Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Smokers only have a few more weeks to light up in North Carolina bars and restaurants.
The state smoking ban goes into effect January 2nd.
Private clubs are exempt from the law, but as we discovered, many of them have already gone cold turkey.
Smokers in area restaurants know their days are numbered.
Come January, people will not be allowed to smoke inside bars, restaurants, or any business that serves food or drinks.
Private clubs like the Country Club of Landfall are exempt from the law, but club members here already know to leave their lighters at home.
Club General Manager Bob Jahnes says, "It's for the respect of all of the other members that don't want the smoke in their dining environment and also for the health issues involved in second hand smoke."
Jahnes says smoking hasn't been allowed inside for years. In fact, he believes most country clubs around the state have rules against smoking.
In our area, Beau Rivage, the City Club, Landfall, Pine Valley Country Club and the Surf Club at Wrightsville Beach have all gone smoke-free.
Many of them describe the smoking ban as family and health friendly... a policy they say their members enjoy.
"It's been completely accepted by the membership. We don't have issues where members come in and want to smoke," says Jahnes.
While other establishments will have to start enforcing the new smoking law January 2nd, employees at the Country Club at Landfall won't have to worry about their customers feeling put out over smoking outside.
Beau Rivage Golf Club says when they went non-smoking they added more outdoor areas, like patios, where people could smoke without bothering other club members.
Businesses that don't comply with the indoor smoking ban could face hefty fines.