Last holdout agrees to make New England restaurants smoke-free

CONCORD N.H. New Hampshire is expected to become the last state in New England to prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars now that the House has approved a ban by a vote of 224-117. A similar bill died in the state senate last year, but was easily passed this year.

Gov. John Lynch said he will sign the bill, which would take effect 90 days after he approves it.

Supporters of the ban argued that the law was needed to protect employees and customers from secondhand smoke. New Hampshire also outlaws smoking in such public places as offices, schools and hospitals.