Skip to comments.Even Carolinas pushing to snuff public smoking
Posted on 07/09/2006 7:45:08 AM PDT by southernnorthcarolina
Officials in the Carolinas, traditionally two of the nation's most smoker-friendly states, hope a new U.S. surgeon general's report on the dangers of secondhand smoke can boost their efforts to stub out smoking.
N.C. legislators are considering a bill that would allow community colleges to ban smoking on their campuses.
And activists plan to reintroduce a bill next year that would allow local governments in Mecklenburg County to ban smoking in all workplaces, even bars and restaurants.
S.C. officials are also planning to expand their survey of smoking practices around the state as part of a smoking education effort.
And on the heels of the surgeon general's report, N.C. State Health Director Leah Devlin called for a smoking ban in all workplaces.
Devlin's entreaty was the first of its kind by an N.C. state health official, and it could portend a change in the way business owners think about allowing smoking, said Kate Uslan of the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
"We're just thrilled to have another resource to go out and educate people with," said Uslan, the county's tobacco control coordinator. "We all will be using the fact that the surgeon general says there's no safe level of exposure from secondhand smoke."
The report, released June 27, corroborates what many health experts and anti-smoking activists have argued for years: that even minimal exposure to secondhand smoke can cause severe health problems, including heart disease and lung cancer.
In other words, if you're inside where people are smoking, you're at risk -- regardless of open windows or air filters.
The news carries more weight in the Carolinas than practically anywhere else in the United States. The Carolinas have traditionally lagged behind other states' efforts to ban smoking in workplaces, on school campuses and in government buildings.
It's not hard to understand why. The growth, processing and use of tobacco are ingrained in the states' cultures and economies.
North Carolina remains the top tobacco-producing state, with an annual farm income of nearly $600 million and 14 percent of the nation's tobacco farms. South Carolina ranks fourth, with an annual farm income of nearly $120 million.
The country's two largest tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds, part ways on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Philip Morris "believes that the public should by guided by the conclusions of public health officials," and that governments should post warnings about secondhand smoke in places where smoking is allowed, the company says on its Web site.
Winston-Salem-based Reynolds, though, says on its site, "It seems unlikely that secondhand smoke presents any significant harm to otherwise healthy nonsmoking adults," and that "being in a room with a smoker is not the same as smoking a cigarette."
Smokers should have places where they can smoke as long as they're not bothering others, the company says.
Several states didn't wait for the surgeon general's confirmation. They've adopted laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, which tended to be the only public places where people could still smoke indoors.The Carolinas, though, rank with Tennessee, Virginia, and Nevada -- a state that allowed smoking in day-care centers until recently -- as some of the least restrictive states, said Bronson Frick, associate director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a California-based advocacy group.
Laws in both Carolinas ban smoking in certain types of buildings, such as hospitals and libraries. But they don't ban smoking in all workplaces, and they prohibit local governments from passing smoking regulations that surpass the state laws.
That would change under a bill that Smoke-Free Mecklenburg, a Charlotte advocacy group, hopes to push starting in January. It would add the county to a list of exemptions from the state law prohibiting stricter smoking regulations.
The list includes primary and secondary schools, hospitals, elevators, prisons and large indoor arenas. If it passes, Mecklenburg commissioners and city and town boards in the county could declare workplaces smoke-free. A similar bill died in the legislature last year.
"We're not trying to say that everything everywhere needs to be smoke-free," said Patti Bossert, Smoke-Free Mecklenburg's vice chair. "But we want local control. That's the bottom line."
N.C. Rep. Martha Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, sponsored last year's bill and said she'd sponsor next year's as well.
"We are a tobacco state, and we have people in rural communities who have had tobacco in their lives for generations, so it's a sensitive issue for North Carolina," Alexander said. "But hopefully people will pay attention. We'll just have to wait and see."
She added that she sees no significant opposition to the bill allowing a ban on smoking on community college campuses.
Smokers can still light up in most Mecklenburg restaurants. Of the county's 2,044 restaurants, 737 -- 36 percent -- are smoke-free, and most of those are fast-food places, Uslan said. But that number is up from 25 percent a year ago.
One of the first restaurants in the county to ban smoking was Bubba's Barbecue on Sunset Road in Charlotte, which went smoke-free two years ago. So far, said owner Ralph "Bubba" Miller, business hasn't suffered.
"Even smokers do not want to sit in cigarette smoke when they're eating," Miller said. Before he banned smoking, he said, he installed two air scrubbers worth $2,000 each mounted in the ceiling, and even they didn't clear the air of smoke.
