I may be a little different than most smokers when it comes to the issue of smoking bans. I can see the value of it, but with a really big “IF”. IF it is written properly and provides for some common sense exceptions then I wouldn’t be opposed to it. This is an incredibly complex issue that I could not possibly cover in the context of a blog post nor would I try, but here are a couple of the highlights that I would like to see in a proposed “smoking ban”. Again these are simplifications and we could spend days discussing why these would or wouldn’t work, getting into the nitty gritty of how this would be done or how it can’t. Not what I’m going for here. This list is what I’d like to see, not how or if these things would/could be accomplished.

  1. Common sense exemptions for business that typically cater to smokers. Bars, Tobacco Merchants, Pool Halls, ect. Nothing about this prevents these establishments from going smoke free if they so choose.
  2. Some provision that protects a Private Business Owners rights to choose to cater to smokers if they want to do so. This one is tough because you need good controls and procedures as well as clearly defined criteria to qualify. It may also create to large of a loop hole rendering the ban pointless but I’d like to think there’s a way to make this work.
  3. If you allow children under the age of 18 into your place of business, then you cannot allow smoking, no exceptions.Could be tough to enforce but I think this one makes good sense.

The proposed bill in NC didn’t seem to have a whole lot of teeth compared to some bans we’ve seen in other states, but it was still far from ideal in my opinion so I was glad to see it fail.

Statewide Smoking Ban Fails to Clear N.C. House
RALEIGH, N.C. — An attempt to ban smoking in many public areas across North Carolina narrowly failed in the House on Wednesday, as tobacco territory Democrats sided with Republicans who called the measure an infringement on the rights of business owners.”We gave it our best shot,” said Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, the bill’s sponsor, who pulled the measure from the floor calendar several times and took the bill through committee twice in a futile effort to win support.

House members voted 61-55 against the measure. More than a dozen Democrats from counties where tobacco is grown or manufactured opposed the ban.