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Some Augusta bars don't fear proposed smoking ban

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At Helga’s Pub and Grille on Central Avenue, cigarette smoke generally wafts in the air and the smell of stale smoke fills the carpet. Owner Dave Greenfield said two regular lunchtime customers leave their suit coats and ties in the car to prevent their clothes from soaking up the smell.

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Cory Harrison smokes a cigarette at Stillwater Tap Room in downtown Augusta. A proposed ordinance in Augusta would ban smoking in all public places, including bars.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Cory Harrison smokes a cigarette at Stillwater Tap Room in downtown Augusta. A proposed ordinance in Augusta would ban smoking in all public places, including bars.

The regular clientele at Helga’s, however, smokes far less frequently than just a few years ago.

“I’ve noticed people over the years are smoking less and less,” said Greenfield, a former smoker.

For the first time in the bar’s history, none of its bartenders smoke. Individuals should have the right to smoke or not smoke, he said, but a smoke-free establishment could protect his employees who often complain about second-hand smoke.

That’s one reason Green­field and other restaurant and bar employees aren’t fearful a proposed Augusta city ordinance to ban smoking in public places, including bars, could cost them significant business.

Health benefits from a smoke-free environment have many ready to make the change and willing to take a short-term profit loss. The proposed ordinance had two public hearings and could again be taken up by the Augusta Commission’s public service committee Monday.

Whether or not the ordinance passes, Helga’s could be smoke-free by the year’s end. Profits from a busy holiday season could make up for the initial business loss that Greenfield predicts will level out with time. It’s possible that even more customers could frequent the pub if they don’t have to be bothered by a smoke-filled environment, he said.

Another local business owner, Mark Coleman, the general manager of Carolina Ale House on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway, doesn’t expect the proposed ordinance to change his business. In 22 years working in the restaurant industry, he’s seen restaurants in other states carry on with a steady clientele after ordinances that prohibited or limited smoking.

“I think it’s great. It doesn’t make a difference. If everyone else has to do the same thing then it’s a non-issue,” Coleman said.

Except for a small percentage of restaurant diners that Coleman described as “die hard smokers,” people continue to eat out after legislation that banned smoking in restaurants.

“The guests know it’s not our choice. The county decides,” he said. “It’s a public place. It’s just like going into a government building. You used to be able to smoke in them. Now, you can’t.”

Sally Keiser tends bar at Stillwater Tap Room in downtown Augusta, and she hopes the ordinance passes for her own health and the health of her customers.

“People say, I have a right to smoke, but I have a right to be smoke free, too,” she said.

Keiser quit smoking only six months ago and said it was miserable to come into work each day and have to smell cigarette smoke and clean out ashtrays.

“I have no choice to be around it,” she said. “It’s disgusting.”

The smoking ban might upset a few customers, but Keiser said she thinks it will bring more people out to bars that don’t come because of the smoky air.

“I think a lot more people might come out,” she said. “In the long run, I think it helps everybody.”

Staff writer Gracie Shepherd contributed to this story.

SMOKING LAWS

Smoking laws vary by city and county. Augusta is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public places, including bars and private clubs, and outdoor work areas such as construction sites. Here’s a look at where smoking is allowed across the area:

COLUMBIA COUNTY

  • Private residences (except when used as a licensed child care, adult day care, barbershop, beauty shop, personal care home or other health care facility)
  • Hotel and motel rooms designated for smoking guests
  • Retail tobacco shops
  • Outdoor areas of employment
  • Outdoor dining areas with at least three open sides
  • Posts or organizations for current or former members of the military
  • Private clubs not open to the general public

AIKEN COUNTY

  • Private residences (except when used as a licensed child care, adult day care, barbershop, beauty shop, personal care home or other health care facility)
  • Hotel and motel rooms designated for smoking guests
  • Retail tobacco shops
  • Outdoor areas of employment
  • Outdoor dining areas with at least three open sides
  • Bars and restaurants that neither employ nor serve any persons under the age of 18
  • Bars and restaurants with enclosed private rooms that have an air handling system independent from the main air handling system and all air within the private room is exhausted directly outside
  • Posts or organizations for current or former members of the military
  • Private clubs not open to the general public

