Local Politics

State Smoking Ban Fails to Light Up Lawmakers

Posted March 27, 2007

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— A smoking ban is in danger of being snuffed out by state lawmakers a week after it passed a key committee vote.

House Bill 259, which would ban smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars, gained momentum last Tueasday when the House Judiciary Committee approved it by a 9-4 vote.

Smoking opponents called the bill historic, noting North Carolina's heritage as a tobacco state.

Debate on the House floor has been postponed to give House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman time to round up enough votes to keep the smoking ban alive.

"We want to be open-minded and work with everybody, but we don't want to water down the bill so much it doesn't mean anything," said Holliman, D-Gaston. "I think we'll get there. It's just a matter of we've got to get a lot of people more comfortable with the bill."

Tobacco interests want to exempt stand-alone bars from the ban, and some lawmakers said every property owner should have the right to make the choice whether to allow smoking.

Holliman admitted that to bet the bill passed, he might have to compromise and give bars the exemption they seek.

Further compromise might be needed to get the bill through the Senate as well, lawmakers said.

Twenty-two other states and Washington, D.C., already have banned indoor smoking.

120 Comments

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  • NCTeacher Mar 29, 2007

    It is so funny to me how these things turn into an all out brawl. What are you getting so worked up about? It's a computer screen. If it upsets you that much, take a chill pill and hit the power button.

    As for smoking- it should definitely be up to the owners. If they want to allow it smoking, great. Post a sign on the front door or even out by the road that you allow smoking. It would suck for it to be banned but I wouldn't let it keep me from eating out or going out. I would just wait until I got home to smoke.

  • lrmerc5757 Mar 29, 2007

    The power of the people is to vote people out of office who try to take away your rights. Smoke if you have to or want to, do not smoke to hurt other people. Most of us try to not invade someone else space. Why do the people we elect think that they have a right to decide. Lets all of us vote for someone who has enough common sense to help with more important issues of this state. How about helping me to keep a job so I can pay taxes that pay their salary. Remenber they work for us, they pass bills that most people never heard of until it has passed. It is time for a change. They may get in office, but it does not mean they have to stay. Let them earn their pay. If they do not support all the people then they do not support none.

  • regularguy_nc-at-yahoo.com Mar 28, 2007

    Let's make everybody do what everybody else wants them to do...

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Mar 28, 2007

    I want to know what the hell casualobserver feels is offensive about: "If this bill becomes law, it will be just a matter of time before Muslims want to dictate that pork be banned from a restaurant's menu, and Buddhists will demand that beef not be served in restaurants."
    He is right. Muslims in Germany and even Missouri are demanding separate entries into schools and buildings so they don't have to enter the same area a Jew or Christian does...yeah the comment about pork and beef are offensive...sounds right on to me. I wouldn't put it past them!

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Mar 28, 2007

    ronron...it is a shame you rather keep your children away from your aging and dying parents b/c of the throne you sit on. That is a real great idea for your children. They may not grow up to smoke but they'll be wonderful a**holes.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Mar 28, 2007

    Ronron...nice to see you have resolved to yelling your useless and unimpressive ideals. You need a clue! You are the one with the serious problem We do not live in a dictatorship, which seems to be what you want. Despite the many arguments against forcing the ban, none of us against it have attacked nonsmoking people as a whole, unlike you who continue to state smokers (a majority or all...depending on which rant of yours you read) are rude and disrespectful. What does that make you!? How many centuries have people smoked around nonsmokers, smoked while pregnant (Jackie Kennedy for example), smoked in restaurants or God forbid a baseball field, and the population has not died off from second hand smoke. Maybe you should start smoking to live longer like many many smokers do. Do we not think lung cancer, asthma, etc. comes from other things? It's not smokers who are killing you. They've been on Earth forever.

  • SOCLOSE Mar 28, 2007

    One thing that I've stated about this before is the fact that cigarettes and bars go hand in hand. Their businesses will surely flop if this becomes law. No offense non-smokers. I do smoke, and I don't smoke inside of restaurants or other buildings, except for bars and clubs. Lots of people like myself only smoke when they've been drinking.

  • ghwhitaker1_old Mar 28, 2007

    ronrongail: I'm glad you have read, and obviously believe every word of "a recent study". Let me tell you about a "study" I have been involved in for 40 years: I have smoked for 40 years, and have never spent 1 minute in a doctor's office for a smoking related problem. You can't believe everything you read. People and organizations have agendas, and they pay for studies, many of which are slanted to suit the agenda of the ones paying for the study. I believe very little of what our government says because I do not trust our government. I haven't seen a true "statesman" on the state or federal level in a very, very long time. You would be wise to employ a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with studies and the government.

  • mvnull Mar 28, 2007

    Let restaurants and other businesses set their own rules. However, require all such businesses to post standardized signs about their smoking and "containment" policies.

    I don't know where y'all are going, but I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant where there were noisy kids or smelly people. I tend to avoid both ends of the spectrum (no places with playgrounds or where you have to wear a tie). I'm also not shy about walking out of a place if the ventilation is poor -- I've done it twice this year.

  • innocent bystander Mar 28, 2007

    The ban on smoking is because it poses a health risk to others, not because it's annoying. If there were NO health issues associated with secondhand smoke then I'd be right with you in demanding that it should NOT be banned, no matter how annoying others may find it.

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