Statewide Smoking Ban Fails to Clear North Carolina.

May 2, 2007 - Statewide Smoking Ban Fails to Clear North Carolina. An attempt to ban smoking in many public areas across North Carolina narrowly failed in the House, as tobacco territory Democrats sided with Republicans who called the measure an infringement on the rights of business owners.The House voted 61-55 against the measure. Nineteen Democrats - mostly from counties where tobacco is grown or processed - opposed the ban, while eight Republicans supported it. The bills sponsor (democrat Hugh Holliman) urged lawmakers to view the bill as a health issue an effort to protect nonsmoking citizens from unwanted exposure to smoke in restaurants, offices and other businesses. Opponents of the bill insisted the measure would criminalize a legal activity and unfairly punish business owners with a fine if someone smoked in their establishment, while offering no penalty for the smokers themselves. House Republican leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, one of the chief opponents of this measure stated, "The bill is well-intentioned and it may have good effects if passed, but it does not respect property rights or due process rights." (Raleigh, NC, Tobacco control people are being outsmarted by Big Tobacco - the bill went from a bill to protect the health of NC citizens to infringing on the property rights of business owners. The tax is increased on cigarettes to discourage people from buying cigarettes followed by tobacco companies offering discount coupons and B1G1F promotions.