Local News

Restaurants prepare alternatives for smoking patrons

Posted December 23, 2009

— A statewide ban on smoking in most restaurants and bars takes effect on Jan. 2, and businesses are trying to make arrangements to take care of longtime customers who smoke.

Chris's Steakhouse in Fayetteville, for example, is building a patio out front for smokers to replace the wood-paneled room inside where they now go to light up.

Group of Wake County Health Leaders Support Smoking Ban Smokers have to take it outside

Manager Greg Kalevas said the restaurant can't afford to lose its smoking customers, so it had to pay a hefty price to accommodate them.

"A lot of people got upset – a lot of customers – because they can't be able to smoke," Kalevas said. “I’m trying to support my customers."

Smokers spend about 30 percent more on drinks than non-smokers, he said, noting, "Smoking and drinking go hand in hand."

At the Highlander Pub and Cafe, employees said the ban could actually breathe in more business from non-smokers.

"(They said) they would be coming in after the ban because there would not be smoking here," bartender Terry Hartline said, noting people will be directed to a back parking lot to smoke.

Businesses that break the no-smoking law can be fined up to $200 per day, and smokers themselves could get burned with a $50 fine if they keep puffing after they're told to stop.

Cumberland County Health Director Buck Wilson said enforcing the law will be driven by complaints from the public.

"It's important that the public let us know if they are not eating in a smoke-free environment. They should call us, and we'll look into it," Wilson said.

To file a complaint, people can call the local health department, complete an online form at the SmokeFree.NC.gov Web site or call the N.C. CARE-LINE toll-free at 800-662-7030.

Still, Wilson said, local inspectors will give a restaurant at least two written warnings before imposing a fine.

Private clubs and cigar bars are exempt from the smoking restrictions.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ncguy Dec 25, 2009

    Well honey,
    I'll have to go to the Gentlenman's club to watch the game tonight :) My sports bar won't let me smoke anymore, see the Gentleman's club is a private club so they decide who smokes- kinda like "freedom". I promise I won't spend too much - wink!

  • fkhaywood Dec 25, 2009

    I am a former smoker. I still like to eat in the smoker section. Why? 1) better service from the wait staff, 2) you have to wait less time for a table, 3) fewer unruly * unrestrained kids running around. In essence, a more enjoyable dining expereience.

  • superman Dec 25, 2009

    smalldogsrule-- my cigaretee smoke is nothing compared to that cheap dollar store perfume that fills the room. Before you critize others I suggest you take a deep breath and smell yourself. And as for the rest of you, you should realize that your perfume can and is offensive to others even in the workplace.

  • gborio Dec 24, 2009

    If the public was honestly and truthfully informed about this tiny band of fanatics who swarm every article on smoking, trying to minimize the ravages of tobacco use and the need for regulation, its eyes would be opened, and it would be enraged. Because every smoking story gets the same denials from online spammers. Every single one.

    They try to give the impression that there is some sort of "debate" on SHS--much the way newspaper science articles in the past used to end with, "But the Tobacco Institute said the study is flawed." Why? As one tobacco exec put it, "Doubt is our product."

    Whether to promote their ventilation company, their daddy's farm or convenience store, to justify their own sad addiction, or to earn their viral marketing pay, they seek to drown message boards with their PR.

    Many message boards are getting hip and 86ing their spam; WRAL is still getting trolled.

  • smalldogsrule Dec 24, 2009

    Hooray. it's not about health to me. I can't stand the STINK!

    I'll tell anyone to their face, even loved ones. If yousmoke, YOU STINK. I'd sooner eat in a sewage treatment plant.

  • snowbird Dec 24, 2009

    An alternative to smoking bans

    If the public was honestly and truthfully informed about the effects of second-hand smoke, there would be fewer no-smoking laws in this country.
    A little smoke from a handful of crushed leaves and some paper that is mixed with the air of a decently ventilated venue is going to harm or kill you?

    There has never been a single study showing that exposure to the low levels of smoke found in bars and restaurants with decent modern ventilation and filtration systems kills or harms anyone.

    As to the annoyance of smoking, a compromise between smokers and non-smokers can be reached, through setting a quality standard and the use of modern ventilation technology.

    Air ventilation can easily create a comfortable environment that removes not just passive smoke, but also and especially the potentially serious contaminants that are independent from smoking.

    Thomas Laprade


  • BULLDOZER Dec 23, 2009

    Finally, I can go have drink with my wife at some local bars without coming home fouled with smoke.

  • inform Dec 23, 2009

    My experience has been most people don't smoke in public, it's a minority who do, yet they foul the air for everyone. BTW, "private club" is defined as a non-profit organization run by it's members, like a country club. It's not the local after-hours bar. And I guarantee I'll be the first to complain if someone's smoking indoors. Now, if we can only get a littering law passed, for those smokers tossing lit cigarettes out of moving vehicles. If tobacco companies didn't sell deadly products long after they knew better, a lot more people would still be alive today, including my Dad, (b. May 22, 1937, d. Nov 23, 2003), notwithstanding all of the fortunes made in this state from tobacco.

  • jellygirl Dec 23, 2009

    Wahoo! Can't wait until the law takes effect. We can finally go back to our neighborhood Applebees.

  • hank5049 Dec 23, 2009

    best law ever to past. it will be nice to eat out in a smoke free environment. different sections was not the answer. i still ate smoke in the non smoking section.