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NC Senate to take up bill loosening smoking laws

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A North Carolina Senate bill invalidating some local government and community college smoking rules that go farther than state law is up for a committee vote.

The bill heads to the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee Tuesday. The bill leaves intact a local government's authority to bar smoking in state buildings and public places but ends their authority to enact their own laws in outdoor settings. The bill also applies to community college grounds and at outdoor college events.

North Carolina, the state perhaps most associated with the tobacco industry, has lagged behind others in passing smoking bans. But the state outlawed smoking in enclosed areas of almost all restaurants, bars and other businesses in 2010.

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