Many Tennessee communities are ready to take the next step in addressing dismal smoking rates in their state. Yet they are barred from doing so because of one of the strictest tobacco preemption laws in the country.
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Meanwhile, Tennessee continues to be a leader for smoking rates in the United States. In fact the rate of smokers in Tennessee out paces the national rate by nearly seven percent. Also, believe it or not, there are more smoking related deaths in Tennessee than deaths from opioid overdoses.
Which is why we at the American Heart Association have decided to take on preemption and fight for a local option. This bill would repeal the tobacco preemption and give control back to local governments to allow them to make specific and stronger local laws. The community that would like to prohibit smoking at the parks and ball fields would have the power to do so, the community that wants to get smoking off its public square will be able to, and the community that does not want to take any action would not have to. By allowing local governments, who understand the needs of their community, to control where and when smoking is allowed would help bring down the smoking rate in our state.