|TEXT OF LAW|
39-15-403. Tattooing of minors.
(a) As used in this section, "tattoo" means to intentionally mark or color by pricking or inserting pigment or coloring matter into the skin so as to leave an
indelible mark or figure.
(b) A person who for commercial purposes tattoos the skin of any person under eighteen (18) years of age commits a Class A misdemeanor.
CHAPTER 38 / TATTOO PARLORS AND ARTISTS
Part 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS [Repealed].
62-38-101 - 62-38-176. [Repealed.]
Part 2 PART 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS [REPEALED.]
62-38-101 - 62-38-176. [Repealed.]
PART 2 GENERAL PROVISIONS
As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Antibacterial solution" means any solution used to retard the growth of bacteria approved for the application to human skin and includes all products so
(2) "Client" means any person desiring to receive a tattoo;
(3) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of health;
(4) "Department" means the department of health;
(5) "Disinfectant" means a solution intended to destroy or inactivate specific viruses, bacteria or fungi on inanimate surfaces;
(6) "Germicidal solution" means any solution which destroys germs and is so labeled;
(7) "License" means the issuance of a license to perform tattooing to any individual, partnership, firm, or corporation;
(8) "Permit" means the issuance of a permit to a tattoo studio or establishment;
(9) "Registration" means license or permit, as applicable;
(10) "Sanitary" means clean and free of agents of infection;
(11) "Single use" means an item is used one (1) time on one (1) client and then is properly disposed of by appropriate measures;
(12) "Sterilization" means holding in an autoclave for fifteen (15) minutes, at fifteen pounds (15 lbs.) pressure, and at a temperature of two hundred fifty
degrees fahrenheit (250øF) or one hundred twenty-one degrees celsius (121øC);
(13) "Tattoo" means any method of placing designs, letters, figures, symbols, cosmetics or any other marks under the skin of a person with ink or color by
the aid of needles or instruments;
(14) "Tattoo artist" means any person, regardless of age, who engages in the practice/service of tattooing regardless of the type of tattoo or area to be
(15) "Tattoo artist registration" means the issuance of a state license authorizing the person named therein to engage in the practice/service of tattooing in
the state of Tennessee after fulfilling the requirements in this part;
(16) "Tattoo operator" means any person who controls, operates, conducts or manages any tattoo studio, whether actually engaging in tattooing or not;
(17) "Tattoo studio" means any room or space where tattooing is practiced or where the service of tattooing is conducted;
(18) "Tattoo studio certificate" means the issuance of a written permit, issued by the local county health department, to a tattoo studio stating that such
studio, after inspection, was found to be in compliance with this part; and
(19) "Universal precautions" means that all blood and body fluids are treated as to contain all bloodborne pathogens and taking proper precautions to prevent
the spread of any bloodborne pathogens.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 2; 1999, ch. 229, §§ 1, 2, 3.]
62-38-202. Registration and certification for studies - Violations.
(a) No person shall operate a tattoo studio unless such person is registered with the state as an operator or as an artist, and the studio has been issued a
studio certificate by the local health department. No studio certificate shall be issued or renewed unless the studio has been inspected and found to be in
compliance by the local health department.
A fee of one hundred dollars ($100) shall be submitted annually to the local health department along with an application for renewal of a studio certificate.
(b) A studio certificate shall expire on December 31 of each year.
(c) The local health department shall inspect each tattoo studio a minimum of four (4) times each year to ensure compliance with this part.
(d) Tattoo studio violations shall be classified into two (2) categories: critical and minor. Tattoo studios found to have critical violations shall be subject to a
one hundred dollar ($100) civil penalty and, if deemed necessary, the immediate shutdown of such tattoo studio. Re-inspection for a critical violation shall be
within seven (7) days, at which time the tattoo studio may be re-opened if such studio is found to be in compliance. If a second critical violation is committed
within the period of one (1) year (calendar or otherwise), the tattoo studio shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500) and the tattoo
studio's certificate may be revoked.
(e) Minor violations means all other violations of this part. Tattoo studios with minor violations shall be subject to a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) civil penalty, and
shall have fourteen (14) days to address and correct such violations. Re-inspection for a minor violation shall be at the discretion of the local health
(f) A violation may be reviewed by the local health department upon written request of the person or studio committing such violation. A request for review by
the local health department shall be made in writing within ten (10) days of receipt of notification of such violation. The local health department should respond
to this review within fourteen (14) days.
