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Tobacco state imposes ban on smoking in restaurants

December 28th, 2010 Posted in Smoking ban Buy cheap cigarettes online Tags:

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Despite heated arguments leading up to a proposal to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants, officials said the state’s indoor smoking ban took effect with few problems this year.
On Jan. 2, customers could no longer light up over dinner or drinks when the Tobacco Road state joined a growing number of states implementing restrictions about smoking in workplaces.

The state legislature passed the law last year amid arguments it infringed on the rights of business owners to make decisions on their own property, while ban supporters contended smoking threatened the health of non-smoking workers and patrons.

Once the air cleared, bar and restaurant owners were required to post no-smoking signs, remove ashtrays and direct customers outside if they wanted to smoke.

Enforcement was based on people making complaints, and it was left up to local health departments to enforce. Businesses violating the ban received warning letters before facing administrative fines.

Across the state this year, more than 1,300 complaints were made involving about 875 businesses, according to state health officials.

They said those complaints tapered off significantly after the initial months.

In New Hanover County, officials haven’t received a complaint since August, said New Hanover County’s health director David Rice.

“It’s gone exceptionally well,” he said, adding the implementation was smoother than he expected.

This year, there were 53 complaints about 25 businesses in New Hanover County. Brunswick County fielded 13 complaints about 11 bars and restaurants, and Pender County saw 20 complaints about six businesses, according to the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch.

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