North Carolina - reaping the benefits of statewide smoking ban..

April 24, 2010 - On January 2, 2010 the State of North Carolina's ban on public smoking went into effect. The law according to the bill made smoking prohibited in all enclosed areas of restaurants and bars. (North Carolina (NC) - beginning in January 2010 fire safe cigarettes (FSC), smoking ban in public places..)

State public health officials have been found the indoor smoking ban has resulted in an 89 percent improvement in air quality in North Carolina restaurants and bars in recent months. Air quality was measured using a machine that measures the number of particles in the air smaller than 2.5 micrograms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures these particles in outdoor air because they are known to cause breathing problems and contribute to premature deaths. Burning tobacco releases significant amounts of these particles, officials said.

Officials collected air samples from 152 restaurants and bars in six counties from 2005 to 2007, and the results were compared with samples collected from 78 restaurants and bars in seven counties between January and March. The restaurants and bars where the samples were collected weren't aware of the action, officials said.

“These results show that North Carolinians are already reaping the benefits of our smoke-free air law by breathing healthier air in restaurants and bars,” State Public Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel said in a statement. “Secondhand smoke (shs, environmental tobacco smoke, ets, sidestream, involuntary, passive) is a very serious health threat. Exposing adults to secondhand smoke causes immediate adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and, over time, lung cancer.”

Through April 11, health officials statewide had received only 18 complaints of violations of the indoor smoking ban, officials said. Businesses that break the no-smoking law can be fined up to $200 per day, and smokers themselves could get burned with a $50 fine if they keep puffing after they're told to stop.

Reference: Smoking ban clears air in N.C. restaurants, Web Editor: Matthew Burns,, 4/23/2010.

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