(g) Critical violations shall include the following:
(1) Autoclave is not in good working order;
(2) Tubes and needles are not sterilized in an approved manner;
(3) Work room is not equipped as required or is not stocked;
(4) Prohibited reuse of single use articles;
(5) Sterile instruments are not handled properly;
(6) Reusable instruments are not handled properly;
(7) Employees with infectious lesions on hands not restricted from tattooing;
(8) Employees not practicing proper cleanliness and good hygiene practices;
(9) Water supply not approved, hot and cold running water under pressure not available;
(10) Approved sewage and liquid waste disposal not available;
(11) Cross connection allowing back-siphonage present in plumbing system;
(12) Toilet and hand washing facilities not available for employees;
(13) Insect and rodent evidence, harborage, or outer opening present; or
(14) Toxic items not properly stored, labeled, or used.
(h) In all instances of violations, the local health department shall give written notice to the tattoo operator specifying the violations and measures that are
necessary to correct such violations. A copy of this notice/inspection sheet shall be signed by the studio and retained by the local health department.
Payment of all registrations, fees, or fines shall be payable to the local health department having jurisdiction for administrative costs.
(i) Any studio which is engaged in the practice of tattooing on October 1, 1996, shall submit an application for a license within thirty (30) days of October 1,
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 3; 1999, ch. 229, §§ 4, 10, 11, 12.]
62-38-203. Inspections - Work areas - Premises and equipment.
(a) Before a permit to operate a tattoo establishment is granted, the local health department or its duly authorized agent shall inspect the premises in which
the business is to be conducted. If the condition of the premises or its equipment does not conform to the requirements of this part, the local health
department shall refuse to issue a permit. If the tattoo establishment conforms to the requirements of this part, the local health department or its duly
authorized agent shall issue the permit requested.
(b) Each studio where tattoos are administered shall provide a work area separate from any observers present. No smoking or eating shall take place in the
tattoo work area. Clients shall be tattooed only while in the tattoo work area.
(c) Adequate restroom facilities for clients and operators shall be provided within each studio.
(d) A sink with hot and cold running water for handwashing and sterilization, other than a bathroom sink, shall be provided. Sinks shall be equipped with an
antibacterial solution and single use towels.
(e) All waste products shall be disposed of in accordance with universal precaution guidelines. All needles or other sharp instruments shall be segregated
from other wastes and placed in an approved sharps container.
(f) All furniture and fixtures necessary to the practice of tattooing shall be provided and constructed to ensure adequate cleaning and sanitation. Adequate
lighting and ventilation shall be provided in the tattoo studio. Equipment necessary to provide for proper aseptic techniques and sterilization shall be provided,
including an autoclave in good repair. Floors, ceilings, walls and restrooms shall be maintained in a sanitary condition. Studio and equipment shall be
maintained in good repair and the premises shall be kept clean, neat and free of litter and rubbish.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 4.]
62-38-204. Tattoo artist registration, licensing and permits - Apprentices.
(a) No person shall engage in the practice of tattooing or act as a tattoo artist unless such person has registered as a tattoo artist with the department of
health. A statewide tattoo artist license shall be issued and is transferable, within the state of Tennessee, to any studio holding a current studio certificate
issued by a local health department. The department of health may, at its option, direct the local health department to act in its behalf in the application,
examination, and collection of funds, concerning tattoo artist registration.
(b) No holder of a studio permit issued under this part shall allow a tattoo artist to engage in tattooing unless the tattoo artist:
(1) Has attained eighteen (18) years of age;
(2) Currently holds a tattoo artist license; and
(3) Either has a fourteen-day temporary permit or has an apprentice artist license.
(c) Any person desiring to engage in the practice of tattooing shall submit an application to the department of health or its designee. There shall be three (3)
types of tattoo artist licenses: tattoo artist, apprentice artist, and temporary artist. All tattoo artist and apprentice artist registrations shall expire on December
31 of each year. A fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be submitted to the department of health for each individual artist license.
(d) All tattooing shall be under the auspices of a tattoo studio holding a current studio certificate issued by the local health department.
(e) Each tattoo operator or tattoo artist shall, before receiving a permit to operate a tattoo establishment or to apply a tattoo, undergo a training program to
(A) The alliance of professional tattooist course in sterilization;
(B) A local or state health department program;
(C) A course approved by the local health department in methods and techniques for the proper sterilization of instruments and materials used
in tattooing; or
(D) Present acceptable evidence of having satisfactorily completed a course of instruction in sterilization techniques and methods from a
college/medical sterilization course.
