No smoking in North Carolina restaurants and bars anymore

North Carolina's statewide ban on smoking in most restaurants and bars takes effect this Saturday, once the New Years revelry is over. But not everyone is looking forward for the smoke to clear:

Sammy's Tap & Grill, 2235 Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh, for example, is putting up a sign to let customers know that smoking is no longer permitted.

Owner Sammy Stephens said he doesn't support the ban but will comply with the law.

“We feel for the customer who smokes, but unfortunately we can't make the rules,” he said. “I believe in freedoms, and I believe in choices. So for me to say, ‘You can't do this, but you can do that,’ you know I don't think that's the way we operate here.”

Who does think he should operate that way? State Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, who defended the law saying, “It's about public health. Places where people go out in the public should be safe for them and for their children.”

Note the flexible definition of “in the public.” Somehow I doubt Stephens considers his tavern to be public property.

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