The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
North Carolina on January 2 will take an historic step for health when it becomes the first major tobacco-growing state to implement a statewide smoke-free law that includes all restaurants and bars. This new law will protect the right of North Carolinians to breathe clean air. North Carolina's hospitality workers can now earn a living and the public can enjoy a night out without putting themselves at risk of lung cancer, heart disease and the other serious illnesses caused by secondhand smoke. North Carolina is setting a powerful example for other tobacco-growing states and communities, indeed for the entire nation, by taking strong action to address the devastating toll of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.
We applaud the North Carolina leaders who have championed the new law, including Governor Bev Perdue, bill sponsors Representative Hugh Holliman and Senator Bill Purcell, and the North Carolina Alliance for Health. Their legacy will be better health for North Carolinians for generations to come.
The North Carolina law adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect everyone's right to breathe smoke-free air. Once all enacted state and local laws have been implemented, 62 percent of Americans will be protected by strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids