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Health Advocates Oppose NC Senate Smoking Bill

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(credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health advocates say a North Carolina Senate bill would repeal hundreds of local and community college rules restricting smoking outdoors.

The Senate Environment Committee passed a bill Tuesday that prohibits local governments and community colleges from enacting smoking bans that are stricter than state law. Bill sponsor Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson said he appreciates public health progress made in the state since it passed restrictions in 2010, but he thinks a line should be set at outdoor settings.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed concerns about how the bill would overturn smoke-free campus laws and specially designated smoking areas. The North Carolina Health Alliance counts 249 local ordinances under threat by the law and most of the state’s community colleges.

The bill now heads to another committee for review.

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