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North Carolina smoking ban ends era in US tobacco heartland

North Carolina's governor signed a statewide indoor smoking ban into law Tuesday, signaling the end of an era in the United States' leading tobacco-producing state.

"This is a historic day for North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures

Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop.
," Governor Bev Perdue Perdue may refer to:
  • Perdue, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Perdue Farms, an American chicken-farming corporation
  • Perdue School of Business, in Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
People with the surname Perdue
 said. "But more important than the history that we are making is the positive impact we are having on public health.

"By banning smoking in our restaurants and bars, we will greatly reduce the dangers of secondhand smoke secĀ·ondĀ·hand smoke
Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoke that is inhaled unintentionally by nonsmokers and may be injurious to their health if inhaled regularly over a long period. Also called passive smoke.
 and lower health care costs for families," Perdue said.

North Carolina joins more than 30 other US states that have similar laws. Virginia, another state with a centuries-old tobacco-growing tradition, adopted a ban in March.

The new law prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars, with the exception of private clubs and cigar bars.

The law, which takes effect in January, authorizes fines of up to 50 dollars for people who smoke after being asked to stop, and up to 200 dollars for managers of establishments who have twice been warned to enforce the law.

The law's supporters say it will protect people from the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke second-hand smoke Passive smoking, see there , which the US Surgeon General The U.S. Surgeon General is charged with the protection and advancement of health in the United States. Since the 1960s the surgeon general has become a highly visible federal public health official, speaking out against known health risks such as tobacco use, and promoting disease  says causes the deaths of approximately 50,000 people a year in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .

Critics of the ban say it infringes on smokers' rights as well as the rights of property owners to set their own rules.

Scott Bissette, an international marketing specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the law will hurt the state's tobacco farmers, who last year produced nearly 385 million pounds of tobacco worth more than 677 million dollars.

North Carolina tobacco is exported all over the world. "Any time you put restrictions on smoking, you're going to curtail consumption," Bissette said.
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:May 19, 2009
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North Carolina smoking ban ends era in US tobacco heartland

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