(f) The tattoo operator and/or tattoo artist shall be required to take and pass an examination concerning the provisions of this part before a tattoo artist permit
shall be issued. Such examination shall be a written examination prescribed by the local health department. After passing such examination and complying
with the other provisions of this part, a license shall be issued.
(g) In order to receive a tattoo artist license, the tattooist shall be trained in the profession of tattooing to include sterilization methods in a certified shop for at
least one (1) year, under a currently licensed tattoo artist who has been certified and operating in compliance with applicable laws in Tennessee for not less
than three (3) years. Out of state tattoo artists must be able to show proof of at least two (2) years' experience as a professional tattoo artist in another state
(business licenses, tax records, etc., may be used to show proof of prior work). Artists currently in business in Tennessee on October 1, 1996, shall be
exempt from the provisions of this subsection.
(h) An apprentice artist license shall be issued if an artist is unable to comply with any of the provisions of this part. An artist shall remain an apprentice artist
until all qualifications or provisions of this part have been met.
(i) A tattoo operator shall, unless registered as a tattoo artist, register with the department of health and shall comply with all provisions of this part, except for
subsection (g). The fee for such registration shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00), payable to the department.
(j) To renew a license as a tattoo artist, an applicant shall submit a fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) before the expiration of such license.
(k) A penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be imposed upon each late renewal of licensure. No late renewal of licensure shall be accepted more than
one (1) year after the expiration of such licensure.
(l) An applicant whose license has expired for more than one (1) year must re-apply for licensure pursuant to subsection (g).
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 5; 1999, ch. 229, §§ 5, 6, 7.]
62-38-205. Temporary locations.
(a) A registered tattoo business may set up at temporary locations other than a tattoo studio (e.g., tattoo conventions), with the written approval of the local
health department, for a period not to exceed ten (10) days; provided, that each artist not previously registered with the department of health shall register and
pay a fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) to the department.
(b) Temporary facilities (e.g., tattoo conventions) shall be held to the same sanitary standards as those required of tattoo studios. Temporary facility permits
shall be issued by the local health department, to include:
(1) An area where tattooing can be performed in a limited access location;
(2) Adequate sterilization equipment supplied;
(3) Waste receptacles and sharps containers supplied;
(4) Individual containers of water for each client in single use rinse cups; and
(5) Disinfectant sprays at each tattoo artist's work area.
(c) A temporary tattoo artist registration may be issued for not more than fourteen (14) days. The holder of the studio certificate shall also sign for the
temporary license from the department of health and all tattooing shall be under the auspices of the studio certificate holder and in compliance with the
provisions of this part. Artists may apply tattoos if a copy of the state application and a receipt for the fifty dollar ($50.00) fee is on display at the studio. The
sterilization course, written examination and work experience shall be waived for such temporary permit. A temporary license is not transferable nor may it be
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 6.]
62-38-206. Posting studio certificate permit.
It is the duty of the owner or operator of a tattoo establishment to post the current studio certificate permit in a conspicuous place where it may be readily observed by the
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 7.]
62-38-207. Records - Tattooing of minors - Attestations - Instructions - Penalties for tattooing minors.
(a) A record showing the date of a client's visit, the client's name, with the client's signature, address and age, design of the tattoo, its location on the client's
body and the name of the tattoo artist who performed the service shall be maintained by tattoo studios for two (2) years.
(b) A minor sixteen (16) years of age or older may be tattooed with the written consent of the parent or legal guardian to cover up an existing tattoo. A parent
or legal guardian of such minor must be present during the procedure.
(c) Records shall be entered in ink and shall be made available to the local health department upon request, at a reasonable time, for examination.
(d) Clients receiving a tattoo shall attest to the fact that they are not under the infuence of drugs or alcohol.
(e) Printed instructions on the care of skin shall be given to each client after tattooing and a copy of such instructions shall be posted in a conspicuous place
in the tattoo studio.
(f) Except as provided in subsection (b), it is a Class C misdemeanor to tattoo a person under eighteen (18) years of age.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 8.]
62-38-208. Violation for operating without a permit or with a revoked or suspended permit.
(a) Any person who does not obtain a permit as required in § 62-38-202 or whose permit has been revoked or suspended and who continues to tattoo or
operate a tattoo establishment commits a Class B misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500).
