Local Politics

Bill Would Extinguish Indoor Smoking Statewide

Posted March 20, 2007
Updated March 21, 2007

— Dismissing North Carolina's heritage as a tobacco state, a House committee passed a far-reaching indoor smoking ban.

The Judiciary Committee passed the ban Tuesday by a 9-4 vote. The measure would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces in North Carolina, including bars and restaurants. The rules also would apply to private clubs, except those with nonprofit or tax-exempt status.

The measure would be complaint-driven -- local health departments would act on complaints from the public -- and violators would first receive warnings.

"This was a significant and important event to advance the public's health in North Carolina," said Dr. Leah Devlin, director of the state Division of Public Health.

But critics of the legislation, House Bill 259, pointed out that it faces an uphill battle on the House and Senate floors.

"What they really want is a complete prohibition of indoor smoking in North Carolina," said state Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake. "We all know smoking is nasty and dangerous. The question is whether, in a free society, you let people do some things that are nasty and dangerous."

Some opponents said passing the bill could set the stage for similar bans inside personal vehicles and homes.

"You want to smoke and you own the building. Is it really that bad for the public?" asked state Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson.

Despite opposition to previous anti-smoking legislation, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association doesn't plan to fight the smoking ban. Executive director Paul Stone said the group just wants to make sure bars and restaurants are treated the same.

"I think the vast majority of restaurants will maintain the same business because a majority are already smoke-free," Stone said.

If the bill makes it through the General Assembly, North Carolina would join 22 other states and Washington, D.C., in banning indoor smoking.


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  • VeryGoodPerson Apr 2, 2007

    2little2late - Nothing from the ALA can be used to vouch for anything, for the simple reason that the entity in referance has a clear history of doing bad things to good people for self-beneficial purposes. (Including, without limitation, Dishonesty.)

    The same goes for information from the Tobacco Industry. And for the same reason. They have also had a clear history of doing wrong to benefit themselfs.

    And another thing, anything that "claims" that Smoking Bans don't hurt business is using invalid or irrelevant numbers to make such a claim. (I have a link that explains that better except I can't find it anywhere...)

    Nonetheless, if A PLACE DECIDES to, sometimes it will increase sales. Then again, sometimes it won't. It's situational... (I have a link for that also, somewhere...)

  • VeryGoodPerson Apr 2, 2007

    Jayzzzz - Did you just cut and past that on every single thread? LOL You need to get something original...

    IF THIS SHOULD HAPPEN TO PASS, I want for everybody to do what the people of Greenville, SC did:


    Yes, they DID NOT just sit there and tolerate it. They challenged AND THEY WON!

    Now, I want to see more people all over the world doing so. And I want to see more Courts and Lawmakers doing what they did, and telling the American Liar Association and it's Big Pharma to put a sock in it!!!

    (Once again, I cannot express enough, my approval with the actions of Judge Few, and the SC Legislature in general.)

    Yes, I want to see that happen ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    Because YOU DO NOT have to take that kinda junk out of your Government. They are there FOR YOU! (Never ever the other way around!) When more people start doing that, we won't have so much Abuse Of Power going on!!!

  • Jayzzzz Mar 26, 2007

    Ok so I think we can come to some sort of compromise here, when someone starts to smoke I'll pull out a pile of steaming cow manure and set it on a table with a small fan pointed directly at the smoker and when they say man that cow manure stinks I'll say so does your cigarette!!!!!!! But you know I bet that steak or even that beer that someone is trying to enjoy would taste much better if they didn't have to inhale cigarette smoke with every bite that's coming from the smoking section on the other side of the divider that seperates the smoking from the non-smoking. And for the smokers that say ahh that's what smoking section are for well I challenge you to go to a steak house and in the bar section count all the smokers then for every smoker you see take a plate and put a pile of cow dung on it and set it in a section by itself and tell me that you cant smell it.

  • lrmerc5757 Mar 26, 2007

    I have smoke for 40 years. I have missed two days due to the flue in the last 15 years. What are you talking about people that smoke miss more work, are you crazy?

  • lrmerc5757 Mar 24, 2007

    What you do not understand. Whether you smoke or not, goverment control is just a right you have loss. Do you not think a buisness owner or the people that go to that business do not have enough brains to deside. sooner or later a bill will be pass that you do not agree with. All the facts are on the side of the political correct, after all more taxes can come from taxes of houses built on land that use to grow tobacoo. I am ask to go to war but not allow to smoke in my own country. I want to thank you, the bill will be passed, but you are wrong, I can eat at home, so I hope the non smokers enjoy the free enviroment I have fought for.

  • 2little2late Mar 22, 2007

    I'm not doubting the validity of those numbers. However, there is nothing to stop businesses from going smoke-free today if they think it will increase their sales.
    I totally agree...it's mind-boggling that they don't

  • lasutoo Mar 22, 2007

    I'm not doubting the validity of those numbers. However, there is nothing to stop businesses from going smoke-free today if they think it will increase their sales.

    To me, it's still about business owner's right to make the choice. I mean, really, if I wanted to open a place called The Smoking Section and I only employeed people who smoked or didn't mind smoke, and catered to a smoking crowd, is there a logical reason I'm missing why I shouldn't be allowed to do that?

  • 2little2late Mar 22, 2007

    You're right...i didn't quite read that one well enough in relation to your point..work keeps getting in the way..rats...anyway, here is (hopefully) more pertinent info more directly dealing with your question
    -Bans on indoor smoking have not had a negative effect on the economy. In Florida, the statewide smoke-free law, which took effect July 1, 2003, has not hurt sales or employment in the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries.17
    -In New York City, a study found that business receipts for restaurants and bars has increased 8.7 percent, employment has risen (2,800 seasonally adjusted jobs), and cotinine levels (a marker for smoke exposure) in non-smoking workers decreased by 85 percent since the smoking ban was put in place.18

  • lasutoo Mar 22, 2007

    Good morning as well!

    OK, what you're talking about is different. It's talking about hiring smokers, not allowing smoking in the workplace. This bill would have little or no effect on whether or not a business hires a smoker. I would imagine most smokers already work in a smoke-free environment and this bill would have no effect on their smoking habits...except for them to take it outdoors.

  • 2little2late Mar 22, 2007

    Info from AMerican Lung Association website

    "Employers that hire smokers bear indirect costs, including more employee absenteeism, productivity losses ($92 billion) and increased early retirement due to smoking-related illness.3
    Smoking attributable health care expenditures were $75.5 billion in 1998. During 1997-2001, these direct expenses plus $92 billion in productivity losses exceeded $167 billion annually.4"

    I agree that it's hard to believe or comprehend the numbers for most people, including me..but i'm also at a loss to know tthat employers wouldn't like some share of that 167 billion dollars...not sure how much would find it's way to the bottom line but out of 167 Billion,some would. The profit margin is so little in restaurants and bars that every little bit. helps.....maybe they just don't know (honestly)...and good morning to you too :-)