– Vote Late Yesterday by Metro Council Creates Loopholes That Leave Many Still at Risk from Secondhand Smoke–
NASHVILLE, TN – Late last night, the Nashville Metro City Council advanced a weakened ordinance to make age-restricted venues like bars and restaurants smoke-free that creates a loophole to exempt any establishment that sells hookah and cannabis.
The below is a statement on behalf of Maddie Bushnell, Tennessee Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
“While we’re thankful to have seen the Metro City Council take up action to protect our city’s workers, residents and visitors we’re extremely disappointed by councilmember’s actions to accept exemptions that weaken such lifesaving policy. Tobacco’s burden is unfortunately not a thing of the past for Tennesseans precisely because of missed opportunities like these to ensure strong, proven policies that genuinely protect all who work, visit and live in our great city.”
“Secondhand smoke from hookah and e-cigarettes pose significant health risks not only to people who smoke, but also to everyone around them. As such, hookah and e-cigarettes should be included as part of any smoke-free law. Only by ensuring all workplaces are covered can we truly have an impact in reducing the disproportionately high burden tobacco has on our state.
“It’s our hope that other cities across the state will take today as a call to action to stand up for all small businesses and their workers and set a rightful example for the rest of our state by aligning with the community’s best interest. We will monitor the implementation of the ordinance and are committed to continuing to work with the Metro Council to ensure everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.”
Tennesseans boasts the 5th highest adult smoking rate in the nation and over 31% of all cancer deaths in the state are smoking-related. Research continues to show that comprehensive smoke-free laws save lives and reduce business costs and state dollars spent on tobacco-related illness and death.
The ordinance is scheduled to go to a final vote on October 18th.