Dec 2 2018
01:03 pm

Is any part of downtown Knoxville "smoke free"?

Seems like some cities have implemented that sort of thing ...

The City of Eugene wants community members to get out and enjoy the fresh air in downtown. We’ve made a change to City code that makes the public spaces in the downtown core smoke-free. In addition, the code allows the expansion of smoke-free areas outside the downtown core.

Smoke-free Downtown - Eugene, Oregon

Manchester's Downtown Parks Will Now Be Smoke Free

Smoke-Free Ordinance - Golden, Colorado

Fort Collins readies for smoke-free downtown

Bill Lyons's picture

Smoking legislation: state preemption

Cities are creatures of the state and only excercise the powers so granted. Cities' ability to regulate smoking is preempted by the state of Tennessee. While state law does not permit smoking in enclosed public spaces, cites are preempted from instituting regulation beyond that, including in non-enclosed public spaces. See section 4 of 39-17-1804 - Exempted areas.

(4) (A) Non-enclosed areas of public places, including: (i) Open air patios, porches or decks; (ii) Any area enclosed by garage type doors on one (1) or more sides when all those doors are completely open; and(iii) Any area enclosed by tents or awnings with removable sides or vents when all those sides or vents are completely removed or open;

UT, as a state institution, was provided the authority to regulate smoking on its campus.

There was an attempt last year to let cities have autonomy to regulate smoking but it did not pass. The following link provides good context. If such legislation passed then the conversation would shift to Knoxville and would be engaged through the local political process.

"New bill aims to restore local decisions on smoking policies" (link...)

As currently written, the Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1803 prohibits smoking “in all enclosed public places” and lists 19 examples. However, TCA 39-17-1804 does allow smoking in “non-enclosed areas of public places” and 10 exempted enclosed areas.

FWIW the issue of what is appropriate state preemption of local authority is a major concern each time the General Assembly convenes.

Rachel's picture

FWIW the issue of what is

FWIW the issue of what is appropriate state preemption of local authority is a major concern each time the General Assembly convenes.

E.g. Guns in parks.

R. Neal's picture

And city unions and living

And city unions and living wage riders for contractors.

michael kaplan's picture

'Preemption' is another

'Preemption' is another subtle form of racism and disempowerment, as cities tend to have a higher percentage of minorities than the states in which they reside. Tennessee has one of the broadest ‘preemption’ structures in the US, according to this site.

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