Neyland Stadium Now Smoke Free

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Knoxville (WVLT) - When the Vols steam up the field this season, there will be no smoking on Rocky Top or at least anywhere inside Neyland Stadium.

UT has banned smoking everywhere within the stadium's gates, but the school didn't have a choice on this one.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has the reason why.

It's because of the statewide smoking ban that went into effect this month. The law snuffs out smoking in all sports arenas, including indoor and outdoor areas. Effective when the Vols take the field September eighth. The Vols light up the field every season.

But this year, you can't.

"I feel like getting a T-shirt that says smoking area: stand back 25 feet," smoker Chuck Gray said.

As of the first home game in September, Neyland Stadium will snuff out all smoking. Smokers like Chuck Gray say that's drag.

"Why should smokers have to leave the building," Gray said.

Because of the statewide smoking law that went into effect July 1.
That puts out smoking in most businesses, restaurants, and sports arenas. Also, it's not just in the stadium's seats that you can't smoke, but everywhere inside Neyland, and this year the same goes out here on the ramps.

"Several years ago we banned smoking in the seating areas. Last year that was legislation passed that banned smoking in state buildings," said Tiffany Carpenter from UT public relations.

So you smoked em if you had em on the Gate 10 and Gate 21 ramps.

"I stopped going to UT games 10 years ago because they made me smoke outside on the ramp," Gray said.

But now nowhere below the giant T can be your ashtray, and smokers have to get their Vol fix without their nicotine fix for the entire game.

"The SEC prohibits all pass outs so we won't be able to let people to leave the stadium for a smoke then come back in," Carpenter said.

Non-smokers say that's a healthy touchdown.

"As a public place, I don't think we as students, and fans need to be subjected to their smoke," non-smoker Christine Magnuson said.

Garner will get fired up about orange and white from the only place he fires up his smokes.

"I just stay at home," Gray said.

But all fans agree the smokin' they want to see at Neyland is the Vols tackling the SEC.

At the start of the season in September, UT doesn't plan on citing the 50 dollar fine for lighting up. Instead, officials say they'll give verbal warnings, but once October first rolls around, and the laws are enforced, the fines could start flying.

As all this is happening, you could be shelling out more just to buy your smokes. The US senate is pushing a tax hike which would push the price of cigars to as much as ten bucks a stick and cigarettes could up sixty cents a pack. President Bush has says he'll veto that bill as it is now.

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