Updates on the smoking bills I mentioned last week….
Dismissing North Carolina’s heritage as a tobacco state, a House committee on Tuesday passed a far-reaching indoor smoking ban.
The Judiciary Committee passed the ban by a 9-4 vote. The measure would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces in North Carolina, including bars and restaurants. The rules also would apply to private clubs, except those with nonprofit or tax-exempt status.
The measure would be complaint-driven — local health departments would act on complaints from the public — and violators would first receive warnings.
“This was a significant and important event to advance the public’s health in North Carolina,” said Dr. Leah Devlin, director of the state Division of Public Health.
But critics of the legislation, House Bill 259, pointed out that it faces an uphill battle on the House and Senate floors.
“What they really want is a complete prohibition of indoor smoking in North Carolina,” said state Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake. “We all know smoking is nasty and dangerous. The question is whether, in a free society, you let people do some things that are nasty and dangerous.”
Some opponents said passing the bill could set the stage for similar bans inside personal vehicles and homes.
“You want to smoke and you own the building. Is it really that bad for the public?” asked state Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson.
Yes Paul and Ronnie, not only did you construct a straw man, you blew smoke on it, gave it lung cancer, tortured it with cigarette butts and finally set it on fire. Sheesh, what asses.
Under the current version of the bill, which isn’t available on the web just yet, only NON-profit clubs could allow smoking – like the Elks Lodge, for example.
So for the standard nightclub or bar, smoking would be banned.
Hope it helps – and thanks very much for reading!!
So, that’s a lot of progress on the house bill, making it very close to the senate bill.