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Failure of NC restaurant smoking ban masks other victories

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RALEIGH (AP) -- It was another painful defeat for anti-smoking forces in North Carolina when lawmakers shot down a proposed statewide smoking ban for hotels and restaurants.

But is was just one failure in an otherwise successful year for groups trying to reduce smoking and secondhand smoke.

The Legislature this year passed laws to ban smoking inside adult care and nursing homes, and in all state government buildings. University of North Carolina leaders can now prohibit smoking in more campus buildings and 100-feet buffer zones around them. Public schools also were told to adopt stricter no-smoking policies that also apply to off-campus events.

Governor Easley says lawmakers have moved faster against smoking than he would have thought possible in the nation's top tobacco-growing state. He says it shows the Legislature put public health ahead of the tobacco industry.

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