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NC close to statewide smoking ban

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090511a.mp3

A law that would ban smoking in all North Carolina bars and restaurants is nearing final passage. It's the furthest such a measure has ever made it in the state legislature. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Previous attempts to ban smoking in public places have barely made it out of the gates in North Carolina, let alone survived six key legislative votes. But Ashley Bell of the American Cancer Society says times are changing in a state where tobacco was once King. "I just think we've gone from a mostly agricultural state to a mostly progressive state in terms of the research facilities and medical breakthroughs that come there all the time and that kind of stuff," says Bell. Today, the State Senate is scheduled to hold its final vote on a measure that would ban smoking in restaurants and bars, but still allow it in businesses not open to the public. Bell says that most professional offices prohibit smoking, but worksites such as factories rarely do. Anti-smoking advocates are disappointed the current version of the ban will still leave many workers exposed to second-hand smoke. However, one of the greatest challenges to a statewide smoking ban is the concern among lawmakers that business owners should be able to make their own workplace policies. If state senators approve the measure, it will go back to the House for another vote because of a changes made in the Senate.