North Carolina - legislators approve smoking ban..

May 13, 2009 — North Carolina legislators (General Assembly) have approved a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in the country's top tobacco-growing state by sales. The state House voted 62-56 on Wednesday, May 13th to approve changes adopted in the Senate. Starting January 2, 2010, smoking will be prohibited inside bars and restaurants. The law would allow fines up to $50 for smokers who keep puffing after being asked to stop. A business that ignores the ban could face a penalty assessed by the local health director. The ban will likely require about 20 hookah (argileh nargile, hubble-bubble, water pipe, hooka, shisha, goza, meassel, water pipe, sheesha) bars across the state to close, said Adam Bliss, owner of Hookah Bliss in Chapel Hill.

Governor Beverly Perdue has said she would sign it into law.

By the end of this year, 31 other states and the District of Columbia will have laws banning smoke from workplaces, restaurants, bars, or some combination.

Last year, North Carolina farmers produced $686 million worth of tobacco, nearly half the value of the U.S. output.

Reference: Smoking ban in top tobacco-growing NC almost law by EMERY P. DALESIO, , 5/13/2009; House approves smoking ban for N.C., Ban, if signed, will require patrons to keep their cigarettes outside bY BENJAMIN NIOLET AND MANDY LOCK, The News & Observer, 5/14/2009.

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