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Local health departments to enforce smoking ban

Posted May 19, 2009
Updated May 20, 2009

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Tuesday signed an indoor smoking law. It bans smoking in nearly all restaurants and bars. Private clubs and cigar bars are exempted from the no-smoking restrictions.

"This is really a historic day for this great state that was built initially on the backbone of tobacco,” Perdue said.

Campaign will educate bars, restaurants about smoking law Campaign will get word out on smoking law

Local health departments will be in charge of enforcing the law, which takes effect next January. It allows fines of up to $50 for people who smoke after being asked to stop, and up to $200 for managers who've been twice warned to enforce the rules.

"I'm not so shocked. I kind of figured it was coming eventually,” smoker Toni Gibson said.

State health officials plan to launch a campaign to educate bars and restaurants about the new rules.

Alan Mark, manager of the Hi5 American Restaurant & Sports Bar, 510 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, will be among those business owners who have to adhere to the upcoming changes. He said the ban will likely inconvenience some of his customers.

“If they have that craving for a cigarette, and it's the fourth quarter of a tight game, they are probably going to wait for the cigarette,” Mark said.

However, Mark said he doubts the smoking ban will snuff out any of his business.

“I'm still offering awesome drinks and I'm still offering a great environment to watch sports. I don't think the state is going to pass a law banning that anytime soon,” he said.

An Elon University poll in March found about two-thirds of North Carolinians backed a ban on indoor public smoking. Eight in 10 said they consider secondhand smoke a threat to their health.

The number of North Carolina residents smoking has slid in recent years to match the national average of about 21 percent in 2007, the last year for which comparable data is available. By comparison, nearly 29 percent of Kentucky residents smoked.

Restaurants will have to post no smoking signs and remove ashtrays. If anyone does light up, it will be up to the bar and restaurant owner to ask the customer to put the cigar or cigarette out.

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  • dugmeister May 20, 2009

    hey rocket, if you don't like non smoking establishments, don't go to a place that doesn't allow smoking.

  • dugmeister May 20, 2009

    bnorris - YOUR 'liberties' were not take away - MINE were restored.

  • kikinc May 20, 2009

    Why all the whining from the smokers? I'm a smoker, and not being able to smoke isn't going to to keep me from going to the bar. It's not going to make me blow smoke in people's faces b/c I can't smoke inside. That's the most arrogant, ignorant thing I've heard today. The majority of people are non-smokers. I, as a smoker, am a minority. I'll deal with it. I'm not going to lose sleep. This has nothing to do with rights taken away. Pretty soon, the whole country will be non-smoking for the most part.

  • jones27530 May 20, 2009

    Smokers your days are numbered

  • micah May 20, 2009

    I think it is poor reporting to not mention the definition of "private club" as defined by this law:

    “ “Private club”. – A country club or an organization that maintains selective members, is operated by the membership, does not provide food or lodging for pay to anyone who is not a member or a member’s guest, and is either incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in accordance with Chapter 55A of the General Statutes or is exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code as defined in G.S. 105‑130.2(1). For the purposes of this Article, private club includes country club.“

    Nearly every article I read about this says something to the effect of "only private clubs and cigar bars are exempt." Under this definition, a private club is only a country club or a non-profit member-owned, like an elks lodge.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx May 20, 2009

    "How many restaurant employees will end up being assaulted every time they tell another smokey to douse the cig"

    And how many smokers will wind up in jail for assault?

    "if you don't like smoke, don't go to a place that allows smoking." I don't smoke and therefore have always avoided places where there would be heavy smoking. Now I'm pleased to realize that I will be able to go places to listen to music and dance without being asphyxiated. I wouldn't have voted for this ban, but now that it is in place anyway, I'm kinda happy about it.

  • wrx44 May 20, 2009

    Where is any proof that someone working in a bar or someone who frequented a bar had their health damaged by second hand smoke.

    That is a load of garbage....it takes YEARS and YEARS for second hand smoke to cause health issues...if any at all. That kind of exposure just does not occur.

    Not to mention the very obvious fact that all the legislators ignore is that people CHOSE to work or patronize bars that allow smoking.

    I spent years growing up in a house with two smoking parents (don't smoke now)....and my health is great....Now who working at or patronizing a bar gets anywhere near that exposure.

    They don't. It's a complete red herring with no medical proof of anyone getting dying because of working or patronizing a bar where people smoke. Yet we need to ban it completely...

    Political Correctness out of control.

  • ncguy May 20, 2009

    Looks like I will be watching sports at the gentlemens club from now on.

    Oh the wifes gonna love my angle on that!

    Honey, its the only place you can smoke now and watch the ball game.

  • rocket May 20, 2009

    When you boil this down to the most basic argument, you have 2 types of people.

    1. Those who think everyone should have a CHOICE.

    2. Those who want the government to step in and play big brother.

    Put all the side arguments/hypothetical situations you want around it but you are either in support of one or the other. Which side are you on?

  • rocket May 20, 2009

    "Personally I'm glad the law was passed, because I recently graduated from bartending school, but being asthmatic, I was dreading the thought of probably having to breathe smoke."

    Why would you go to bartending school if you knew there was a good chance you'd have a problem working in a bar? Just curious.

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