(WVLT) - If you're heading out to eat tonight, you won't be asked the question, "smoking or non?"
The Tennessee Non Smokers Protection Act is now in effect and that means no more smoking in most restaurants.
Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone is following the story.
"For the most part, this section over here sat empty," said Kelly Ross, Aubrey's Manager.
Knoxville restaurants like Aubrey's will benefit from the smoking ban because most of its customers are families with small children.
"I mean that opens up ten tables over here, three tables over here, that are so closed to the bar, that most people don't want to sit so close to the bar," said Ross.
Customers like Barbara Chironna welcome the ban and say smoke ruined her dining experiences in the past.
"The smell, and it just took my appetite away, didn't like it at all and a few times I've left restaurants because of the smell," she said.
Studies show 26% of Tennesseans smoke.
That number may not sound high, but it's one of the highest state percentages in the nation.
There are a number of exceptions to the "Non Smokers Protection act," including venues that require a 21 and older crowd, private businesses that employ less than three people, tobacco retailers, nursing homes and private clubs.
Customers and businesses that break the law can be reported and fined.
A person can be fined $50 per offense, while businesses get a warning for the first offense, then get charged $100 on the second, and $500 on the third.
You can report a person or businesses breaking the new law by calling 1-800-293-8228, or click on the link below.
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