Some restaurants, though, plan to keep their smoking areas until they're ordered not to. The Penguin, a popular bar and restaurant in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, is keeping its smoking section for now.
It's not a business issue, said Brian Logsdon, the day-shift manager who quit a pack-a-day habit three months ago after a bout with bronchitis. He doesn't think the restaurant would lose business by banning smoking. But he'd rather make the decision himself than leave it to the City Council.
"It's up to the owners to decide whether they want to do it, and the patrons to decide whether they want to go to places that allow smoking," Logsdon said. "The way I see it, they should just either make smoking illegal or leave it alone."
Am I the only one recalling the WHO report on the innocuousness on second hand smoke?
I missed the PC reports on the effect of reducing the concentrations of tobacco smoke and heard only the hyperbole.
The Linear No Threshold hypothesis fails to properly describe the damage from tobacco smoke just as it fails to properly describe the risks of radiation exposure. The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense
I live in NC - when I go into a restaurant I'm used to saying "2 Non-smoking". When I'm in Texas and I say that (out of habit) they look at you funny because it's all non-smoking there. Which reinforces how different NC is from the rest of the country - even a decent red state like TX.
I won't be going to any bars or restaurants in Charlotte when that happens, at least until I quit smoking myself haha. The liberals are pretty much in charge of NC, all of this comes as no surprise.
NO! Along with a host of other reports that never see the light of day.
Cigarette smoke is vile. It's like that car on Seinfeld that had an odor that wouldn't go away.
As I drive some of the country roads, I am amazed at how few tobacco fields remain. Do these people just forfeit their allotments?
According to the tobacco addicts around here, smoking cures disease. He should have started smoking two packs a day instead of quitting.
This is not my preference, but rather my prediction: smoking in bars and restaurants will be banned coast-to-coast by 2010, if not before then. And the reason will be that since high-salaried office workers are "protected" from second-hand smoke, it will be deemed discriminatory not to similarly "protect" low-salaried dishwashers and waitresses.
The latest message from the Surgeon General -- whether you agree with it or not -- seals the outcome. This fight, though it will take a few more years to play out, is over.
For those who can draw an inference. . .
Why, certainly. Let's ban all particles floating in the air that some don't like. Let's ban farting. Let's ban industry, especially paper mills. Let's ban incense (you wouldn't believe the people that object to incense).
I'm sure some well endowed scientists can cobble together some "research" that proves all the above is inimical to life on Earth.
And, lets ban anything that may endanger one's life, like sky diving and anything that may remotely and theoretically lessen worker production.
Hell, let's just have a police state. That'll keep all these insane people who think they have personal liberty marching to the thought tunes of those who know what's good for the human race.
No thanks. Most people will settle for a ban on smoking.
"Cigarette smoke is vile."
Do you really think that we could see a ban on smoking at casinos in Nevada, Atlantic City, NJ and Indian casinos? I think that could very well happen by the 2010 time frame you suggested.
I was a smoker and quit. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. I really admire anyone who tries to quit smoking and succeeds.
To some people.
To others, it ranges from pleasant to innocuous.
"The latest message from the Surgeon General -- whether you agree with it or not -- seals the outcome. This fight, though it will take a few more years to play out, is over."
I agree. All business should be run for the Marxist common good, as determined by the state. After all, you only rent your private property via taxes.
Any politician or bureaucrat who finds that you're using your property in an offensive way, as determined by them, should be seized by the state and given to another to operate in a manner that promotes the state. And you should do so in good cheer for the collective.
We must remember that individual rights are subservient to the collective and you must be willing to give away those individual rights for the common good, whether it's the right to bear arms, freedom of speech or using your lawful property in a legal manner.
Seig heil, America, and long live the revolution.
The reast of my comment didn't appear in number 20 - probably messed up the HTML
Anyway, I vote to ban Florida tomatoes in the produce section of the grocery store.
Most likely fast food or alcohol.
I think the existence of a "Tobacco Control Coordinator" merits a GOOM alert. I'll bet her salary is nothing to (ahem) sneeze at, too.
Oh, they do NOT want to do this!
The statewide smoking ban in Colorado is only a week old and business has suffered a lot.
People are going to lose their jobs soon.
Why? If one is bad, so are the others. We seem to be talking about personal preferences, here. If a group of people doesn't like something, why not ban it?
Nanny State Ping.............
