Area businesses prepare for smoking ban

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The statewide smoking ban takes effect January 2, prohibiting smoking in public places like bars, restaurants, and even bowling alleys.

Several area business owners are trying to prepare their customers for the change, and some have already gone smoke-free.

Patrons at Front Street Brewery won't be able to light up at the bar anymore, which could hurt nighttime business, according to the manager.  He also said it could bring more families into the restaurant and actually help the bottom line.

But the transition could be more difficult at Break Time Billiards, where pool and smoking often go hand in hand.

"When I'm playing pool, I enjoy a cigarette like other people do, or when I'm in a restaurant I enjoy a cigarette," said Bill Harkins.  "I'll be perfectly candid. I will cut my time back. I'm not gonna stand out in 20 degree weather and smoke a cigarette."

The Roberts family loves to bowl, but only go to Cardinal Lanes in Wilmington during the off times to avoid the smokey environment.  Soon, they will be able to bowl anytime.

"I think it's [the smoking ban] great," said Christopher Roberts.  "It gives an opportunity for families to get out and children not to be exposed to second-hand smoke."

In effort to prepare their customers, management has created certain non-smoking hours.  They also plan to replace ash trays with candy and cards to keep smokers busy between frames.

Leaders in Brunswick County are considering more restrictions against smoking.

Health Department officials are finishing a survey of county employees.  They want to know if the county should expand no-smoking areas in county facilities and property.

Right now you can't smoke in county offices and within 50 feet of the Health Department in Brunswick County.

The health department will tally survey results and consider making a recommendation to county commissioners.

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