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For the second time a bill banning smoking in all public places has been proposed in the N.C. General Assembly.

The bill would make all public areas and places of employment — including restaurants and bars — smoke-free starting Jan. 2" 2010.

""The goal is to have people be able to go to public places without being exposed to secondhand smoke"" said N.C. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, who is on the House health committee which must approve the bill before it can move on.

When the bill was introduced in 2007, it failed largely because of opposition from the restaurant industry.

Insko said that this time, the bill might have a greater chance of passing.

They are not opposing it this time. As an industry" they are in favor of the bill now" Insko said.

Insko said the bill would be debated in committee Thursday.

The bill will be more likely to pass in the Senate if it passes in the House, said N.C. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange.

Kinnaird said she is an adamant supporter of the bill.

Smoking costs the state so much in unreimbursed expenses and smoking related illnesses" Kinnaird said.

We have even talked about raising the tax on smoking" but we still do have a tobacco industry.""

Kinnaird said she believes that more smoking restrictions would help to stop young children from starting and also to encourage pregnant women to stop smoking.

On-campus smoking at UNC within 100 feet of any campus building hasn't been allowed since Jan. 1"2008 forcing smokers away from buildings to places like the flagpole at Polk place.

A statewide ban would prohibit any smoking on campus" as the entire campus is state property.

Some smokers are upset at the possibility of being further limited in where they can smoke.

""I disagree about banning smoking in bars"" said sophomore Laura Stubbs. Restaurants are OK. Bars are an environment where smoking is a natural thing. Smoking goes along with drinking.""

The bill does have the support of the UNC-Chapel Hill Young Democrats. The statewide organization will lobby the N.C. General Assembly today in support of the smoking ban"" among other bills.

""We support this bill because of the number of young people who frequent bars and restaurants and are subjected to secondhand smoke"" said senior Andrew Bates, the statewide communications director of the Young Democrats.

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