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Smoking ban clears air in N.C. restaurants

Posted April 23, 2010

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— An indoor smoking ban has resulted in an 89 percent improvement in air quality in North Carolina restaurants and bars in recent months, public health officials said Friday.

A state law that went into effect on Jan. 2 prohibits smoking at nearly all restaurants and bars. Cigar bars and private clubs are exempt from the law if they meet certain requirements.

“These results show that North Carolinians are already reaping the benefits of our smoke-free air law by breathing healthier air in restaurants and bars,” State Public Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel said in a statement. “Secondhand smoke is a very serious health threat. Exposing adults to secondhand smoke causes immediate adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and, over time, lung cancer.”

Air quality was measured using a machine that measures the number of particles in the air smaller than 2.5 micrograms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures these particles in outdoor air because they are known to cause breathing problems and contribute to premature deaths.

Burning tobacco releases significant amounts of these particles, officials said.

Officials collected air samples from 152 restaurants and bars in six counties from 2005 to 2007, and the results were compared with samples collected from 78 restaurants and bars in seven counties between January and March.

The restaurants and bars where the samples were collected weren't aware of the action, officials said.

Through April 11, health officials statewide had received only 18 complaints of violations of the indoor smoking ban, officials said.

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.

63 Comments

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  • bkerschner9 Apr 28, 2010

    The Smoking Ban is the best thing to ever happen to the State of Carolina. My family and I plan to begin taking vacations in North Carolina and spend our hard earned money in a State that respects non smokers and cares about their health. It is time for South Carolina to do the same!!

  • Realthoughts Apr 23, 2010

    "But another little piece of our freedoms taken away. It should have been left up to the free market and individual owners, not the government."

    Butler none of your freedom has been taken. You can smoke all you want. You just can't smoke in areas where it affects other people anymore.

  • Realthoughts Apr 23, 2010

    "Stil complaining about smokes, I see. Lets do the same with liquor or whiskey that have caused so many lives on our highways."

    Wildcat your argument for ban on alcohol has not merit. There are already laws for that, it's called a DWI.

    Also you drinking alcohol in a bar or restaurant does not affect me what-so-ever! So drink up and find yourself a safe way home, just as I do.

  • butler240 Apr 23, 2010

    Improved Air Quality

    But another little piece of our freedoms taken away. It should have been left up to the free market and individual owners, not the government.

    What will be next?

  • ranquick Apr 23, 2010

    The Ban has done well, just like in all the other States who have done the same thing and in most cases Business has improved. As a former smoker I NEVER smoked in Restaurants because I respected others as they ate. The government would not have to get involved if some people just respected others.

  • Heather Apr 23, 2010

    Not all smokers disagree with the ban. I'm a smoker and was thrilled to see the ban. I don't smoke inside my home, my car, or even in public - ok, I guess I'm a closet smoker since I hide when I do it. I've seen the business at some local restaurants increase dramatically since the ban and I applaud those who aided in its passing. I don't subject my children to my smoke and wouldn't dream of subjecting others. To do so is just selfish.

  • Deacons Apr 23, 2010

    It sure is nice to go into a restaurant and not be around that mess.

  • wildcat Apr 23, 2010

    my neighbors have burned six times.

    Beth

    You are jealous and a complainer. So stop right now and become more friendly with your neighbor.

  • wildcat Apr 23, 2010

    Stil complaining about smokes, I see. Lets do the same with liquor or whiskey that have caused so many lives on our highways.

  • All child molesters should die Apr 23, 2010

    If only now they would put into law a burning ban, on leaves, in neighborhoods in the County. Already this month, my neighbors have burned six times.

    Beth

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