Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More support for smoking ban?

There's some reason for Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, to be optimistic about the chances for his bill to ban smoking in the state's restaurants and workplaces. Mark Johnson with the Capital Bureau of the Observer and the News & Observer reports that the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association won't oppose the bill and, Johnson says in Dome, might even support the ban.

That's a big turnaround from the last general assembly, when the association's opposition was a big factor in the bill's failure in the House.

Here's Johnson's report:

The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association will not oppose -- and could actively support -- a ban on smoking in restaurants and workplaces.

That position undermines potential opposition by legislators who argue that a ban could hurt the restaurant business.

Paul Stone, the association's president, said that 80 percent of the group's members in a recent poll said they want the organization to either actively support or at least not oppose the ban proposed in the legislature. That number changes, though, if lawmakers start carving out exceptions for private clubs or other types of businesses, creating what Stone called an unlevel playing field in competing for customers.

"If they turn around and put (an exception) in," Stone said, "we'll be in the same position as two years ago."

That was when the association, which represents 3,000 restaurants and hotels, initially backed a similar bill but dropped its support after exemptions were added for private clubs. The bill failed in the House by six votes.


And that's not all. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling reports that all demographic groups support the smoking ban. Here's part of his analysis:

Currently being considered in the legislature is a bill that would ban smoking in restaurants and public places, with very few exemptions. Do you support a ban on smoking in public places?

Yes 64
No 31

Last week when we polled on the economic stimulus package in Congress we found the North Carolina electorate about as polarized along party lines on that issue as it could possibly be. That's not the case when it comes to the proposed smoking ban the General Assembly is considering, which is earning majority support across partisan and ideological lines.

68% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans, and 58% of independents support it. So do 72% of liberals, 65% of moderates, and 60% of conservatives.

A majority of every demographic group that PPP tracks expresses support for the ban. The lowest levels of support come from voters in the Triad (52%) and those in rural areas (57%).

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

If people are stupid enough to smoke where it will harm no one else they should be able to do so. They should NOT be able to force others to inhale their choice of slow suicide though. Pass the alw already!!!! Catch up wiht the rest of the country.

Anonymous said...

Any tax exempt political action committee (charity) that, instead of educating, their primary function, spends huge sums of money to hire lobbyists to make laws using THREATS, INTIMIDITATION, LAW ENFORCEMENT, and SNITCHING to FORCE people to OBEY their guidelines will get NO DONATIONS from me. Here they are, all fed by big pharma through their Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
www.no-smoke.org/pdf/CIA_Fundamentals.pdf

Anonymous said...

Personal 'Freedom' is not extended to activities that threaten or harm others.It is a proven scientific 'FACT' that smoking causes disease and eventual death. Breathing clean smoke-free air in public places and businesses should be a 'right' Pass this long overdue law without delay.

Chef Bill said...

Well if the goverment is going to tell me I can not smoke in a restaurant because it may be harmful to others . Then they had better put a ban on the level of cologne and perfume a person can wear in a public place also Because I am a smoker but I am allergic to perfume and it can be very harmful to me and others like me.
It is bad enough as a smoker I pay more taxes than a non-smoker. Lets remind all you people againist smoking that you would not have a dam thing in this state if it were not for the tobbaco industry that help forge this great state.
I agree that smokers need to be way more careful around those whom do not smoke. But what about all of you non- smokers that go out for dinner and drinks than proceed to drive home your put a much larger portion of our community in danger than smokers so lets start a ban on alcohol in restaurants too!!

Anonymous said...

