MARCH 7, 2006 -- Ten years ago, most people wouldn't have the nerve to suggest something like this, but we think now is the time North Carolina should consider a ban on smoking in public places, particularly in restaurants.
To our north, officials in the state of Virginia have been holding meetings about limiting places where people can smoke. In that state, like North Carolina, tobacco was once the crop that paid the bills for many farmers. It played a major role in our state's agricultural economy. But today, the amount of the golden leaf produced in the U.S. is down dramatically, and some growers are even paid by the government not to grow any tobacco at all.
That's why we endorse a stronger smoking ban in North Carolina. Sure, our restaurants have smoking and non-smoking sections. But with more and more research being released about second hand smoke, we encourage our state legislators to propose and pass a bill requiring that all restaurants be smoke-free. It's not the most popular suggestion, but the time to consider this is now, before more smokers' lives are cut short by nicotine and non-smokers become innocent victims.