Skip to main content
Press Release

Nashville Bar Owner Breaks Free from Nicotine Addiction and Hopes to Inspire Others

Owner of Jane’s Hideaway in East Nashville quits smoking with support from Truth Initiative’s EX® Program as Nashville regulations take effect

Download release

More than 30 million adults nationwide still smoke, and nearly 70% of smokers want to quit. According to a recent study in JAMA Open Network, quit attempts among adult smokers in the U.S. decreased during the pandemic, making it a critical time for smokers to have access to proven-effective quit smoking resources to help. The EX® Program from Truth Initiative®, the national public health organization inspiring lives free from smoking, vaping and nicotine, has helped thousands of smokers quit. By elevating the journey of one quitter, John Peet of Nashville, Tennessee, the organization aims to bring attention to the number one cause of preventable death and inspire others to also take the first step toward breaking nicotine addiction. John’s quitting journey comes as a new law is set to go into effect in Nashville this March prohibiting smoking and vaping in bars.

John, a Nashville bar owner who quit smoking with support from the EX Program, has smoked for more than 15 years. “After losing a family member to lung cancer and witnessing a friend’s current battle with cancer, I wanted to make some positive changes for my mental and physical health,” he said. His quit journey is chronicled in a series of vlogs which he hopes will help and inspire others like him to also quit smoking.

John Pete and Dog

Indoor smoking culture in bars coming to an end

As the owner of Jane's Hideaway, a restaurant, bar, and live music venue in East Nashville, John was intimately familiar with the pervasive smoking culture in the Southern bar scene.

“Working in the Nashville restaurant and bar industry means I'm constantly surrounded by smoking and tobacco use,” he said. “It’s really hard to avoid triggering cravings when many of the people around you are smoking.”

A new law set to go into effect in March 2023 will likely change that. Nashville recently passed an ordinance that prohibits smoking and vaping inside these businesses restricted to persons ages 21 and up, with the exception of tobacco stores, vape shops, cigar bars, hookah bars, and vape bars.

Though indoor smoking has been illegal in most Tennessee establishments since 2007, the law exempted some businesses restricted to ages 21 and up. Now, local governments have the power to regulate smoking and vaping in those venues.

EX Program is the only quit-tobacco program that combines the scientific leadership in digital tobacco solutions from Truth Initiative with a proven treatment model from Mayo Clinic. It is designed exclusively for employers and health plans and is available to more than 10 million individuals across the U.S. through strategic partnerships with organizations committed to helping their employees and members tackle tobacco addiction. EX Program qualifies as a reasonable alternative standard for employers and health plans that use a tobacco surcharge. Rigorous research funded by federal agencies for over a decade has shown that use of the EX Plan quadruples quit rates.

Evidence-based support that helps people quit for good

Research-backed and proven-effective resources are critical to help people successfully quit smoking or vaping. It can take multiple attempts to quit tobacco, and while smokers may attempt to quit without help, support is critical and can improve opportunities for success. Evidence-based treatments recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General include text message interventions, internet-based interventions, and short- and long-acting forms of quit medication.

John took full advantage of EX Program offerings, particularly the support provided by the EX Community, the longest running online community dedicated to helping people quit smoking, vaping, and smokeless tobacco. Each month, thousands of EX Community members share information and offer each other support through the platform’s communication channels, including private messages, blogs, message boards and group discussions. EX Community members even have access to live chat coaching sessions with tobacco treatment experts. “The first few days and weeks were so hard. Your body is trying to adjust to the lack of nicotine, and the withdrawal symptoms are tough,” John reports. “I was glad to have the support of others who are on the same journey as me.”

As demand for interactive tools and strategies to help individuals break free from tobacco addiction has grown, so has the program. “Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death, which is why we continue to expand and improve our field-leading programs to make them easily accessible for all adults looking to quit tobacco products for good,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, Chief of Innovations at Truth Initiative. “Our proven digital approach is helping thousands to overcome nicotine addiction every day. We know that helping people quit smoking saves lives, which is why we are committed to providing our evidence-based resources and tools to as many people as possible.”

In one section of the EX Community forum, users post goodbye letters to cigarettes, tobacco, and nicotine. Inspired by these letters, John submitted one of his own. “It’s been 15 years of you being a constant pesky backseat driver,” he wrote. “My mouth deserves better than you, my lungs, heart, and future relationships don’t need you around.”

Additional quit resources from Truth Initiative

Truth Initiative is committed to helping people overcome tobacco addiction and continues to be a leader in providing proven-effective cessation solutions. In response to the youth e-cigarette epidemic, EX offers resources to help parents of young e-cigarette users. As youth e-cigarette use persists at epidemic levels, Truth Initiative also offers a free and anonymous text message quit vaping program for youth and young adults called This is Quitting. Part of the national truth® youth education campaign, This is Quitting is now helping more than 500,000 young people on their journey to quit nicotine. Teens and young adults ages 13-24 can visit or text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 to enroll.

Learn more about EX Program at

Download release