…..but it appears that after the General Legislature passed a measure Wednesday, smoking in public bars and restaurants will be banned in the tobacco producing capitol of the United States. The Associated Press is reporting that North Carolina is poised to go smoke-free. North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue supports the measure.
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants since New York City passed its landmark ban in 2003, and four more — Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Virginia — will do so by the end of the year. Florida, Idaho and Nevada ban smoking in restaurants, but not bars.
The North Carolina House’s 62-56 vote marked yet another step away from the legacy of tobacco. Last year, North Carolina farmers produced $686 million worth of tobacco, nearly half the value of the entire U.S. output.
The law would allow fines of up to $50 for smokers who keep puffing after being asked by an establishment’s managers to stop, but the law can only be enforced by a local health director and not police. Hospitality owners or managers could be fined up to $200 after being warned twice to enforce the smoking rules.