Ban on smoking in North Carolina goes to governor

RALEIGH — Smoking will soon be prohibited in bars and restaurants across North Carolina, a state where tobacco was once revered for the money it generated for farmers, universities and community institutions.

The state House on Wednesday narrowly approved a compromise with the Senate on a smoking ban. The legislation moves to Gov. Bev Perdue, who said she will sign the bill into law. The ban would take effect Jan. 2.

Perdue, a Democrat, called it "an important and historic day for North Carolina."

The bill, which passed 62-56, prohibits smoking inside bars and restaurants but doesn't affect outside areas of those businesses. The bill makes an exception for cigar bars, although bars cannot start selling cigars to skirt the ban.

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