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York County smoking regulations start today

The first public smoking bans in the Charlotte area go into effect today. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: A bill to ban smoking in public places throughout North Carolina has cleared multiple hurdles in the state legislature, but faces a crucial Senate vote next Wednesday. Until it passes, local governments are prohibited from passing their own smoking bans. Not so in South Carolina. Public smoking ordinances take effect today in York County and the City of Rock Hill. They apply to virtually all businesses open to the public, including restaurants and bars. "No Smoking" signs must be posted at all business entrances. Rock Hill officials have tried to make the transition as easy as possible for business owners, says City manager's assistant Holly Eskridge. "The City of Rock Hill actually has the signs available free of charge," says Eskridge. "And if a business continuously violates the ordinance, they will be subject to their occupancy permit or business license being revoked." Smokers who violate the ban may face a fine of up to $25. Previous attempts at a statewide public smoking regulation in North Carolina have failed, in part, because of the state's long history as a leading producer of tobacco.