Government

More News | | | Editor

Augusta smoking ban fails to get commission approval

Commissioners vote down attempt to toughen ordinance

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 10:35 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 2:21 AM
  • Follow Latest News

The Augusta Commission snuffed out an attempt to toughen the city’s smoking ordinance Tuesday night, with many calling it a government intrusion.

Supporters still hope it can be brought back up. But for Commissioner Corey Johnson, who made the motion for approval, it would be “next year.”

Even after removing a ban on smoking in a vehicle with minors present from the ordinance, the measure failed 3-6-1, with Commissioner J.R. Hatney abstaining and only commissioners Matt Aitken and Jerry Brigham joining Johnson in supporting it.

The city is currently operating under state law, which bans smoking in public places where a child could be present but allows it in establishments for adults, such as bars and restaurants that do not admit anyone younger than 18.

Johnson had pushed for the ban in vehicles with anyone age 14 and younger, saying “the kids do not have an option” of not being exposed.

California and Arkansas as well as many cities prohibit smoking in a car with a child 14 or younger. According to an article published online earlier this month in the journal Pediatrics, the percentage of nonsmoking children in grades 6-12 who were exposed to secondhand smoke in a vehicle in 2009 was 22.8 percent, a decline from 39 percent in 2000 but still a concern to the authors.

Brigham argued the tougher ordinance would help nonsmoking workers in public places who might be exposed to secondhand smoke.

“I do believe that is a necessity for their health,” he said.

“We’re not saying people can’t smoke but have respect for people around them,” Johnson said.

Opponents said the ordinance was an overreach by government and would infringe on the private property rights of bar owners and others.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said it would essentially force business owners to make their employees and customers stand out in adverse weather to smoke.

“That is intrusive on private individuals in my opinion,” he said.

In Georgia, Savannah bans smoking in bars and Athens-Clarke County, Decatur and Columbia County have all adopted stronger bans, while efforts have stalled in other places.

Advocates including Eric Bailey, Georgia’s advocacy director for the American Cancer Society, said they will not give up but know it will be a fight.

“It’s an uphill battle in Georgia,” he said.

Johnson said he had a feeling the vote would be split before the meeting, but apparently the support is not there to bring it up again.

“Next year, it may be,” he said.

Comments (13) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Dixieman
12936
Points
Dixieman 02/22/12 - 12:19 am
0
0
Wow! First sensible thing

Wow! First sensible thing they have done in years!
And kudos to the AC for the wonderful pun in the first sentence of the article, "The Augusta Commission snuffed out an attempt to toughen the city’s smoking ordinance Tuesday night, with many calling it a government intrusion."

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/22/12 - 01:13 am
0
0
They could have said

They could have said proponents of smoking ban got their "butts" kicked. (may not make it through censor).

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 02/22/12 - 01:47 am
0
0
I absolutely hate cigarette

I absolutely hate cigarette smoke. However, as an adult, I can make an educated decision as to where to go and not go - I do not need the government to do this for me.

Excellent Decision by the Commission - Great Job!!

agustinian
671
Points
agustinian 02/22/12 - 06:33 am
0
0
This is one area where the

This is one area where the ban should have been passed. I can't think of another activity where one person's actions so invade the space, lungs, taste, and health of another. If a person came over to you and injected you with 50 cc's of nicotine you would be offended, and the law would prohibit that. If that person does it by exhaling smoke into your lungs -- that assault is somehow part of "freedom." Not buyin' it.

storiesihaveread
332
Points
storiesihaveread 02/22/12 - 06:39 am
0
0
You can smoke in your house

You can smoke in your house with your kids but not in your car. I do believe the same smoke that will affect a person in a car is the same smoke that is in ones house. I am an ex-smoker I have to admit I can no longer stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Much less on a person that just smoked a cigarette. But it is not my right or the right of a govt, to tell a person when and where they can smoke in public

seenitB4
81473
Points
seenitB4 02/22/12 - 06:49 am
0
0
augustinian.....Wouldn't they

augustinian.....Wouldn't they have to give you mouth to mouth for that ???
They made the right decision.....enough with gov. mandates.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/22/12 - 07:42 am
0
0
I would think people would be

I would think people would be offended if someone came up and injected ANYTHING into them since around 50cc of air can kill you, depending on if injected into the circulatory system. Well, that and it would hurt like all get out since 50cc is 10x the max of anything that should be injected im. All of that aside, we are not talking injections, we're talking smells and the chemicals that cause them. Every day we're confronted with smells we may not like, whether it's perfume, debris burning, diesel smoke, the smell of foods from restaurants, or factories (Federal Paper comes to mind). The only way you are going to avoid this is to live in a sterile bubble, or should we ban everything that smells as well?

seenitB4
81473
Points
seenitB4 02/22/12 - 07:47 am
0
0
tech said or should we ban

tech said
or should we ban everything that smells as well?

