Smoking Ban for Bars and Restaurants in North Carolina
Despite hot arguments that lead to an offer to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, government officials stated that the state’s indoor smoking ban was implemented with some problems this year.
From January, 2 restaurant or bar visitors will not have the right to smoke over dinner after the Tobacco Road state will adopt restrictions about smoking in workplaces.
Last year the state assembly implemented the law amid arguments it broke on the rights of business proprietors to decide on their own property, while ban advocates declared that smoking exposed non-smokers to hazards of tobacco smoke. As soon as the air was cleared, business owners were asked to place no-smoking signs, take away ashtrays and ask visitors to go outside if they wanted to smoke.
Compulsory execution was based on people’s complaints, and it was left up to local health departments to compel. Business owners who infringed the ban received warning letters before facing administrative charges. Within this year, more than 1,300 complaints were made, which involved approximately 875 business owners, according to state health officials. All those complaints have reduced significantly after the initial months.
In New Hanover County, government officials haven’t received any complaints since September, according to New Hanover County’s health director Ben Spencer. “The implementation of a new ban is proceeding well enough, it was even smoother than we expected,” he stated. Within this year, there were about 53 complaints involving 25 business owners in New Hanover County. Brunswick County made 13 complaints on 11 bars and restaurants, and Pender County had 20 complaints about 6 business owners, as declared the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch.
New Hanover County’s Health departments became the first in the state who collected a fine on a business owner for not observing the ban. A Castle Street bar that it known for its hookah pipes, infringed the ban for several times this year. Its first fine constituted $200 and the health department agreed to reduce the other two fines after the bar owner stated that he switched to other products that have nothing in common with tobacco. Spencer declared that the county also sent a few warning letters but didn’t impose any fines this year. Government officials also confirmed that they did not have information about any other fines imposed in Brunswick and Pender counties. “Approximately 20 business owners have received at least one fine this year under the given ban,” stated Jim Martin, director of policy and programs for the tobacco branch.
A research on air quality conducted by the N.C. Department of Public Health demonstrated that concentrations of particulate pollutants inside particular bars and restaurants decreased by 89% after the enactment.
By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2011 TobaccoPub.com. All rights reserved.
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