Smoking ban costing some workers their jobs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Smoking ban costing some workers their jobs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee's new smoking law has forced some businesses to release employees who are under 21 years old and some businesses want to change the law to protect their underage workers.

Caitlin Grant, 20, has mixed drinks at a Chattanooga bar for several months, but now she's not old enough to enter the Electric Cowboy as a customer.

She and a half-dozen other employees at the bar can't keep their jobs since a no-smoking ban inside workplaces began Monday.

The Electric Cowboy continues to allow people to smoke inside by prohibiting anyone who is not at least 21 from entering, an exemption to the smoking ban.

"It's totally unfair and contrary to what we were told just a week ago," Grant said Friday after learning she had lost her job.

"I'm old enough to smoke, to fight for my country and to serve alcohol. But they say I can't work just because somebody else smokes in the same building. How am I supposed to support myself and my child?"

State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, a sponsor of the anti-smoking law signed by the governor in June, said the Tennessee Department of Health made the decision to ban workers younger than 21 from working in smoking environments.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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