NC joins neighbor in restaurant smoke ban

North Carolina is the latest entity to join the growing global ban on smoking in restaurants.

The state legislature this week passed House Bill 2 to ban smoking in restaurants, and a spokesman for Gov. Bev Perdue said the governor is expected to sign it into law this coming week.

"The General Assembly finds that secondhand smoke has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma attacks in both smokers and nonsmokers," according to the final version of the bill. "It is the intent of the General Assembly to protect the health of individuals in public places and places of employment and riding in State government vehicles from the risks related to secondhand smoke."

Neighboring Virginia's legislature passed such a law in February, and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed it in March. It is scheduled to take effect in December.

About 60% of Virginia's full-service restaurants already are smoke-free, according to statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Health from restaurant inspections.

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