Smoking Ban Signed into Law

Puff Puff Pass

May, 19, 2009, by David

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In an excited ceremony governor Perdue signed the indoor smoking ban into law today.

North Carolina joins the majority of states but differs in that it is the largest producer of tobacco in the United States, having grown the plant long before being colonized.  After passing the house there was much discussion over the ‘fairness’ of the bill. 

The Ban begins on January 2nd.

Photos from Steven Waters of

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  • Charlie
    05/19 10:38 PM

    I don’t smoke, and I don’t support it, but I think this bill is completely ridiculous. What’s next? Gonna ban alcohol in public?

  • Ryan
    05/20 01:44 AM

    Smoking and drinking are not the same. Do we have to go over this again?

    Drunk driving is illegal because it puts others in danger. I think someone could argue the same for smoking and second-hand smoke (although they’re not equivalent).

  • CD2
    05/20 09:13 AM

    Next we will outlaw drinking in bars. Tobacco built this state and now we do this to it. Next we ban red dirt from our fields.

  • GD
    05/20 09:58 AM

    As a smoker I FULLY support this.  Smoking indoors is the nastiest shit.

    I’m glad NC is finally catching up to the rest of the US and doing this.  Maybe we can finally be some what of a progressive state.

  • gladfornosmoke
    05/20 10:20 AM

    Uhh…how can anyone be surprised or upset about this? We are one of the LAST medium/large cities to do this. Trust me, in five years we will all be shocked that they ever even let people smoke indoors at all (remember that they let you smoke on planes once…gross). Welcome to the 21st century, Raleigh…if the hard core smoker culture of Paris and New York City can do it, so can we!

  • Rick
    05/20 11:54 AM

    worst governor ever.  travesty.

  • Drew
    05/20 12:06 PM

    A big THANKS to governor Purdue AND the NC legislator for getting this done.  Excellent work.  It’s refreshing to have a government that is willing to lead the community forward in the face of those that fear and fight change.  Hopefully, more progressive-oriented legislation supporting clean energy, the environment, health care, and economic justice is on the way!

  • macK
    05/20 01:19 PM

    Lets get real NC -  this is an issue about PUBLIC HEALTH not personal rights.  We are already one of the nations most unhealthy states and we are light years behind the rest of the country on banning smoking in public places. If you want to ruin your own health you will just have to do it outside or in private.  Sorry.

  • Steve W
    05/20 02:19 PM

    I agree with Drew and MacK.  Although it is counter-intuitive, the data does show that secondhand smoke is just about as dangerous as inhaling it firsthand directly into your lungs.  Way to go North Carolina—welcome to the 21st century!

  • Walk
    05/20 03:25 PM

    There is no provision in this law for Hookah Bars.  Cigar bars will still be legal; Hookah bars will have to close.

    That is flat out wrong!  These are legitimate establishments that make make their money the right way.

    Hell, the hookah place on Hillsborough St took over and has been succeeded in a space that Starbucks failed in.

    Either our legislators are too lazy to realize this, or its a clear cut case of discrimination.

    During a difficult economy such as this, it is hard to understand how our government could be so sloppy as cause thriving businesses close their doors.

  • arthurb3
    05/20 04:24 PM

    A waiver should be given to places that are spefically for smoking like hookah bars, ect. They could always get around it by becomming a “private” club like the nightclubs.

  • Steve W
    05/20 04:33 PM

    Private clubs will not be able to allow smoking either.  The law applies to all bars and restaurants except cigar bars, non-profit private clubs that are run by their membership (Elks Lodge, etc), and outdoor areas with two or fewer walls.

  • Micah
    05/20 05:21 PM

    Steve W. is correct about only member-run non-profit private clubs qualifying for the smoking exemption.  I have been very surprised at the reports from most major local new outlets and how they state something to the effect of “private clubs and cigar bars are exempt.”  99% of people will read that and think places like Jackpot, Landmark, Legends and others will be exempt because they are private clubs, but this is not true.  I wonder if it is just poor writing, or lack of research.

