Smoking ban proposal goes before committee

February 26, 2009 1:36:50 PM PST
A State House committee debated a proposal Thursday that would eliminate smoking in all public places.One legislator is leading the charge to see the bill pass.

North Carolina is known for tobacco and is home to the number two cigarette maker in the country, so the push for the bill is not accepted by everyone.

Business owner Rhonda Selph says, "It would affect me tremendously because half my customers are smokers."

Selph owns the Watkins Grill in Raleigh.

House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman is a lung cancer survivor and also a business owner. He disagrees with Selph.

Holliman introduced the bill to prohibit smoking across NC in indoor work sites and public places, including restaurants and bars.

"I know that we will hear many times that this is a business owner's issue but I think the health concerns of second hand smoke certainly trump the concerns of business owners," Representative Holliman says.

Holliman sites rising health care costs for smokers and cleanup as reasons the bill should pass.

The bill went before the House Health Committee Thursday. More debate is scheduled for next week.

In the past, similar bills have failed. Supporters are hoping the influx of freshmen legislators will help vote in the new bill.


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