Monday December 11, 2023
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Metro Council Amends Smoking Ban Ordinance To Include Electronic Smoking Devices And Hookah Bars

By a vote of 15 to 6, the Louisville Metro Council has amended the Louisville Metro Smoking ban ordinance to include concerns about the use of electronic smoking devices and hookah bars in public areas.

“I want to thank my colleagues for their support in making these changes,” said Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13), who is the primary sponsor of the ordinance. “Everyone agrees the smoking ban has gone a long way in protecting public health and as new products come on line we need to make sure they are included to maintain the protections we are now providing the public.”

The amended ordinance now includes electronic smoking devices and hookah bars in the banning of nicotine based products being used in public areas. The smoking ban ordinance was passed in its current form by the Metro Council in 2008.

“The ordinance passed tonight represents the bi-partisan work of a number of people on the council,” said Councilwoman Marilyn Parker (R-18). “The ordinance and the amendments we passed tonight protects job creators, their employees and the health of the people we represent.”

The Council’s Community Affairs, Housing, Health and Education Committee reviewed the changes for more than six months. The final version was approved with bipartisan support and input from business and the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

“The Committee made sure that we listened to everyone who had an interest in this issue,” said Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin who chairs the Committee. “I want to thank Councilwoman Welch and Councilwoman Parker, who are both Registered Nurses, for working together to help us continue to protect the health of the people of Metro Louisville.”

This new version of the ordinance also modernizes and updates other parts of the original smoking ban with regard to language and related businesses, public areas and dwellings.

Highlights of the Amended Smoking Ban ordinance:

  • Defines electronic smoking retail store as a business operation with at least 85% of sales dedicated to electronic smoking devices, and/or accessories or products;  and defines electronic smoking device as any device containing or delivering nicotine that a person can use in any manner or form to inhale vapor or aerosol form of the product;
  • Defines hookah as water pipe and associated products and devices used to produce fumes, smoke and/or vapor from burning or material including tobacco, herbal shisha; and defines hookah establishment as a business operation dedicated to the allowing on-site smoking through one or more hookah pipes, and must not allow minors in the building.
  • There is an exemption for the consumption of any non-nicotine related products from an electronic smoking device at an electronic smoking retail store to allow tasting of various flavors.
  • There is an exemption for any non-tobacco products through a hookah at a hookah lounge in operation as of March 1, 2017 shall not allow minors in the building, sell alcoholic beverages or be licensed as a food service establishment(LMCO Ch. 118)
  • Smoking is not allowed 15 feet outside the entrance to any building, except for hookah establishments.

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