Five years after North Carolina (NC) banned tobacco smoking in restaurants and bars, the ban has been embraced to the point where it has become a non-issue for most restaurant operators, employees and the public, according to a story by Richard Craver for the Winston-Salem Journal.
Although the ban was touted as a game changer for the tobacco-producing state, the complaints figures seem to tell a different story. In the first month after the ban began on January 2, 2010, 537 complaints were filed and 282 businesses cited as possibly having violated the new law, according to the NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch.
By mid-2011, the number of complaints and businesses cited had dropped to a weekly average of 20.
And in the past year there were several weeks when no complaints were filed state-wide; and when there were complaints, often there were just one or two.
About 24,000 establishments are covered by the smoking ban. Cigar bars, country clubs and fraternal organizations are exempt.
One restaurant owner said that the ban had been accepted because it had been introduced state-wide, while another made the point that now most people didn’t give it a second thought.