Sunday, May 28, 2023

New Hanover considering revised prohibition on smoking and e-cigarettes in nearly all public places

New Hanover County's Health and Human Services Board will consider new regulations that could prohibit smoking and vaping in a wide variety of public spaces. (Port City Daily photo / File

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Smokers in New Hanover County will not be able to smoke in most public places, including publicly accessible sidewalks, if a proposed rule is ultimately adopted by county commissioners.

The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board is accepting public comments before a vote next month on a revised rule that would prohibit all forms of tobacco smoking, including e-cigarettes, in all public places.

This is a revised version of the rule adopted in December by the board, expanding tobacco prohibitions to private sidewalks accessible to the public while providing an exception for group therapeutic rehabilitation settings, according to a statement issued by the county on Tuesday.

RELATED: New Hanover County asks for public input on potential vaping and tobacco ban

If adopted by the board during its August 18 public meeting, a vote to pass it into law would go before county commissioners “at a meeting in the near future,” according to the county.

The law would ban smoking in restaurants and bars (except where permitted in unenclosed places), public parks, public sidewalks, private sidewalks open to the general public, government buildings, public streets, offices and commercial establishments where the public is permitted, common areas in multi-unit residences, and bus stops, among other public places.

The public can review the proposed rule (read below) and provide comments by noon on Friday, August 14 online or by emailing, including your name and address.

The public can listen to the teleconference board meeting by dialing 415-655-0003 at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, August 18.

The proposed rule cites an assessment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that traditional forms of cigarette smoking, along with vaping and secondhand smoke exposure, are leading preventable causes of illness and premature death in North Carolina and across the country.

The rule would prohibit smoking and vaping in the following places:

  • Restaurants and Bars (except where expressly permitted in unenclosed areas)
  • Private sidewalks accessible and open to the general public
  • Lobbies, hallways, and common areas in multi-unit residential facilities (apartment buildings, retirement facilities, nursing homes, etc.)
  • Offices and commercial establishments where the public is invited or permitted
  • Shopping malls and retail stores
  • County, town, and city buildings
  • County, town, and city vehicles
  • Any county, town, and city streets and grounds, except where expressly permitted
  • County, town and city parks, playgrounds, athletic field, and trails except where expressly permitted
  • Bus stops on county, town, or city grounds
  • Public sidewalks owned by the county, town or city
  • Public transportation
  • Child care facilities
  • Elevators
  • Polling places
  • Public restrooms
  • Galleries, libraries, and museums
  • Theaters, entertainment, and sports arenas
  • Gaming facilities including internet sweepstakes

The rule would allow smoking and vaping in the following places:

  • Personal residence
  • Personal vehicle
  • Designated areas of unenclosed sections in restaurants and bars
  • Privately owned unenclosed areas (business parking lot, business patio, etc.)
  • Smoking/E-cigarette shop
  • Cigar bar
  • Designated smoking/vaping guest room in a lodging establishment
  • Private club
  • Movie, TV, theater or other live production set, only for the actor portraying smoking/vaping
  • A public area at such time group therapeutic rehabilitation is being conducted

Read the revised rule below:

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