Changes to Louisville’s smoke-free ordinance to go into effect Monday

E-cigarettes and Hookah Smoking will be prohibited in indoor public places and worksites

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 17, 2017) – Beginning Monday, Aug. 21, the use of electronic cigarettes and hookah products will be prohibited in indoor public places and worksites throughout Louisville, as part of an expansion of the city’s Smoke-Free Ordinance and Louisville Metro Government’s effort to create a healthier community for all.

On May 11, Metro Council amended Louisville’s smoke-free ordinance, which prohibits smoking tobacco in indoor public places and worksites, to include e-cigarettes and hookah, which were not on the market when the ordinance was passed originally. The expansion also provides greater protections for people living in nursing homes and assisted care facilities, and specifies that smoking outside cannot take place within fifteen feet of a public building entrance.

Mayor Greg Fischer signed the legislation on May 22. “This will protect our residents and visitors alike from the harmful health effects of electronic cigarette and hookah emissions, and is yet another step toward making Louisville a much healthier city,” the Mayor said, thanking Metro Council for approving the expansion and the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and its partners for educating the public about the need for it.

“The top two causes of death in our city, heart disease and cancer, are directly related to smoking and exposure to secondhand emissions,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Emissions from electronic cigarettes and hookah contain chemicals that are known toxicants, carcinogens, and respiratory irritants. Expanding the Smoke Free Ordinance to include electronic cigarettes and hookah aligns with our Healthy Louisville 2020 goal of reducing and eliminating exposure to smoking related health hazards and reducing exposure to environmental health hazards.”

The amended ordinance includes two exemptions. The use of electronic cigarettes will be allowed in retail shops in which at least 85 percent of revenues are derived from the sale of electronic smoking devices, accessories and products. The facilities must not allow people under age 18 in the building, must not sell alcoholic beverages, must not be licensed as Food Service Establishments and cannot have an entrance that opens on a common area with other retail establishments. Only the consumption of non-tobacco and non-nicotine products from an electronic smoking device is allowed in these facilities.

Also, non-tobacco hookah consumption will continue to be allowed in hookah lounges that were in business as of May 1, 2017. They must operate continuously with no cessation in operations to remain eligible for the exemption. Such businesses must register with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness by August 21, 2017. These business cannot allow individuals under age 18 to enter, cannot be licensed as Food Service Establishments and cannot sell alcoholic beverages. Only the consumption of non-tobacco products is allowed at these facilities.

Enforcement of the amended smoke-free ordinance remains the same as the previous ordinance. The owner or manager of a business is required to direct any person who is smoking or consuming electronic cigarettes or hookah at an indoor establishment to extinguish the lighted product or to put away the electronic smoking device. If an establishment is out of compliance, the public may report violations to MetroCall at 311. The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness will investigate.

Establishments that violate the smoke-free ordinance are subject to the following fines within a one-year period:
• 1st violation – no less than $50 and no more than $100
• 2nd violation – no less than $150 and no more than $250
• 3rd violation and each additional violation – no less than $350 and no more than $500

Businesses can get free smoke-free decals at the Department of Public Health and Wellness at 400 E. Gray St. during normal business hours, or they can complete this online form to have a sign sent to them, or they can download a free copy of the smoke-free sign.

For more resources and information, including a hookah lounge registration form, guidance for hotels and motels and an implementation checklist for businesses, go to https://louisvilleky.gov/government/health-wellness/smoke-free-ordinance. To learn more about stop smoking resources, visit our Stop Smoking page or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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