Smoking Ban Goes Into Effect Monday - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Smoking Ban Goes Into Effect Monday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A smoking ban goes into effect in Tennessee on Monday.

The new law mandates that all businesses must either go smoke free or switch to a "21 and older" only crowd. There are some exceptions.

At the Gerst Haus, a restaurant near LP Field, smoking will be allowed on a patio, which is separate from the restaurant.

The patio is one of several areas not covered by the state's new smoking ban.

"I couldn't really once again give you just a clear picture of just what to expect," said Calvin Armstrong, who manages the bar in the Gerst Haus.

Armstrong said he's heard all kinds of things about the new smoking ban.

"How do you enforce it?  That's another good question," he said.

Armstrong is not the only restaurant manager with questions about the ban.

Managers and owners attended a meeting Wednesday hosted by the Tennessee Restaurant Association.

"The vast majority of restaurants will probably become non-smoking as a result of this bill," said Dan Haskell of the Tennessee Restaurant Association.

Haskell, a restaurant lobbyist, predicts there will be very few exceptions. But there are some.

Any bar or restaurant that admits adults only over the age of 21 can allow smoking. Smoking is allowed on open-air patios, decks or areas enclosed by garage doors as long as the garage doors are open.

People can also smoke in areas enclosed by tents or awnings with sides or vents that have been removed or open.

"You're not supposed to be able to have smoke infiltrate into the restaurant," Haskell said.

That means restaurants have to have some type of ventilation blowing air away from the building.

The state health and labor departments will enforce the new law. Restaurants violating the smoking ban for the first time will get a warning.

Fines of $100 and $500 will be imposed on second and third offenses within the same year. Smokers who violate the ban could be fined $50.

Smokers such as Devoran Atwood said while it may seem a little confusing smoking bans seem to work in other states.

"Not quite sure what it means, but I think it means we've got to go outside and smoke," Atwood said.

It will be up to restaurants to enforce the smoking ban. If anyone lights up they'll be asked to put the cigarette out or leave.

Metro police will not be writing citations.

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