Knoxville restaurants plan for smoking ban

Knoxville restaurants plan for smoking ban

Managers at Sunspot doesn't anticipate any challenge with the change to go smoke free. Managers at Sunspot doesn't anticipate any challenge with the change to go smoke free.
"We think we'll benefit. Most of our customers have to be 21 and up already to come in after 10:00 p.m. so we'll continue that," Joe Smith says. "We think we'll benefit. Most of our customers have to be 21 and up already to come in after 10:00 p.m. so we'll continue that," Joe Smith says.

September 14, 2007

By MELISSA DiPANE
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- A statewide smoking ban is set to take effect in less than three weeks and Knoxville restaurants and bars are already making some changes.

Beginning on October 1, restaurants and bars can choose to only cater to patrons 21 and over, which means they can allow smoking.

Or the restaurant can serve patrons of all ages and go smoke free.

For two Knoxville businesses, it was an easy decision.

Customers at Sunspot, located at the UT Strip at 1909 Cumberland Avenue, already dine smoke free.

"Our clientele is mixed between those who want a smoke free environment and those who will want to smoke," says Gina Truitt, with Sunspot.

Managers at Sunspot doesn't anticipate any challenge with the change to go smoke free. In fact, they can expand their dining area by opening their bar to the lunch crowd.

Down the street at the Half Barrel Pub & Cafe, at 1829 Cumberland Avenue, owner Joe Smith has decided his establishment will allow smoking. That means everyone who enters has to be 21 or older.

"We think we'll benefit. Most of our customers have to be 21 and up already to come in after 10:00 p.m. so we'll continue that," Smith says.

Although the Half Barrel offers a full menu, Smith says the bar is what they're known for.

"We've tried to market our menu and sell ourselves as an eating establishment. But for whatever reason, people view us more as a drinking establishment," Smith says.

Whether the the smoking law will hurt or help business, it's unavoidable.

Businesses will be responsible for monitoring smoking in their establishments and making sure everyone who enters a smoking business is 21.

The Knox County Health Department will take complaints about any business that doesn't comply.

The Health Department will also hold seminars on how to make the transition and to answer any questions.

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