EDITORIAL: Smoking Ban Is Good Public Health

During these troubling times, it is understandable why some may worry how the new indoor smoking ban will impact the hospitality industry, especially when it comes to bars, but let’s remember that there are other benchmarks to measure whether a smoking ban is a good idea. Here are a few: lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, childhood asthma, high blood pressure, male impotence, routine colds and illnesses, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, bladder cancer, employee absenteeism, medical spending on preventable disease and skyrocketing health-insurance premiums.

The health of North Carolina’s hospitality industry is important, but it’s nothings compared to the health of North Carolina’s people, especially children.

This smoking ban, according to the law’s text, was, and is rightfully so, about public health and the public’s interest in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, reducing youth tobacco use, helping smokers quit and holding down the huge range of tobacco-related health costs–costs that get factored into public health care budgets and overall health insurance premiums, and therefore are borne by smokers and nonsmokers alike.

Numerous studys conducted by states that have smoking bans, including neighboring South Carolina, show that smoking bans reduce tobacco use, cut the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke, help smokers quit smoking if they want to quit, reduce smoking-related illness and help bring down health-care costs.

Whether or not restaurants or bars will see a drop in their bottom line is yet to be determined, but the Western Carolinian tips off our hat to the North Carolina congress for caring about the dangers of tobacco.