NC House Supports Bill To Ban Smoking

The North Carolina House has tentatively passed a measure banning smoking from public places throughout the state.

Lawmakers voted 75-42 in favor of the ban on Wednesday evening after the measure was changed to allow smoking in businesses that don’t employ or serve anyone under age 18.

The bill that was introduced by Representative Hugh Holliman of Lexington, would have prohibited smoking in all restaurants and bars as well as workplaces. But, Democratic Rep. Nelson Cole of Rockingham County succeeded in easing those restrictions.

Supporters of the stricter ban said the change negates their efforts to protect waiters and other workers from inhaling secondhand smoke.

The bill will be presented to the House again on Thursday for a third vote, then it can move to the Senate.

As he presented the bill Wednesday, Holliman said it is not an issue of property rights. “It is about the right of North Carolinians to breath clean air and not be exposed to the health risks of second hand smoke”.

Opponents of the bill say restaurants and business owners should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to restrict smoking.

An recent 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.

If passed, North Carolina would then become the 35th state in the country to ban smoking from public places.

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