I'd like to ban GOB sometimes....but he reminds me of the bills he pays here...lollol
:)

fatboyhog
1809
Points
fatboyhog 02/22/12 - 07:56 am
0
0
The fact that this ban was

The fact that this ban was even CONSIDERED leads me to believe that our wonderful local leaders do not understand that we, the the people, want LESS government, not more. When are they going to understand this?

david jennings
563
Points
david jennings 02/22/12 - 08:14 am
1
0
I hate smoke to. With me

I hate smoke to. With me it's not the smoke, it's gov. intrusion in the private sector. Gov. buildings, property, fine. But owners should know what is best for their investments. It too bad common courteousy has to be mandated and you would think one would not need to be told it's not healthy to smoke around children. A child doesn't have the benefit of discretion. Rights and Responsibilities should go hand in hand.

nanowerx
1259
Points
nanowerx 02/22/12 - 08:47 am
1
0
Yay for property rights! I am

Yay for property rights! I am actually a little dumbfounded right now, this is one of the few good decisions the Augusta Commission has made in years, I assumed it would pass.

Look, I am an adult and It is easy to figure out what bars don't allow smoking. If I were a non-smoker I would make it a point to visit those establishments, not dictating my morals to the other ones who want it allowed. How about we start using the government to improve the liberties we have instead of stripping them away. The Commission should be actively working on bringing entertainment to the area instead of spending time deciding whether to force private businesses to follow nanny-state laws.

allhans
23267
Points
allhans 02/22/12 - 09:11 am
0
0
I will gladly take the

I will gladly take the cigarette smoke over perfume and aftershave, and the... B.O. Oh MY!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/22/12 - 10:06 am
0
0
“If a person came over to you
Unpublished

“If a person came over to you and injected you with 50 cc's of nicotine you would be offended, and the law would prohibit that. If that person does it by exhaling smoke into your lungs -- that assault is somehow part of "freedom." Not buyin' it.”

Yes I would be offended if they attacked me with a needle (Assault). Now if they had it in their hand and I purposefully jumped on it….not so much (NOT assault).

As far as the smoking in a few places around town, I’d be a responsible adult about it and choose to patronize one of the tons of non smoking establishments so I do not impose on anyone else (FREEDOM) and at the same time easily protect my health.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/22/12 - 10:17 am
0
0
Nice to see so many common
Unpublished

Nice to see so many common sense and courtesy posts on this issue...People who get it. Its not about the smoking healthy vs not, its about rightss. Business owners should have the right and freedom to open a smoking establishment if that is who they wish to cater to.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 02/22/12 - 11:46 am
0
0
techfan federal paper hasnt
Unpublished

techfan federal paper hasnt been in business in over a decade its internationl paper has been for a loooong time....and yes finally i dont see whats the big deal only places you can smoke are in bars in richmond county...cant take your kids there and you are more than likely drinking and driving home so the do gooders that dont like the smoke boo hoo hoo are the same menaces driving home intoxicated

twolane
191
Points
twolane 02/22/12 - 11:50 am
0
0
it so funny all my family
Unpublished

it so funny all my family smoked and all us kids grew up healthy as horses played sports even made it to college playing sports you folks act like smoke is gonna make the kids drop dead on contact puuuhhlease...its just more of the same wanting to impose what you want and you think is right on masses that dont want it to begin with alot like christianity

harley_52
22116
Points
harley_52 02/22/12 - 01:09 pm
2
0
I hate cigarette smoke and I

I hate cigarette smoke and I rarely patronize a business where it's allowed. There is a principle involved here that's larger than my personal preferences and it has to do with property rights and freedom.

I wholeheartely applaud the Commission's decision.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs