Time Running Out For Smokers

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Time is running out for smokers to light up in restaurants and bars across Tennessee.

The new statewide smoking ban for businesses goes into affect on Sunday.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford spoke with some restaurant owners and smokers to see what changes they will have to make.

"You have to anticipate changes and obviously Tennessee's going to have a change right away," said Jimmy Buckner, a partner at West Knoxville's Kingston Alley Grill and Ale House.

Starting tomorrow, smoking will be banned in most businesses, including restaurants and sports bars.

"It will affect business, of course, because you've got half people don't smoke, half people smoke," said Shane Alameldin.

Shane Alameldin, a regular smoker, is lighting up for the last time in Kingston Alley today.

"I kind of agree with it and I kind of don't," said Alameldin. "It's going to affect us that want to smoke a cigarette. We're going to have to go outside instead of sitting here enjoying our drinks."

That's why Kingston Alley is building an extended outdoor patio that is set to open Wednesday.

"It'll affect the industry at large and as you can see behind me," Buckner said. "We have an outside deck, so we've been anticipating for our customers so they can have an option."

But at Beef O'Brady's in Turkey Creek, they won't have to make any changes because they've always been smoke-free.

"I think it's great," said Mike Peacock who owns Beef O'Brady's. "I think it's going to put everybody on a level playing field."

Peacock thinks the cigarette ban is a big step for Tennessee in a healthy direction...

"When you smoke, you don't realize smoking is offensive to other people," Peacock said. "A lot of people don't smoke today and they don't want to be around it."

But many smokers like Alameldin say it's not fair and some businesses could end up hurting from the ban.

"It's going to make us not want to come out," Alameldin said. "They'll end up going to a house or apartment to enjoy their drink and smoke at the same time."

Peacock disagrees completely.

"I think as soon as people get used to the idea that you can't smoke, then you know, you still got to eat," Peacock said.

The new law does not apply to bars or restaurants that prohibit people under 21 at all times, or to businesses employing less than three workers.

If you choose to smoke inside after October 1st, you could end up paying a $500 fine.

If you would like to read the text of the new smoking ban you can visit the Website below and search for SB1325.


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