I'm playing catchup - haven't read through the thread yet.
Thanks for the link on the "f**k with smokers thread". No one's tried that on me yet. I wish they would, but they haven't.
Well, you have to bring the participation rate of the offensive behavior down to about 25% to have success. It will take some time, but the seeds that are planted now will start to bear fruit (except strawberries, which I don't like--and should be banned) in about 2015 or so...
In Virginia you have a choice of smoking or non. And in most parts of Maryland as well, and Maryland is not exactly a red state.
Nope, the slippery slope aside, one is worse than the others.
LOL. I agree. I might permit them in the sporting goods section, however. They tend to be perfectly round, uniformly colored, and most of all, resilient.
There are few things I like better (well, in the food area, anyway) than a good, homegrown tomato -- and we're getting into the season now. But those Florida tennis balls? No thanks.
As is your hatred of those who use tobacco products - but I don't see any of us calling for a ban on your posts.........
Certainly, worse smell. To you, and, I'm certain, some others. So, if a group doesn't like the odor of a thing we should ban it. I think the odor of an egg fart is worse. Ban eggs.
I compare this to a circumstance where a church might move next to a rendering plant and paid off the city to issue an emminent domain closure on the plant so the property can be used for a city parking lot. Of course, the city didn't need the parking lot, but it was a good excuse to get rid of the smell wafting through the church windows even though the rendering plant was there first.
The following incident illustrates the depth of brainwashing the general public has received over the years from the nico-nazi crowd:
I was the first to arrive early for a T-Ball game and sat in the bleachers. Nobody else was in the park. I lit up a cigarette and leaned back to relax and contemplate the breeze. Directly, a family came trotting over and sat directly in back of me. A few seconds later, one of the kids leaned over and said to me, "Would you mind putting out your cigarette?"
True story. My world view changed at that moment.
I usually go to town to stock up on pantry items and looked forward to having my favorite breakfast at one of the better cafes. The town decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants one year, but the news didn't get out to my part of the boonies before I went to town again.
Finishing my regular pig-out breakfast at the cafe during my next trip to town, I promptly pulled a cigarette out of the pack and put it between my lips. All hell broke loose in the cafe. Well, that was at least my perception of what happened. When I asked for an ashtray, I was fairly screamed at by the waitress for daring to even display the forbidden opiate. I honestly thought she was going to have a heart attack.
What the hell happened to our country?
RWJF is the one funding the other 2 you mention.........
More people are buying into the nanny-state BS everyday.
Pretty soon, it'll be illegal to use your brain to make your own decisions.
This is nothing but governmental invasion of property rights.
They got the ball rolling, and they're gonna go for the score, with all the sheeple cheering them on.
"People are going to lose their jobs soon."
These jerks don't care a bit, Randall.
As long as they get their way.
Pathetic little control freaks, is all they are.
Your guess is as good as mine.
I chuckled at your T-Ball story. This was our daughter's first year playing Little Leqgue. It only took practices for all of the parents to realize that the vast majority of us smoke and so we all stopped with going out to parking lot and now just light up in the bleachers. If we've got dugout duty or concession stand duty we don't, but beyond that it is a perfectly acceptable practice.
Which of course I am sure is going to royally torque off the resident smoker-haters that populate these threads.
I agree. To re-phrase John Dean,
'Citizens, terminal cancer is running rampant against our rights and our gummint needs to be placed on chemo-therapy immediately lest critical surgery be required.'
Hi, Gabz. You know, in retrospect I wish it would have been the father of the kid who asked me to put out my cigarette. I can guess he knew better, probably getting his ass kicked more than once for pulling such a stupid stunt by someone even much kinder than I would have been.
ROFL!!!!!!! You're probably closer to the mark than you think.
We had 10 kids on the team, 20 parents listed for helping out, of them 18 are smokers........you think any of us are going to give anyone else a hard time?
The company I work for has divisions in Shanghai and Germany. People visiting from those divisions have expressed surprise at two things about America:
1) Everything is wheelchair accessible.
2) Almost all buildings are smoke free, even here in SC.
Well, I have no objection to wheelchair access or smoke-free buildings. I object to the nanny nico-nazi fascists dictating to private businesses here that they must have their restaurants and bars smelling like body sweat, hair spray, rancid grease and stale beer, but are not allowed even a hint of cigarette smoke vapors on the premises to cloak the putrid smells.
Show me JUST ONE death certificate with the cause of death annotated as " Second Hand Smoke"..
There IS none !!!!!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.