  • toobad
    05/20 05:24 PM

    Out with the Hookah bars!  The Government knows what is best for us!  We need to thank them for saving our lives and dictating who small businesses can cater to.

  • Walk
    05/20 05:56 PM

    Perhaps a better approach would have been to allow smoking at places where tobacco represents 25% (or higher) of their revenue.

    I realize the would be hard to audit, but it would create more government jobs!  Yay!

  • Steve W
    05/20 05:57 PM

    Most bars and restaurants would rather have the state ban smoking so they don’t have to compete against each other, which is why the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association didn’t oppose the bill.

  • Gary
    05/20 06:32 PM

    Steve is correct.  But I think it is BS that the owners could not do it themselves.  I agree with the post on the last article about smoking ban passing the house from SB that said:

    “It is kind of sad that because people could not vote with their money that we have to get the government to bail out the rest of the business owners (that agree with smoking ban) that were probably too scared or did not have the balls to make the call themselves, in fear they would lose customers.  I am fine seeing all the bars have to do it, but I will continue to support those that are already doing it, as I think they deserve the business for making this decision well ahead of “the law”.”

    That sums up my thoughts as well.  I appreciate the bars that had the balls to do it months and years ago.  They will get my business moving forward.

  • Betsy
    05/20 06:36 PM

    Yes and one thing that helped this bill pass is the restaurants and bars finally realizing that it wasn’t their responsibility to defend the tobacco industry’s interests. 

    Big Tobacco got them to carry its water for a while there in the 80s and 90s.

  • Steve W
    05/20 06:38 PM

    Establishments across the state of NC have clientele from a very wide range of different demographics.  So it has less to do with testicular fortitude and more to do with who’s likely to come and who’s likely to go. This law will allow most restaurants and bars to do the right thing without going out of business.

  • RaleighRob
    05/21 09:28 AM

    My guess as to why the cigar bars got an exemption and the hookah bars did not was that the cigar bars were organized and worked for that exemption.  The hookah bars were fewer and most likely not organized in any way.  I’m betting some legislators, particularly the older ones and the ones from smaller towns, didn’t consider that exemption because they never even heard of it.  So don’t put all the blame on them for favoring one and not the other—-the hookah bar owners probably just dropped the ball.

  • Steve W
    05/21 09:48 AM

    RaleighRob is correct.  There are only a handful of hookah bars in the whole state, and they were not organized.

  • Timmy
    05/21 04:47 PM

    Could you imagine lobbying NC legislators on behalf of the HOOKAH industry? Some of those ol’ boys would look at you like you had two heads!

  • Steve W
    05/21 04:53 PM

    Yeah, you could call it the Bong Association of North Carolina.  That would go over well!

  • Walk
    05/22 03:03 PM

    Exactly, that’s why I thought there may have been a level of discrimination going on…

    but, if the hookah owners weren’t organized well enough, that is another thing, I guess.

    Of course it should not take much for something so clear cut.  You would think a young person on one of these folks’ staff would have mentioned something.

    Ahhh, its a shame.

  • Peanuts
    05/25 10:39 AM

    I’ve always been endlessly amused by the Smokers Rights folks. God, I’m gonna miss you guys! Best Dumb Arguments Ever.

  • Charlie
    05/29 02:39 AM

    Change my opinion. After realizing just how allergic I am to cigarette smoke, I’m all for the bill

  • Steve W
    06/01 09:53 AM

    According to an article in today’s paper, hookah bars may still be able to get an exemption.

  • Michele Jaye
    02/15 09:04 PM

    I can now attend a convention in Raleigh since the ban went into effect.  I’m extremely allergic to tobacco.

    Good move!

  • ALL41
    08/25 05:06 PM


  • Steven W
    08/25 05:09 PM

    I worked with various organizations and legislators to help get the smoking bill passed, but haven’t owned a car for a year so far.

  • ALL41
    08/25 05:44 PM


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