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Restaurants, bars mostly complying with smoking ban

Posted January 8, 2010
Updated April 1, 2010

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— Local health departments in central North Carolina say they have received few complaints about violations of a smoking ban for restaurants, bars and other workplaces that took effect last Saturday.

Cumberland County received 12 complaints, Durham County had one complaint, and Orange and Johnston counties had none. Wake County hasn't received many complaints, health department spokesman Will Glenn said.

"The small number of complaints in the first report confirms our predictions that Cumberland County businesses are, for the most part, fully complying with the law," Cumberland County Health Director Buck Wilson said in a statement.

He said that three complaints involved a lack of no-smoking signs, and nine involved businesses allowing smoking to continue.

The ban relies on the public to report violations to their local health department, online at SmokeFree.NC.gov Web site or by calling the N.C. CARE-LINE toll-free at 800-662-7030.

The law gives exemptions to nonprofit private clubs that serve food or drink such as country clubs and those run by fraternal organizations, such as Kiwanis and the Elks. Hotels and inns can set aside 20 percent of their rooms for smokers.

Cumberland and Durham issued warning letters to businesses that received complaints, as well as informational material about the law.

"Some establishments are confused about the definition of a private club. They don't realize the new law applies to them," Wilson said. "We have education materials to share and even no-smoking signs and coasters."

The law stipulates that after receiving two warning letters, businesses violating the no-smoking law can be fined up to $200 per day. Individuals can be fined $50 per violation.

37 Comments

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  • your screen name Jan 11, 2010

    The inconvenience of only smoking outside or in your car or house or anywhere beside an enclosed facility where there is shared air is very small compared to nonsmokers inhaling the smoke from another.

  • shortcake53 Jan 8, 2010

    Gee Truthbeknown, if your that sensitive to everyday objects or what may be floating in the air, you should either seek serious medical help or just stay home where you can control every breath you take. Im allergic to a few things too, i work around it without making others around me suffer for it.

  • jockeyshiftspringer Jan 8, 2010

    TruthBKnown Returns said: "I'm not forced to engage in any of these activities, even when you do them right next to me. But light up a cigarette next to me and I'm suddenly a smoker."

    Babble as much as you do next to me and suddenly I'm annoyed.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 8, 2010

    "Drunk drivers kill more people per year than what 20 years of second-hand smoke would kill. Talk about double-standards..............."

    They won't ban drinking, the state makes too much money off of taxes on beer and alcohol.

    It's a case of follow the money.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 8, 2010

    "Drunk drivers kill more people per year than what 20 years of second-hand smoke would kill. Talk about double-standards...............

    No comments yet on this part of my post? Why not?"

    Probably because it's off topic. This is about smoking. Drinking and driving is bad. Illegal possession of firearms is bad. Kidnapping and rape are bad. They're all illegal activities.

    There is no double-standard. Drinking and driving (like smoking in restaurants) is illegal. If you're so concerned about drinking and driving, there are things we could do to fix that, too. Like mandatory jail time, even for first offenders. I'd support that.

    But what does this have to do with smoking again?

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 8, 2010

    "I am totally disgusted at the turning-into-a-dictatorship government that we currently have in office. Every new law they pass is that much more of our freedom stolen away from us. Second-hand smoke was controlled by seperate seating areas with ventalation before, and that was sufficient. But NOOOO...not good enough for the democrats. If you all want to do some good for your community, then ban alcohol. Drunk drivers kill more people per year than what 20 years of second-hand smoke would kill. Talk about double-standards..............."

    Please, stop draping the American flag around like some kind of super hero cape. Restaurants are LICENSED to do business. They are REGULATED all sorts of ways. No one is telling you not to smoke. Smoke all you want. Just do it in your own airspace on your own time.

    Restaurants will benefit from this. There are more non-smokers than smokers. I've already happily eaten at restaurants I used to avoid because they allowed smoking.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 8, 2010

    "I have lived with a smoker all my life, but never took up smoking myself. I was never bothered by others smoking, and really dont understand what all the fuss is about."

    shortcake53, I'm glad you can tolerate it. Some are allergic to it. Some asthmatics have BIG trouble breathing around it. Some can't tolerate it like you. And the side benefit is that some of us don't have to smell like a smokestack the rest of the day after eating lunch in an establishment where the smoking section is right next to the non-smoking section, and the air is shared.

    You have to understand that there are other perspectives to this. I would not be able to date or marry a girl that smoked. I am that intolerant of cigarette smoke. If I'm around it for just a short period, my eyes are watering, I'm coughing and choking. I've wondered if I have some level of allergy to cigarettes.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 8, 2010

    "I'm always amused by the ones who request 1st available, but when seated in the smoking section complain about the smoke."

    What smoking section??? There ain't any smoking sections any more!!!

    HEE HEE!!!

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 8, 2010

    "The camel has got his nose under the edge of the tent; what's next to be banned in the name of public health?"

    No other bans needed. Nothing compares to cigarette smoke. Other harmful activities can be enjoyed in public without forcing it on others around you that want no part of it.

    Eat fatty meat eight next to me at the lunch counter.

    Drink a liquor drink right next to me at a bar.

    Scratch off your lottery tickets right next to me at a convenience store.

    I'm not forced to engage in any of these activities, even when you do them right next to me. But light up a cigarette next to me and I'm suddenly a smoker.

    That's what this is about, people. This ain't about protecting smokers from themselves. It's about protecting non-smokers from smokers.

  • Made In USA Jan 8, 2010

    Drunk drivers kill more people per year than what 20 years of second-hand smoke would kill. Talk about double-standards...............

    No comments yet on this part of my post? Why not?

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