The bill approved Wednesday falls short of how it began: a total and sweeping ban on smoking in all public places. But the House's original bill left a wide loophole for bars, an exemption that worried restaurant owners who feared bars would steal late-night customers.
The bill (soon to become law) still contains the giant “private club” loophole I had mentioned earlier, so, 1.5 cheers. And strange exemption for cigar bars (where smoke is emitted), but not for hookah bars (where water filters quite a bit of the smoke).
Critically, as Laura Leslie pointed out, the law will allow local health officials to go above and beyond state law. So, a floor was established, not a ceiling, which is good. They were previously forbidden to enact any smoking bans. Now Chapel Hill/Carrboro can do what it has been wanting to do for years and finally kill smoking in all public places.