House Bill 2 is an incredible piece of legislation, because it an example of what’s wrong in North Carolina. Here we are as a state, begging for money from the Feds, while politicians are looking for every sympathy vote they can get when blaming Republicans for all the current job loss, while at the same time ushering legislation through our General Assembly that will effectively put people out of work! If you own a private club that is a cigar bar, if you’re a veteran who enjoys a good cigar who just did 4 tours in Iraq and can’t wait to get to your local VFW, or if you are a retail tobacco shop, that has a smoking lounge – smoke em now if you got em!
Everyone in this state who is opposed to this should not only call Hugh Holliman, also call the in-house lobbyist for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Ask them if everyone who works for their organization meets CDC recommended standards of living to prevent cancer and heart disease, ask them if they receive any money from volunteers that smoke, or use tobacco products, and if so why? Let them fear losing their livelihood so that maybe they understand how people that feed their families on the sale of tobacco feel when looking at House Bill 2.
I know for a fact that in the past, one could go stand outside of an ACS Volunteer Relay for Life Leadership Training, and could see many people smoking wearing an ACS t-shirt. It’s okay for them to smoke because they bring in $100,000 from their community to ACS, however because Cutter’s Lounge, or the Tinder Box, or Havana Delux in Charlotte and Raleigh don’t, they are on the chopping block for going out of business.
Now, onto the Restaurant Association – look at its board, look at its members, and then ask yourself, do they really represent all restaurants, and of course they want a smoking ban, it puts money back into the pockets of the owners who voluntarily went smoke free, by abolishing their (smoking) competition overnight by putting them out of business. Anyone who believes the NC Restaurant Association is supporting this bill out of the kindness of their heart is smoking a non-tobacco product. I can prove it, if HB 2 is amended to contain an exemption for private clubs, the NC Restaurant Association will oppose it, because the playing field is no longer level. Hello, restaurant owner that voluntarily went smoke free created economic advantage for bars that allow smoking. No one forced them to do so, however now that they are and are losing money, they want a level playing field – nice way to do business, let’s put people out of business so I you can make a few extra dollars.
So, I guess the end justifies the means, as long as it is for a “level playing field and health care”. I remember reading in history where several other groups did things based on the ends justifying the means because it was best for the whole, and it did not necessarily turn out to well.

Donna said...

This non smoker does not need the government to dicate for me how to think. I know smoking is unhealthy. That's why I dine/drink at privately owned establishments that freely adopted their own smoke free policy. Catch phrase here being freely. Privately owned businesses who have a smoking clientel should freely be able to adopt a smoking allowed policy. Catch phrase again here being freely. Catch up with the rest of the country? NOT! Next our lawmakers will be telling us what we can and cannot do in our own homes. If this ban goes through, it will open up the gates for truly unthinkable,unreasonable and catastrophic bans to slip right on in. I don't care for second hand smoke either, but I don't think I should rule the world because I choose not to smoke.

Anonymous said...

If I walked around with my mouth full of water and sprayed it on those around me I would be arrested. Why are smokers allowed to do the same thing with more serious consequences??? Get with the rest of the progressive states NC...pass the law once and for all. Other states have proven that it has ZERO negative economic impact to bars & restaurants...I refuse to frequent an establishment that allows smoking...enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to check out Hugh Holliman's financial interest and what contributions were made to him by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). RWJF is a marketing arm of Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticle Company and anticipates billions of profit from smoking cessation products.

A little of your freedoms here, a little of your freedoms there and eventually all of your freedoms until you have none at all.

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Anonymous said...

All of the supporters for this must also realize how it will change some people's lives.

As a NC Hookah Bar owner in Asheville, NC I am about to face the toughest challenge of my small business. If this ban passes and there are no exemptions for specialty bars such as mine (and currently there are not on the bill) I will be forced to shut my doors. Without hookah sales being allowed my small business will go under. Another 14+ small Hookah Bars such as mine will also be forced to shut their doors. We do not sell food and in fact we do not even allow cigarette smoke in the building, but the bill will ban HOOKAH smoking also. Is it fair of the government to take away my right to provide for my family? Is it right of them to close down small business? I have sunk my life into this business for the past 4 years, now what? How will I provide for my loved ones?

If this is to pass, there MUST be exceptions for NC small business owners who have down nothing wrong, and are about to lose it all.

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