The legality of vaping and e-cigarette use has been a controversial topic across the United States, with regulations varying widely between states and even cities. Nashville, the bustling capital of Tennessee, is no exception. The city has seen its fair share of debate over whether vapes should be allowed, banned, or restricted.
This article will explore the current laws in Nashville regarding vape products and e-cigarettes. We’ll look at when and how regulations have changed over recent years, what exactly is legal or illegal, and what vapers need to know to stay on the right side of the law in Nashville.
History of Vaping Laws in Nashville
Nashville’s journey with vaping legislation has experienced some twists and turns. Here’s a quick timeline of how laws regarding vapes and e-cigarettes have evolved in Music City:
- 2010 – Electronic cigarettes become available in Nashville. At this time there were no regulations around their use.
- 2013 – Tennessee enacted a statewide ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors under 18. Nashville adhered to this law.
- 2014 – Nashville added e-cigarettes and vapes to the city’s existing non-smoking ordinance. This meant vaping was banned in most public indoor spaces.
- 2016 – Regulations were updated to treat vapes the same as tobacco products in Nashville. This included prohibiting vaping in workplaces and within 20 feet of entrances.
- 2018 – The Tennessee legislature passed a bill preventing local governments from regulating vaping more strictly than the state laws. This overturned Nashville’s vaping bans for indoor public spaces and workplaces.
- 2019 – Nashville reinstated workplace vaping bans, but vape use in other public indoor areas remained unregulated by local authorities due to state preemption.
So in summary, after some back and forth changes, vaping is now banned in most Nashville workplaces, but generally permitted in other public spaces like bars, restaurants, and music venues. The city does adhere to state regulations like the ban on sales to minors. Next, let’s look at exactly what current state and local laws dictate.
What’s Legal and Illegal in Nashville
Here are some key things to know about the legality of using and buying vapes in Nashville as of 2023:
Purchase and Possession
- It is illegal for minors under 18 to purchase or possess vapes and e-cigarettes in Nashville and across Tennessee. This aligns with federal regulations from the FDA.
- For adults over 18, it is legal to purchase and possess vaping devices and e-liquids in Nashville. There are no additional city or local regulations limiting access.
Use in Workplaces
- Vaping is banned in enclosed workplaces in Nashville, including office buildings, restaurants, bars, and music venues. This includes vaping indoors by both employees and customers.
- Outdoor areas of workplaces are exempt – vaping is permitted in outdoor seating or patio areas of bars and restaurants, for example.
Use in Other Public Spaces
- The Nashville Metro Public Health Department has no authority to regulate vaping in public areas like parks, sidewalks, or public transit thanks to Tennessee state preemption laws.
- Vape use is permitted in spaces like bars, restaurants, music venues, hotels, and shops that aren’t deemed workplaces. The exception is if a private business chooses to implement their own ban.
- State law in Tennessee considers secondhand vapor or aerosol from e-cigarettes to be the equivalent of secondhand smoke.
- This means vaping is prohibited in indoor public spaces in the same way as smoking under the Tennessee Non-Smoker Protection Act. However, Nashville currently cannot enforce this ban due to preemption laws.
- There is no specific local or state excise tax on vapor products like traditional cigarettes. Only Tennessee’s general 7% sales tax applies to e-cigarette and vaping purchases.
- There are currently no local or state restrictions in Nashville or Tennessee regarding flavored vaping products. Flavored vapes are legal for adults over 21 according to state and federal laws.
So in summary, vaping is legal for consenting adults in Nashville in most public spaces thanks to Tennessee state laws limiting local regulation. Workplaces, businesses, and venues can choose to be vape-free by enforcing their own bans. Next, we’ll look at some need-to-knows for vapers in Nashville.
Key Things to Know for Vapers
If you use vapes or e-cigarettes, here are some key tips for staying on the right side of Nashville laws:
- Check for signs indicating if vaping or e-cigs are prohibited. Respect policies at private businesses, music venues, hotels, and workplaces in Nashville that prohibit vaping indoors.
- Assume vaping is not permitted indoors unless indicated otherwise. Tennessee views secondhand vapor similarly to secondhand smoke.
- Be courteous when vaping in public around others. Avoid vaping close to entrances and always ask those nearby if they mind before pulling out your vape.
- Don’t vape or carry e-cigs if under 18 years old. This can lead to a fine or having your vaping gear confiscated.
- Purchase any vaping supplies from licensed retailers only. Counterfeit products from unregulated sellers can be dangerous.
- Keep batteries, mods, and vape accessories out of reach of children and pets. Always use and store vapes responsibly.
- Be aware that vaping laws can change. Stay up to date on Nashville regulations in case new local or state laws are enacted.
While vaping is allowed in Nashville in most public outdoor places, it’s still important to be a considerate vaper by vaping far from others and respecting business policies that prohibit use.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nashville Vaping Laws
Is vaping banned anywhere in Nashville?
Vaping is prohibited by law in Nashville workplaces that have employees. This includes indoor areas of bars, restaurants, music venues, and other businesses. Outdoor patios and spaces at workplaces are exempt. Vaping is also illegal for anyone under 18.
Can I vape in bars and restaurants in Nashville?
Thanks to Tennessee state law, vaping is generally permitted indoors in Nashville bars, restaurants, and music venues, unless the specific establishment bans it. Vaping is allowed in outdoor seating areas. Be sure to check for signs prohibiting vaping or ask your server about e-cigarette policies.
What are the fines for vaping where it’s banned?
In Nashville workplaces like bars or restaurants that prohibit vaping, individuals who violate policies may first receive a warning. Subsequent offenses can warrant fines of $50 or more. For underage vaping, fines range from $10 for a first offense, up to $500.
Where can I buy vapes legally in Nashville?
Adults over 18 can legally purchase vapes, e-cigarettes, and accessories from any licensed retailer in Nashville and Tennessee. This includes vape shops, tobacco shops, convenience stores, and online retailers that verify age. There are no additional Nashville regulations limiting vape sales.
Can police confiscate my vape in Nashville?
Law enforcement in Nashville have the right to confiscate vapes or e-cigarettes if you are underage, or caught vaping where prohibited according to city regulations or business policies. Vapes may also be confiscated as evidence if involved in a criminal investigation.
In summary, while vaping has seen some regulation in Nashville over the years, current laws allow adults to vape in most public outdoor areas, unless specifically banned by a business or venue. Minors caught vaping can face fines and confiscation of gear. Be sure to vape responsibly!