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TRU Supports New NC Smoke-Free Law

Weddington and Monroe High TRU teens present Applebee's restaurant manager with coasters

December 14, 2009, Monroe, NC Union County Public Schools’ TRU (Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.) clubs are partnering with Union County Environmental Health to assist in the distribution of coasters to Union County restaurants to educate customers about the NC Smoke Free Law that will take effect Saturday, January 2, 2010, and the availability of the NC Quitline, a free resource for teens or adults that need help to quit tobacco use. 


Union County's TRU Advisory Council selected 69 restaurants to visit within the next two weeks.  The coasters were purchased by Union County Health Department grant funds allocated for this occasion through the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund.


The new law was passed by the N.C. General Assembly and signed by the Governor in May. The law makes smoking illegal in all enclosed areas of restaurants and bars in North Carolina beginning January 2. The law also prohibits smoking in most enclosed areas of lodging establishments, such as hotels, motels and inns if the establishment prepares and serves food or drink. In addition, a lodging establishment may designate no more than 20 percent of its guest rooms as smoking rooms.


The new state law does not require unenclosed areas of restaurants, bars and lodging establishments to be smoke-free. However, these establishments may voluntarily put into place a policy that prohibits smoking in these unenclosed areas.


There are a few exceptions to the new law. A cigar bar may be exempt from complying with the new law if 60 percent or more of its quarterly gross revenue comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages and 25 percent or more comes from the sale of cigars, and if smoking from the bar does not migrate to an area where smoking is prohibited under the new law, such as a restaurant.


Under this new law private clubs and country clubs may be exempt if they maintain selective members and are operated by the members. They should however not provide food or lodging services for pay to anyone who is not a member or member’s guest.


Beginning Jan. 2 , 2010, employees or members of the public can report a restaurant or bar that is out of compliance by calling the CARE-LINE at 1-800-662-7030 (bilingual services are available in over 150 languages) seven days a week. Operators are on duty between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. If calling between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., a message may be left and calls will be returned. Information about potential violations will be shared with local health directors who have responsibility for enforcement in their county.


For more information, log onto www.SmokeFree.NC.gov. The NC Quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


Written by: Kim Bayha
Posted: Jan 13, 2010 by Kim Bayha

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