(b) Any suspension or revocation may be appealed to the local health officer who shall then conduct a hearing of such appeal in accordance with the Uniform
Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5. The decision made by the local health officer concerning the appeal may be appealed to the
commissioner, such appeal to the commissioner being limited to the issue of determining whether a material error of law was made at the hearing level.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 9; 1999, ch. 229, § 8.]
62-38-209. Hygiene - Equipment - Bandaging, removal of tattoos.
(a) Each tattoo artist shall use a single use lap cloth.
(b) Each tattoo artist shall thoroughly wash the tattoo artists's hands with an antibacterial solution and hot running water prior to and after administering any
(c) Disposable, latex examination gloves shall be worn by a tattoo artist at all times while administering any tattoo. Gloves shall be changed and properly
disposed of each time there is an interruption in the application of a tattoo, or whenever their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.
(d) Only single use supplies (or sterilized equipment) may be used to apply a tattoo and shall be disposed of after each tattoo. This subsection includes
single use disposable razors; single use towels or wipes; lubricants from a collapsible tube and single use paper stencils or plastic stencils soaked in a
germicidal solution. If the design is drawn directly onto the skin it shall be applied only with a single use article. Dyes or pigments should be manufactured for
the sole purpose of tattooing. Single use or individual portions of dye and ink pots or trays shall be used. After tattooing, single use items, dyes, and
containers shall be discarded and the tattoo area disinfected.
(e) All tubes and needles should be sealed for individual client use in autoclave bags with an autoclave indicator and date of sterilization clearly visible.
Autoclave bags may be stored for use for up to one (1) year. Autoclave sterilization minimum standards shall mean holding in an autoclave for twenty (20)
minutes, at fifteen pounds (15 lbs.) pressure, at a temperature of two hundred sixty degrees fahrenheit (260ø F.) or one hundred twenty-seven degrees celsius
(127ø C). After tattooing, used non-disposable instruments such as tubes shall be kept in a separate, puncture resistant container until properly cleaned,
disinfected and sterilized using universal precautions and recognized medical methods.
(f) Each tattoo shall be bandaged, when applicable, before leaving the tattoo studio.
(g) No tattoo artist shall remove or attempt to remove any tattoo.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 10.]
62-38-210. Local regulations superseded - Applicability to physicians.
(a) This part shall supersede all county and local regulations concerning tattooing to give uniformity in compliance within this state.
(b) This part does not apply to any physician or any person under the supervision of a physician who is licensed to practice medicine in this state.
(c) The commissioner shall promulgate rules governing implementation of the provisions of this chapter.
[Acts 1996, ch. 1004, § 11; 1999, ch. 229, § 9.]
PART 3 BODY PIERCING
As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Body piercing" means the creation of an opening in the body of a human being for the purpose of inserting jewelry or other decoration; and
(2) "Body piercing" does not include piercing an ear with a disposable, single-use stud or solid needle that is applied using a mechanical device to force the
needle or stud through the ear.
[Acts 1999, ch. 333, § 1.]
62-38-302. Consent of minor's present - Record - Skin care - Violations.
(a) A minor seventeen (17) years of age or younger may undergo body piercing with the written consent of such minor's parent or legal guardian. Such parent
or legal guardian must be present at the business during the procedure. When providing written consent such parent or guardian shall produce photo-bearing
identification and attest in writing that such individual is the minor's parent or guardian.
(b) Records shall be entered in ink and shall be made available to the local health department upon request, at a reasonable time, for examination.
(c) Clients receiving body piercing shall attest to the fact that they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
(d) Printed instructions on the care of skin shall be given to each client after body piercing and a copy of such instructions shall be posted in a conspicuous
place in the body piercing studio.
(e) Except as provided in subsection (a), it is a Class C misdemeanor to body pierce a person under eighteen (18) years of age.
(f) It is not a defense to a criminal prosecution of the offense created by subsection (e) that at the time of the offense the minor possessed a letter of consent
from such minor's parent or legal guardian if such letter was forged as defined in § 39-14-114(b)(1)(A)(i).
(g) It is a Class B misdemeanor to falsely claim to be the parent or guardian of a minor for the purpose of obtaining a body piercing procedure for a minor.
[Acts 1999, ch. 333, § 1.]
62-38-303. Liability of minors.
Nothing in this part creates any liability, criminal or otherwise, for a minor which has its body pierced.
[Acts 1999, ch. 333, § 2.]