Reducing Smoking In Restaurants
A House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed legislation to reduce smoking in restaurants. The bill, which originally proposed to totally banned smoking in restaurants, is a compromise supported by the N.C. Restaurant Association. The new bill requires that by 2007, all smoking areas in restaurants must be separate and apart from the main dining area and, by 2008, restaurants would not be allowed to have minors working in smoking sections unless the minor's parent or guardian provides written permission.
The bill is a compromise that meets the objectives of bill sponsors and health advocates. Smoking areas that are separate and apart from the main dining room allow non-smokers to not be subjected to second-hand smoke while allowing restaurants to continue to make a choice about whether or not they want to provide a smoking section. This bill will also protect the health of minors working in these establishments.
An estimated 75% of North Carolinians are non-smokers. This bill will give them the right to choose whether or not they wish to be exposed to second-hand smoke. The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration and I am optimistic about its passage.