CITY OF NORTH AUGUSTA

  • Private residences (except when used as a licensed child care, adult day care or health care facility)
  • Hotel and motel rooms designated for smoking guests
  • Retail tobacco shops
  • Outdoor areas of employment except within 10 feet of entry to an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited
  • Private clubs not open to the general public
Comments (42) Add comment
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csrawarrior
0
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csrawarrior 10/22/11 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Attention sheeple!!!! The

Attention sheeple!!!! The government is not your mother!!! The government does not have the authority to take care of all your personal needs!! For the owners of "PRIVATE" businesses who have no fear or objection to this ordinance you do have the power and authority to not allow smoking in your business! Now a question for the business owners, what would you fear or object to? Sometime in the future the government says that you have to stop selling cheeseburgers because they are to fatty and are a health risk. Maybe the government thinks that the salt content in your food is too high; or what about alcohol, the most abused drug on the planet that is also responsible for about half of the estimated 40,000 plus deaths on the roads every year. Take heed, the government will continue to force things upon you as long as you let them!

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 10/22/11 - 04:56 pm
0
0
When did it become the job of

When did it become the job of the Augusta Chronicle to write one sided propaganda articles?

First, if those businesses REALLY thought it was a good idea for their business to be smoke free, they could be smoke free today. Some local bars already are smoke free except for designated rooms or outside patios and they have done so of their own accord, as it should be - not because new laws have been passed to control private businesses even more, especially those businesses where only adults are permitted to enter. When the county next wishes for alcohol to stop being sold after 12am on Saturday's like they do in Columbia County, are you going to be in favor of more restrictions? It actually could save a life. How about we just all stay home all of the time and we will all live very safely.

The very strict over reaching laws they are currently trying to pass are ridiculous, especially the outside areas adjacent to restaurants/bars where owners could allow outside smoking or failure to allow for a filtered room such as those in airports where smokers may enter if they wish to do so.

We don't need more laws. If anything, we need to stop passing more and more laws on a yearly basis and review all of the outdated laws that need to be removed. This however is the way government tries to work, it only wants to grow, have more control and ingather more in taxes.

raul
5336
Points
raul 10/22/11 - 05:33 pm
0
0
@asitisinaug. Spot on (as

@asitisinaug. Spot on (as usual).

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 10/22/11 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Great article and the feeling

Great article and the feeling of a majority of folks on this issue.

I might be able to go out and have a beer when I am home now.

I hope it passes.

Little Lamb
47048
Points
Little Lamb 10/22/11 - 08:29 pm
0
0
Why would they want to ban

Why would they want to ban electronic cigarettes in bars? I thought the selling point of the electronic cigarettes is that they don't create second-hand smoke for others to smell.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/22/11 - 08:36 pm
0
0
"First, if those businesses
Unpublished

"First, if those businesses REALLY thought it was a good idea for their business to be smoke free, they could be smoke free today."

Asitis, you nailed it. They care so much about the health of their customers and employees, yet aren't willing to sacrifice losing some business by doing a ban in a place they own. They want someone to blame it on so they won't lose any customers by ticking them off. If they really didn't think it would hurt their business and was really concerned about health, they would have made it smoke free already.

Greenfield said "Individuals should have the right to smoke or not smoke, he said, but a smoke-free establishment could protect his employees who often complain about second-hand smoke"

I definitely wont ever visit there again and will tell everyone else not to because this guy is full of bologna, just like the others they KNOW they will lose business if they make their place smoke free, but maybe not as much if they are forced to by someone else. Care about the health of others my foot. You only care about it to the extent that if it harms them, but you can make more money off of it, its ok right? No? then why do you allow smoking?????? There isn't a good enough reason!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/22/11 - 08:45 pm
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Little Lamb, you would think
Unpublished

Little Lamb, you would think they would encourage it if they cared so much about health. It helps smokers quit and enables them to be able to patronize places longer or more frequently. They love to twist things around to fit their own personal agenda and hiding behind the "health mask" for the bull they try to feed. I would like to know if any of these advocates are local business owners so I will know where NOT to go. I don't want to support anyone's business that believes and hides behind this whole load of bologna.

