In its first trial on the merits, North Carolina’s smoking ban has, unfortunately, been upheld. The ban was enacted during the 2009 session of the General Assembly (see legislation here) and went in to effect in January 2010. Although the ban enjoys popular support – a July Public Policy Polling survey found that 68% of North Carolinians support the legislation – it is an affront to liberties that ought to be enjoyed by private enterprise.
Any private business ought to have the right to determine whether smoking should be allowed in its building. Restaurants which lose business because of second hand smoke from tobacco would do well to ban smoking, of course, but that should be up to the proprietor – not the state. That would be the market working its magic. Although the bill does provide specific protection for private residences ensuring that, for now, smoking will not be banned in homes, accepting government intrusion into private business is only a short step away from government intrusion into your residence. The slow encroachment of the nanny-state requires vigilance; people must be able to see that government is creeping deeper into our lives.