LPNC Press Release
RALEIGH (April 3) -- Restaurant owners and their lobbyists are choking on the second-hand smoke wafting from the back rooms of the North Carolina General Assembly, said a Libertarian Party of North Carolina spokesman. "It's ironic. They're coughing and wheezing in the smoke generated by their own attempts to burn the rights of all North Carolinians," said Brian Irving, LPNC communications director.
The restaurant owners were lobbying to ban smoking in all restaurants and bars. In a another of their infamous midnight maneuvers power-brokers in the General Assembly amended the bill just before the final vote to exclude bars and nightclubs.
"They also exempted non-profit clubs and country clubs, so apparently lobbyists for those special interests were in the house," Irving said. "Now the restaurateurs' attempt to maneuver and reverse course is obscured by their own smoke-screen. How fitting."
Irving said that there is no direct evidence to support linking any death to second-hand smoke. "This is not an issue about science or health, anyway," Irving said. "It is about rights. It is about a person's right to chose where they eat and drink, and about the right of a business owner to decide what they allow on their own property."
Irving, who is not a smoker, said non-smokers always have the choice to patronize restaurants and bars that don't allow smoking. Restaurant and bar owners can decide to go smoke-free if they think it will be good for their business.
"This bill simply strips us all of yet another opportunity to exercise our right to choose," Irving said. "Where will it end? Are hamburger lovers in danger of losing their right to have it their way?"
"In contrast, we know alcohol abuse causes more deaths than second-hand smoke, yet the state not only sells alcohol but profits from the sale of alcohol and tobacco. So why are legislators targeting smokers?" Irving asked.