Well, it has taken less than a decade (I am a pessimist), but looks like smoking in bars and restaurants may finally be over and done with in my old home state of NC.
Note that there is currently a HUGE loophole in the senate version of the bill, it permits smoking in “private clubs”. Many bars in NC designate themselves as “private clubs” to circumvent prohibition era (or thereabouts) laws that mandate liquor serving establishments to get a certain percentage of their revenue from food. So, my favourite Chapel Hill drinking establishment, The Dead Mule (no website, sorry!) is supposedly a “private club” – You supposedly pay a one time membership fee (usually less than 5 bucks), and are supposed to “sign in” any members and guests. This was all a farce anyway, and the Mule got extremely smoky, it was quite disgusting after a while.
One hopes that the final bill will make the ban universal. Bans like this work best when they don’t favour one group of establishments over the other for no real reason. The people who work at the Dead Mule are equally entitled to clean air.
1.5 cautious cheers, let’s see what happens in the end…
The state Senate voted Thursday to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in North Carolina. It set the stage for what would be a historic prohibition of a product that created thousands of jobs, built Duke and Wake Forest universities and has long been an integral part of the culture in the nation's top tobacco-producing state.
House members passed a tougher version last month, meaning that lawmakers will still have to work out a compromise, assuming the Senate passes the measure in a second vote on Monday. The bill passed Thursday by an eight-vote margin, 26-18, so that seems likely.