Business owners prepare for Tennessee Smoking Ban - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Paranjape

Business owners prepare for Tennessee Smoking Ban

Any time you walk into a restaurant, the first question you're asked is smoking or non-smoking. You won't be asked that question anymore starting Monday.

In a few days, the only smoke you'll see inside Cafe 61 in Downtown Memphis will be coming from the grill.

"Personally, I don't think it's going to affect me a whole lot," says Derk Meitzler.

Meitzler, Cafe 61 owner and chef, says he's fine with the new law that bans smoking inside public places like hotels, sports arenas, and restaurants.

Meitzler adds, "In the long run I think it's going to help because it'll bring out more people who don't want to deal with a lot of smoke hopefully it will increase my business because now those people will come out."

The Tennessee Smoking Ban, which goes into effect October 1st, states if a person knowingly smokes where prohibited is subject to a $50 fine.

The owner of the establishment could face up to $500 in fines.

Charles Lankford owns the Buccaneer, a restaurant in Midtown. "I think the ban is good because it gives people an opportunity to decide if they want to be in a place where there's smoke or not smoke," says Lankford.

Lankford is in favor of the new law, but is taking advantage of one exception in the ban. That is, if the business becomes 21 and older at all times, then smoking is allowed.

"It didn't take a lot of thought given that most of our clientele was already 21 and older," adds Lankford.

Most of the restaurants on Beale Street will be smoke-free. However, one restaurant manager who didn't want to go on camera, says he doesn't like the new law one bit.

He thinks it's really going to hurt business.

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