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/22/11 - 10:05 pm
0
0
So will we be getting a
Unpublished

So will we be getting a "Nicotine Police" to conduct random inspections of bars and restaurants in search of recalcitrant puffers and uncooperative bar owners? What's the point of having an ordinance if it's not enforced, right? You might need a new "crime" section for your publication. In addition to the DUI section for the drunks, you might now require a "Public Nicotine Abuser" section; Joe Shmoe, age 27, caught inhaling Marlboro Lights in a bathroom at the Country Club. Fined $1,000. Banned from smoking for 2 years.

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 10/22/11 - 10:25 pm
0
0
Brad Owens said "I might be

Brad Owens said "I might be able to go out and have a beer when I am home now."

You mean you can't go out and have a beer without a law mandating all bar owners to disallow smoking in their establishments even if they object?

pecksniffian
3
Points
pecksniffian 10/23/11 - 12:45 am
0
0
Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/23/11 - 12:56 am
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0
Statists. Nanny statists.

Statists. Nanny statists.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/23/11 - 01:15 am
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That is possibly the most one

That is possibly the most one sided article I have seen in this paper. There are plenty of businesses that have testified in these public hearings saying they would either lose business or go out of business if this ban was enacted. If a bar owner wants to be smoke free, that is their right. All it takes is them saying so. Thats the way it should be. Let the free market decide, not a government.

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 10/23/11 - 02:34 am
0
0
GaStang, Are you a

GaStang,

Are you a smoker?

Brad

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 10/23/11 - 02:57 am
0
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harley, Sure, if I want to

harley,

Sure, if I want to have a headache, my clothes smelling like an ashtray and want to take a shower when I get home to remove the smoke/poison smell from my body.

This is a good thing, you all can smoke in your homes if you like, just not public places where it can kill other people too.

Brad

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 10/23/11 - 03:27 am
0
0
Brad, I can assure you I am

Brad, I can assure you I am not a smoker and HATE the smell of it. However, the proposed law is very over restrictive and another example of government control over adults making adult decisions in adult only establishments. Alcohol is far worse and kills more people than second hand smoke so are you going to be as supportive when another freedom is removed or more restrictive times are placed on when you can or can't drink?

There are bars and nightclubs in Augusta now that are smoke free or have blocked off designated smoking areas within closed off enviroenments with smoke eaters, fresh air, etc. so that local ADULTS HAVE CHOICES when they go out.

Wild Wings offers an outside smoking patio after 10pm when they only allow 21 and up to enter but under this law, that will be illegal.

Somewhere In Augusta offers a back patio where you must be 18 or older to enter. I has multiple smoke eaters, its own AC sysetm, etc. which they have spent a lot to accomidate both smokers and non-smokers but under this law all they have spent will be a waste and they can no longer offer this area to smoker even though they are all legal adults.

The Country Club Nighclub with a capacity of 1,000 is smoke free except for a designated smoking area again with multiple smoke eaters, air systems, etc. so that ALL adult patrons have options which the government now wishes to take away.

Some corporate bar & grills such as Friday's, Applebees, etc. are smoke free and other non-corporate bars & nightclubs allow for smoking within their establishments all of the time but meet current laws and require all entering to be of adult age.

People have choices now and business owners have options. This law will basically take away all options from already over taxed business owners who pay a lot for business licenses, alcohol licenses, state taxes, alcohol taxes, state DOR smoking permits, etc. even though when smoking is permitted it is only done so because only adults may enter.

We have major issues in this area and placing new laws on the book such as this will not solve any of them, only create new problems for struggling businesses and place more restrictions on adult establishments.

