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A new state law means nervous Big Orange fans won’t be able to go grab a quick smoke when the Vols find themselves in a tight spot this fall.
Neyland Stadium is now smoke-free, to comply with the “Non-Smoker Protection Act” passed by the state Legislature this year.
That means no cigarettes can be fired up within the gates of the 102,038-plus-seat stadium.
Smoking had been allowed in certain areas in past years.
The new state law applies to sports arenas’ indoor and outdoor areas.
“While I know non-smokers will see this as good news, I also know that this has a negative impact on our fans who smoke,” UT Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton said in a press release. “Over the past month we have spent a lot of time analyzing our venue and its constraints to make sure we are abiding by the new law to the best of our ability.”
That means when the Vols hold their home opener Sept. 8 against Southern Mississippi, they’ll be the fifth SEC school that doesn’t let anybody fire up a cig at the game.
UT’s smoking policy has evolved.
To comply with another state law banning smoking in state buildings, UT limited smoking to ramp areas and the Gate 21 plaza. Smoking already had been off limits in the seats.
“We did not receive many complaints about the restrictions last year,” Jeff Maples, senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration, said in a press release.
Neyland Stadium is the country’s third-largest college football stadium.
More details as they develop online and in Wednesday’s News Sentinel.