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A measure that outlawed smoking by people under the age of 18 was greeted with extreme skepticism when it was passed last year by the Tennessee legislature, but today, school officials in Memphis report that it has been an unexpected success.

The students' smoking areas of yesteryear are gone, and although they may be lighting up as soon as they leave school property, they are not doing so in school. "Apparently, it is working wonderfully," said a spokesman for the Memphis City Schools.

Principals, many of whom had regarded the ban as ridiculous and unenforceable, now support it and say that they do enforce it. The law allows officials to take the miscreants to court, which apparently has not happened with any frequency.

But the threat alone seems to have had a "chilling effect," officials say. "If there's been any problem, I've not heard of it," the spokesman said.

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