Adults and Business owners now have options and we don't need ARC taking away all options from these business owners and patrons.

edspencer
0
Points
edspencer 10/23/11 - 04:25 am
0
0
Brad, sorry to hear about

Brad, sorry to hear about your olfactory disability but you might consider a career with the TSA. The 'underwear bomber wouldn't have had a chance.
Sniping aside, this article and the similar accompanying ones are like deja vu of a year ago. Same insipid rhetoric, different names. Six month after it was in effect, this is what we got up here:
http://www.kspr.com/videobeta/0ef31b2a-b775-45b4-bc60-567f725a30a8/News/...
Hate to have GaStang & Asitisinaug say, "...told ya so." next summer.

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 10/23/11 - 05:36 am
0
0
Well Ed, no "olfactory

Well Ed, no "olfactory disability" here, just a good olde fashioned negative reaction to carcinogens, pollutants, toxins, poisons and cancer-causing agents being put into my body.

Maybe you all are just super human and immune to the negative health effects of smoking coffin nails, but I am not.

No one, adult or not, has the right to poison the air I breath with this toxic deadly smoke.

This is not a property rights issue, this is a public health issue.

No one is saying you can't smoke in your own home, so do it there and enjoy the freedom to kill yourself on your own property.

If anyone tries to take away your right to smoke on your own private property I will be the first to defend you, but no one has the right to harm others.

Your right to smoke ends where my right to breath begins.

Brad

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 10/23/11 - 06:02 am
0
0
GaStang22 sez, "Funny, you

GaStang22 sez, "Funny, you refuse to address my questions. Is it because you do not have a good or logical argument? .......Obviously."

I didn't "refuse" I ignored most of it.

I am not sure what going point by point and saying the same thing will accoplish for you.

I do not smoke and do not support anyone's right to blow poison into the shared enviroment.

That is pretty simple and pretty logical.

The simple act of drinking alcohol doesn't damage someone else liver, that is why it is not the same. Now drink more than two drinks and get behind the wheel and you are breaking the law.

All of the supposed really smart contradictions you all post ignore the basic fact that smoking will kill other folks besides the addicted smoker sucking the smoke into their own lungs.

By you alls "logic" a business owner should be able to hire children to work, pay less than min wage, serve from a dirty kitchen, allow prostitutes to serve clients, not serve certain races and not pay taxes either.

All of those were once legal and now are illegal or well regulated. I wonder why?

So, are you all going to stick by your cancer sticks and say that child labor is OK if it is on private property?

Should the Health Departments regs about cleanliness of food prep areas also be the choice of the business owner?

What about race? Should you be able to serve only certain races on your private property?

What about ladys of the night? Should that be legal since it is a persons own body? I mean you can't get much more private property than that can you? So do all you smokers wanting to pollute the common air non-smokers have to breath too support legal whoring?

Because if not, you all have a very duplicitous argument here don't you?

Brad

Riverman1
87157
Points
Riverman1 10/23/11 - 06:22 am
0
0
The only analogy I can think

The only analogy I can think of with a smoker spewing out second hand smoke that injures others would be someone working at SRS who became contaminated walking around emitting radiation. Would we let him into bars?

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/23/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
AHHH, I get it now, Brad the
Unpublished

AHHH, I get it now, Brad the only place you do not have an option for is strip clubs.... is that it?

justthefacts
22767
Points
justthefacts 10/23/11 - 07:49 am
0
0
Cell phones on airplanes is a

Cell phones on airplanes is a pretty good argument as well. Why not? They have proven it would not interfere with navigation. Because it would irritate some passengers? Who is right in that situation?

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 10/23/11 - 09:34 am
0
0
Brad Owens “…just a good olde

Brad Owens

“…just a good olde fashioned negative reaction to carcinogens, pollutants, toxins, poisons and cancer-causing agents being put into my body.

Maybe you all are just super human and immune to the negative health effects of smoking coffin nails, but I am not.

No one, adult or not, has the right to poison the air I breath with this toxic deadly smoke.

This is not a property rights issue, this is a public health issue.

…but no one has the right to harm others.”

That’s a good argument as long as the premise “second hand smoke effects health” if true but is it?

