Tobacco-rich North Carolina Reaches for Partial Smoking Ban

North Carolina, one of the nation’s top tobacco growing states, supports legislation that would prohibit secondhand smoke from restaurants and businesses where minors are present, and also give bars the choice to permit patrons to smoke.

“As a non smoker, I don’t care. This legislation doesn’t affect me and since I’m already exposed to second hand smoke, it’s not like this ban will clear my lungs,” says Hayley Bonvillain, a junior and a Parks and Recreation major.

The North Carolina house voted 72-45 recently on the legislation, which was then sent to the North Carolina Senate, where many top leaders expect the partial smoking ban to pass.

The House restricted the smoking ban’s reach from a version that would have prohibited smoking in businesses that employ or serve anyone under the age 18, but not to most businesses that post signs at the doorway that smoking is allowed. Fraternal and veterans’ clubs would be free from the smoking ban. The legislation calls for a moderately mild consequence for violators.

With local government’s authority heightened, it is possible to see a ban of open-air smoking in city parks, or a fine up to $50, which would be enforced by a public health officer. Businesses are also susceptible to fines up to $200, after their third failure to stop smokers.