Fayetteville votes on smoking ban

(February 10, 2004) - (Fayetteville-AP) -- The battle lines are drawn in Fayetteville. Today voters go to the polls to decide whether to ban smoking in restaurants and workplaces. The emotional issue has prompted early voting in the referendum - nearly 21-hundred votes were cast by Friday. After tabling discussions several times, the city council passed an ordinance banning smoking in restaurants and workplaces, except tobacco retail stores, last September. The referendum was forced by signatures gathered by Free Choice Fayetteville, a group that opposed the ordinance. A pro-ban group, Smoke Free Fayetteville, says the vote is about protecting the health of future generations. Washington County registrar Karen Combs Pritchard says about 200 people a day have cast early votes -- a number she says is incredible for a special election.