Smoke-Free Ordinance

Louisville Metro’s Smoke-Free Ordinance prohibits smoking in indoor public places and worksites. The 2008 Ordinance was enacted before electronic cigarettes came on the market and did not explicitly include hookah products. On May 11, 2017, the Louisville Metro Council voted to amend the Ordinance. The legislation was signed by Mayor Greg Fischer on May 22, 2017, and became effective on August 21, 2017. In addition to the prohibition of electronic smoking devices and hookah inside public indoor places and worksites, the amended Ordinance also protects minors from entering hookah and vape shops, provides greater protections to people living in nursing homes and staying in other facilities, and defines the distance requirement for smoking outside of building entrances.

In November 2020, Louisville Metro passed two ordinances that would allow better tracking of establishments that sell tobacco. An amendment was enacted April 1, 2021, that requires all businesses selling any amount or type of tobacco product or electronic smoking device within Jefferson County to acquire a license from the Department of Public Health and Wellness. Effective January 1, 2022, tobacco retailers who sell any type or amount of tobacco or electronic smoking device will be required to have a local license to operate in Louisville, Jefferson County. 

The other was an amendment to the Land Development Code (Planning Commission Resolution NO. 20-LDC-0003), that restricts locations for stores whose have either 51% of their revenue or 10% of their floor space dedicated to tobacco or tobacco-related products. These stores cannot be located within 600 feet of another smoking retail store or within 1000 feet of a:

  1. Public or private early childhood, elementary, middle or high school
  2. Park
  3. Public playground
  4. Recreation (Use), Outdoor
  5. Community Center
  6. Day Care Center
  7. Athletic Facility, Indoor and Outdoor

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are leading preventable causes of chronic illnesses and premature death. Louisville Metro’s Smoke-Free Ordinance helps protect the health of residents and visitors by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke inside public places and places of employment.
What does the smoke-free law cover?
  • Indoor public places and worksites, including, but not limited to:
    • All Food Service Establishments (including hookah lounges)
    • Hotels and motels
    • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • 15 feet from the outside entrance to any building
  • The 15 feet distance restriction does not apply to hookah lounges
  • Smoke or smoking includes:
    • Cigars
    • Cigarettes
    • Pipes
    • Hookahs
    • Marijuana
    • Electronic smoking devices
    • Oral smoking devices
    • Any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation
    • Minors are prohibited from using, consuming, purchasing, or possessing any electronic smoking device or hookah.
    • Retailers are prohibited from selling, offering to sell, or distributing to electronic smoking devices and hookah to any minors and from permitting any minors to enter the business.
  • Private residences and extended stay lodging
    • Smoking is not allowed when private residences are used as a licensed childcare, adult day care, or health care facility
  • Hookah lounges, that meet specific criteria
  • Electronic smoking retail stores, that meet specific criteria
  • Tobacco businesses (manufacturers or wholesalers), that meet specific criteria
  • To register a complaint, please call Metro Call 311.
  • Stop Smoking
    • To learn more about stop smoking resources, please visit our Stop Smoking page or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  • ​Smoke-free signs for businesses
    • You can print off a free copy of the smoke-free sign to post in the window of your business

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