Smoking ban about to hit North Carolina

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December 30, 2009 8:53:18 PM PST
Local businesses are getting ready for the changes a new smoking ban taking effect in the Tar Heel state.The new law requires restaurants and bars to post signs informing customers that smoking inside is prohibited.

Come Saturday, smoking inside local restaurants and bars will be a thing of the past.

Inside Raleigh Irish pub, Tir na nOg, there's some excitement brewing over the change.

"A lot of our staff has already stopped smoking, because we're getting prepared for this," General Manager Annie Nice said.

Nice says she's looking forward to not having to inhale secondhand smoke.

"Sometimes on Thursday nights local band, local beer, it's like a haze in here," Nice said. "It's crazy so it'll be nice."

It's also good for the health of the public.

"Secondhand smoke is harmful, there's no risk-free level," Tobacco Prevention and Control Jim Martin said.

The law bans smoking at all restaurants and bars. Management will be responsible for enforcing it, but the Health Department will look into complaints filed by customers and employees.

Businesses that break the law could face fines of up to $200.

The ban does have some exceptions, however, including cigar bars like Havana Deluxe.

"We're pretty happy to be able to keep doing what we do," Havana Deluxe Manager Mike Reid said.

He says he is hoping to see an increase in business, thanks to the ban.

"I don't believe we'll lose much from it, but I do believe we'll see more smokers coming through," Reid said.

But smokers like Daniel Pope say the law will likely make them think twice about lighting up.

"It's just another reason for me to kind of take that next step and actually quit smoking," he said.

"If I can't quit, I'm going to have to deal with the cold for a little bit, I think I can handle that."

For more information about the ban, call 1-800-662-7030 or visit www.smokefree.nc.gov

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