NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – January 2, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the North Carolina Smoke-Free Restaurants and Bars Law. Since 2010, people throughout North Carolina have enjoyed restaurants and bars serving up what you ordered without the health hazards of tobacco smoke. Removing it has improved health, our community, and business along the way. The top five accomplishments of this law are:
1 – Cleared the Air! Air quality in restaurants and bars has improved 89 percent! This is good news for patrons and employees alike!
2 – Improved Health! Average weekly emergency room visits for heart attacks have been reduced by 21 percent and for asthma attacks by seven percent!
3 – Helped Reduce Smoking! This one change has helped increase the number of calls to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW tobacco cessation quit line. Smoke free places have also encouraged kids not to start, supporting the continued drop in smoking rates for middle and high school students!
4 – Changed Us! Growing support for the law has encouraged other businesses to go smoke free voluntarily. The majority of people polled, smokers and nonsmokers alike, support smoke free environments. People now cannot imagine allowing smoking in restaurants and bars!
5 – And It Happened Without Hurting Business! Studies in North Carolina and across the country show no negative impact on restaurants/bars income or employment. For our tourist driven economy, that is really good news! Reducing everyone’s exposure to secondhand smoke is just good business.
So, while making resolutions for the New Year, remember to thank our local businesses for supporting our health! Happy Fifth Anniversary, North Carolina! For current information on tobacco prevention programs and policies at the New Hanover County Health Department, please call 910-798-6500. For health-related news and information visit the New Hanover County Health Department’s social media outlets: www.twitter.com/nhchealth and www.facebook.com/nhchealth and website: www.health.nhcgov.com.
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Deputy Health Director