Four months ago in Consider This, we suggested the unthinkable in a tobacco state like North Carolina, a ban on smoking in public places. We received quite a bit of feedback. Some of it was negative, and some even came from our own nicotine-addicted employees. But the overwhelming majority of responses were in support of the idea.
Fast forward 120 days, and what has transpired? A report was released by the U.S. Surgeon General reinforcing the conclusion that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and non-smoking adults. Governor Easley signed legislation instituting a ban on smoking inside the two legislative buildings, and he now has a bill in front of him that will allow North Carolina community colleges to restrict smoking on their campuses.
Currently 17 states have enacted bans on smoking in public places, as have 461 towns, cities and counties. The time has come for that ban to be enacted in North Carolina. Only a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law will protect all workers and the public from the serious proven health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke.