Local News

House Defeats Bill Forcing Eateries To Accommodate Nonsmokers

Posted June 2, 2005 5:43 a.m. EDT

— The state House has defeated a bill that would have required restaurants to set aside half of their dining space for nonsmokers.

The debate preceding the vote pitted health concerns against business owners' rights to govern their restaurants.

Bill sponsor Hugh Holliman of Davidson County cited studies declaring second-hand smoke a carcinogen that leads to thousands of deaths each year. He says 14 states have banned smoking in restaurants, bars, workplaces or some combination of them.

The original bill would have banned all smoking in restaurants. By its second appearance in a House judiciary committee last week, the proposed law would have required gradual changes.