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/23/11 - 08:13 am
0
0
bjphysics, regardless of the
Unpublished

bjphysics, regardless of the health issue, with the compromise in place now, there are a handful of smoking establishments vs thousands of non smoking ones. Rather than go somewhere else and let ADULTS who CHOOSE to take these LEAGAL poisons have a few places to do this in, they want to force others to live their way for their own selfish reasons. The only argument they have is there is no nonsmoking strip club which is what I am beginning to think is the issue!!! And that is wayyyy tooo funny and sad at the same time!!! LOL Think of all the health issues in those places, but as long as it fits their agenda, they don't care. Hypocritical to say the least.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 10/23/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
GaStang22: “The only argument

GaStang22: “The only argument they have is there is no nonsmoking strip club…”

This is clearly an area where federal stimulus money could be used to lower unemployment and yield a return on public investment; if a nonsmoking strip club is not critical infrastructure, I don’t know what is.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/23/11 - 08:34 am
0
0
HaHa!!!! You know it!!
Unpublished

HaHa!!!! You know it!!

Riverman1
87157
Points
Riverman1 10/23/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
GaStang22 asked, "Simple

GaStang22 asked, "Simple question Brad and Riverman, just like you chose to maybe not eat somewhere because of the food, frequent a bar because of the music, not watch a movie because it is not your taste. WHY can't you just choose NOT to go to a smoking establishment."

Because I like to hang around wild, wild people who usually smoke and if they can't it makes them even funnier. It's no fun getting drunk with the suburbian, Starbucks swilling people driving cars who are worried about somebody denting their doors and who are judgmental about construction workers laid off hanging out at the bar all day and night. I like to watch the absolute high drama of someone losing his entire unemployment check one night shooting pool. The out of work girls. Off duty cops. The girls from the beauty school next door who are beauties themselves slugging down shots before they go back to messing with hair. The occasional fist fight so good it rivals a pay-for-view fight.

But these same rough people are incredibly selfless and often buy beer for good listeners. I drive much better when I've had several beers and am relaxed. I really do. When it snowed and cars were sliding all over, it felt natural for me cause I always ride the slides well after a few beers. Everyone else was in the ditch, but I cruised right on.

Why should I have to endure poisonous cigarette smoke to enjoy the real people in this world?

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 10/23/11 - 11:12 am
0
0
Riverman, I counted seven

Riverman, I counted seven "I"s in your answer to GaStang22. With all due respect, that sounds like an awful lot of "I"s.

I like "wild people" too and I understand the desire to hang out with them occasionally. What I don't understand is your belief that they shouldn't smoke while they're providing your entertainment in a place you knew they were going to be smoking, but you chose to enter anyway. Have you no regard for them?

And what about the owner of the establishment? Has he no right to decide whether or not to allow smokers in his place? What will be his loss of customers, friends, and livelihood simply to accommodate you?

Brad Owens says he can't go have a beer without smelling like smoke and having a headache. I used to do it all the time without such suffering and without insisting my friends and bar owners changing their lives to accommodate me.

raul
5336
Points
raul 10/23/11 - 11:14 am
0
0
@Brad, the bar you owned

@Brad, the bar you owned downtown was smoke free, wasn't it?

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 10/23/11 - 11:45 am
0
0
The problem is how far will

The problem is how far will we go with the banning...will we have smoking patrols going after any smoker ANYWHERE---will doors crash at private homes because someone sees a smoker inside---will we have patrols in restrooms to catch smokers---cameras maybe---Enough with laws---If a bar allows smoking DON'T give them your business--I can't wait til we have the calorie police & a Big Mac is slapped out of a fatties mouth...not to mention pizza.....
I don't smoke & don't want smoking in my house BUT I realize I can't outlaw every habit that is bad for us...Should we outlaw unprotected sex
---maybe so lol---No sex outside of marriage & always with protection--
do you see how far this can go??? Each baby born will prove SOMEONE broke that law-----Land of the free...heheh....(only if we agree)

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 10/23/11 - 12:10 pm
0
0
seenitB4, you have nailed it.

seenitB4, you have nailed it.

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