is regulated by law. No smoking signs or no smoking symbols must be prominently displayed throughout the building to ensure that the public is aware of the restriction.

No smoking areas: Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public places, including areas available to and customarily used by the general public in businesses and non-profit entities patronized by the public.

Other areas where smoking is not permitted include the following places:

  • child day-care centers, unless day care is provided in a private home, in which case adult staff members may be permitted to smoke in designated smoking areas to which children are not allowed access
  • any room or area in a community center while the room or area is being used for children's activities
  • group-care homes
  • health care facilities, excluding nursing home facilities
  • zoos
  • museums (except when used after normal operating hours for private functions not attended by children)
  • public and private kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools and certain parts of the school grounds
  • residential treatment facilities for children and youth

Permitted smoking areas: The smoking prohibition does not apply to 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 a room must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited.

Additional areas where smoking is not prohibited include:

  • non-enclosed areas of public places
  • certain private clubs
  • age-restricted venues
  • a certain percentage of hotel and motel rooms designated as smoking rooms
  • nursing homes and licensed long-term care facilities
  • the premises of manufacturers, importers, or wholesalers of tobacco products and tobacco storage facilities
  • retail tobacco shops that prohibit minors
  • private homes, residences and motor vehicles, unless being used for child care or day care
  • commercial vehicles when occupied solely by the operator

Public facilities must provide at least one area indoors in each building where smokers are permitted to smoke.

If a policy is established that permits smoking in the workplace the policy must also provide a nonsmoking area in the workplace.

Facilities, including medical facilities and those with children, may provide adult staff members with a designated smoking area, as long as children are not allowed access.

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