Thursday, May 14, 2009

North Carolina, the top tobacco-producing state, is banning smoking in restaurants and bars

"Smoking will soon be prohibited in bars and restaurants across North Carolina, a state where tobacco was once revered for the money it generated for farmers, universities and community institutions," reports Benjamin Niolet of the News & Observer in Raleigh. After a final compromise, the legislature sent the bill to Gov. Beverly Perdue, who said she would sign it.

North Carolina still produces almost half the nation's tobacco, but the crop's political potency has diminished as the state's economy diversified, and the number of tobacco farmers dwindled even more after Congress repealed the federal program of production quotas and price supports in 2004. The News & Observer notes that 23 percent of the state's adults smoke, but eight in 10 said in an Elon University poll in March that secondhand smoke was a threat to their health, and two-thirds said they supported a smoking ban for indoor public places.

The bill passed yesterday started out with a such a ban, but the House exempted bars. That drew opposition from "restaurant owners who feared bars would steal late-night customers," Niolet reports. The Senate-revised bill, which passed the House 62-56, exempts cigar bars and outdoor dining areas but allows local governments to impose stricter limits. (Read more)

1 comment:

No Tobacco said...

We are born in a smoke free world and it is just right that we strive to offer our children the same kind of environment. Be involved and help empower everyone by taking part in the yearly WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY which will be on May 31st!