New Smoking Law Goes Into Effect Monday

By: Mike McCarthy Email
By: Mike McCarthy Email

Knoxville (WVLT) - You don't have much more time to smoke them if you've got them in most Tennessee Restaurants.

The statewide smoking ban goes into effect on Monday, October 1.

The law snuffs out smoking in all indoor public places.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy shows us how businesses are getting ready for what smokers call a real drag.

"It's like a witch hunt," says Saroya Kinyon, a smoker.

She has been snuffed out before.

"I actually moved to Tennessee from Florida because Florida's a non-smoking state," she says.

But come Monday, so will Tennessee.

From then on, the state's smoking ban won't let Saroya Kinyon or anyone else light up in any indoor public place.

"I understand the pros and cons. I've got kids. I don't want them to smoke, but I think it's a right of choice," says Kinyon.

A choice Calhoun's already made for her.

The only smoke you'll find inside's from the grill.

The restaurant moved all it's ashtrays outside a week early.

"We wanted to get a week jump on it, because we're really interested to get started and see how'd it be," says Steve Fletcher, manager at Calhoun's.

And business hasn't dragged.

"Not a bit. I don't believe it will. In fact, I think if anything business will increase," he says.

Because customers that come cigarette-in-hand can still get their barbecue fix and nicotine fix on the patio.

Besides the cleaner air, Calhoun's says going smoke free has meant cleaner glassware.

"it was constant, cleaning and polishing, which we'll still do, just not quite as drastic," Fletcher says.

They're also making changes at Ray's Entertainment Sports Grill.

"Our non-smoking section is very separate from our smoking section," says Lindsay Tisdale, Marketing Director for Ray's.

And the restaurant will keep both.

The seats are separated by glass and the air is filtered by seven smoker eaters.

"I know it wasn't cheap, but it's worth it," Tisdale says.

But smoking section means everyone at the tables must be at least 21 years old.

"Which is unfortunate," says Tisdale.

Because that also means underage employees will be put out of jobs.

"Which we really hate. Luckily we don't have that many," says Tisdale.

Not all smokers dread the ban.

"You're breathing something into your lungs. You should be the only person breathing it," says Kevin Dooney, a smoker.

And smokers, like Kinyon, have no other choice.

Ray's says it's working with under-age employees to find them new jobs.

If you think a business isn't following the law, you can call the Health Department at 1-800-293-8228.

Or you can file a complaint by clicking on the link below.


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