State News

N.C. House backs limits on smoking in public

Posted April 1, 2009
Updated April 2, 2009

— A proposed law that would have banned smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, was watered down and tentatively approved in the House on Wednesday.

N.C. nears vote on smoking ban bill N.C. nears vote on smoking ban bill

"It is primarily a bill about the health of North Carolinians,” said House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, the bill's primary proponent and a lung cancer survivor.

Lawmakers voted 75-42 on Wednesday after an amendment was added that bars smoking in businesses that employ or serve anyone under age 18, but not other businesses. Smoking-friendly bars and restaurants would have to post that fact at every entrance.

Advocates said the legislation helps to eliminate the dangers of secondhand smoking.

"I am persuaded on the health issue, but I am even far more persuaded on the pure economics of the decision we have to make,” said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

Opponents said the proposed law takes away a business owner's choice.

"That is his choice, (and) it's his property, it's his liberty, it's his health and it's his decision. It is not our decision,” said Rep. Johnathan Rhyne, R-Lincoln.

Other opponents said if you ban smoking, you should also ban fast food because that can cause obesity.

“This is hypocrisy. What you are doing is hypocrisy,” said Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance.

For decades, the state's politicians protected both cigarette makers and the thousands of tobacco growers whose crop was worth $686 million to North Carolina farmers in 2008 – nearly half the value of the entire U.S. output and 80 percent more than the next largest producer.

But times are changing. An Elon University poll last month found about two-thirds of North Carolinians backed a ban on public smoking indoors, and eight in 10 said they consider secondhand smoke a threat to their health.

A final House vote is scheduled on Thursday. If approved, the bill would move to the Senate.

Should smoking be prohibited in restaurants, bars, public places and indoor work sites?

State lawmakers could vote as soon as Wednesday to prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars, public places and indoor work sites. A recent poll says most North Carolina residents support state or local restrictions on indoor smoking. Do you think smoking should be outlawed in these places?
recent poll says most North Carolina residents support state or local restrictions on indoor smoking. Do you think smoking should be outlawed in these places?" /> Yes. The health dangers from secondhand smoke can't be ignored.
No. What about private property rights?
I don't know. I don't have enough information on the topic.

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179 Comments

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  • bnice1984 Apr 2, 2009

    woodrowboyd2: darn right. and we need to oust this trick

  • SalemWWX Apr 2, 2009

    ""I just can't wait to hear the arguements for the 'mileage tax' that will be coming soon. Since it is in the public's 'best' interest, I guess a majority of the public will be in favor of that as well. :-(""

    Yep...the same folks who don't care about this one because it doesn't affect them will be upset because that one does, and a couple of the same leftists will be defending it saying that it's for the greater good, and it will be the same old song....Unfortunately this song only ends one way....

  • ncguy Apr 2, 2009

    Yes they call it for Childrens health benefit.
    I heard that before it was called "education" lottery. Yet we seem to have huge education deficit??

    Bev will never understand about actually balancing a budget- it's called do more with less! Which your family and mine are doing right now.

  • Nancy Apr 2, 2009

    "I just can't wait to hear the arguements for the 'mileage tax' that will be coming soon. Since it is in the public's 'best' interest, I guess a majority of the public will be in favor of that as well. :-("

    So many states already writing bills to approve such a tax, Bev won't be far behind I'm sure. When cigarette taxes don't bring the revenue she expects, she'll find another tax to impose.

    Everyone will pay, one way or another.

  • icdumbpeople Apr 2, 2009

    I dont get taxed now on anything I buy online outside on NC. Is that going to change to? I know they had it on the tax forms this year, but..... I pay enough taxes now and I didnt see the need to pay more... not by choice.

  • Deman Apr 2, 2009

    "Wrong wrong wrong - there are safe levels of all three, and in some case proven health benefits when consumed in moderation. There is NO safe limit of cigarette smoke, and no health benefit at all." - yellow_hat

    Oh...so what is the "safe" limit on the amount of alcohol I can purchase? A person can usually get drunk before they are cut off at the bar. And then they can choose to drive home. Is that one of the 'proven' health benefits to drinking?

    What is the "safe" limit on the amount of fast food I can order? I've never seen a fast food place refuse to serve a fat person.

    What is the "safe" limit on the amount of sweets/sugar I can consume? I have yet to see the candy bar police at the checkout line.

  • edbuck51 Apr 2, 2009

    hey horserescue, north carolina taxes internet sales too so they will still get you going and coming

  • yellow_hat Apr 2, 2009

    jlfarley - no you won't - you will huff and puff and sign online positions for awhile, and then quietly continue to go to the same places you always go. Just like everybody else did in states that have already passed smoking restrictions.

  • Deman Apr 2, 2009

    I just can't wait to hear the arguements for the 'mileage tax' that will be coming soon. Since it is in the public's 'best' interest, I guess a majority of the public will be in favor of that as well. :-(

  • yellow_hat Apr 2, 2009

    "Otherwise alcohol, fatty foods and sweets would be on the bannable list as well..."
    Wrong wrong wrong - there are safe levels of all three, and in some case proven health benefits when consumed in moderation. There is NO safe limit of cigarette smoke, and no health benefit at all.

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