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Augusta smoking ordinance moves forward

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The Augusta Commission is moving forward with drafting a potentially tougher smoking ordinance, but the public will get its say first.

The Public Service Committee of the commission voted 3-0 on Monday to have City Administrator Fred Russell work with the Richmond County Board of Health, which is backing a push for a stronger smoking ban, on drafting a proposed ordinance.

The health board had provided commission members with a model ordinance that has been used to draft stronger local bans across the country, including in Columbia County, Board of Health attorney Harry Revell said. Ordinances based on that model policy have fared well in court challenges, said Augusta general counsel Andrew MacKenzie.

"With ordinances that are substantially similar to the model ordinance, the courts have been very receptive in upholding these kinds of regulations as being constitutional, within the realm of the local government authority to protect the public safety and the welfare of the citizens," MacKenzie said.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham, who also sits on the Board of Health, asked Russell to begin scheduling public hearings in hope of getting public input and perhaps bringing the ordinance back to the commission in its September meetings. Some commissioners sounded as though they were ready to vote for a tougher ordinance now.

"Many businesses are not going to like it at first," said Commissioner Bill Lockett, whose son is a tobacco prevention researcher. "But sometimes we have to be more concerned with the citizens and their health and well-being."

Commissioner J.R. Hatney said he quit smoking in the 1960s.

"I don't see what the big argument is, really," Hatney said. "I'm serious about that."

The city is covered by a state law that bans smoking in most public places but allows it in bars and restaurants that do not serve anyone younger than 18.

The model ordinance sets a ban on smoking in public places, including all county-owned property and vehicles, playgrounds and even outdoor workplaces such as construction sites.

"It's a public health issue, and that's what public health does," said Sadie Stockton, the chronic disease prevention/health promotion program coordinator for the East Central Health District. "We protect the safety and the health of everybody."

After Monday's meeting, Health District Director Ketty Gonzalez, who is also the health commissioner for Richmond County, said she was encouraged by comments from commissioners.

"I think that they saw the numbers and they understand the need," Gonzalez said. "That's a positive move. I hope that the community sees it that way. That's possibly the challenge, trying to tell people we're not trying to control your life. We just want to make sure that we have a safe Richmond County."

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socks99
250
Points
socks99 07/25/11 - 02:09 pm
0
0
Expect some economic fallout

Expect some economic fallout particularly among the younger crowd that enjoys smoking in bars and clubs. There will be absolutely NO health gains because second hand smoke exposure by non-smokers is not a significant health hazard.

In fact, rather than 'protect' non-smokers, the 'do-gooders' are actually targeting smokers and trying to force them to stop; for instance, the new rules target the smokers in the bars, clubs and restaurants where they most like to smoke.

In addition to their falsified data, and dishonest motivations, many in the smoking ban business are seeking greater budgetary priority to help themselves.

If health departments were really interested in improving health, they'd do these two things:

1. Provide acute care treatment on a walk-in basis.

2. Demand federal or state law that FORCES all medical providers to publish the prices for their services.

In general, it's sad to see Augusta go down the same road so many others have gone; it's about the weak-mindedness of current leaders, the bullying and falsities of 'do gooders,' and a variously lazy, duped or selfish public. This soft-core Prohbition of one-more-substance will, indeed, deliver all the negative consequences and outcomes of the original Prohibition. And it DIDN'T HAVE TO BE!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 07/25/11 - 02:25 pm
0
0
One fallacy Socks, is the

One fallacy Socks, is the economic fallout. People won't quit going to bars just because they have to smoke outside. Empirical data from other states who did this years ago prove you wrong.

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 07/25/11 - 02:34 pm
0
0
"a variously lazy, duped or

"a variously lazy, duped or selfish public"

A perfect description of the smokers!

Too lazy to properly dispose of their butts.

Too duped by the tobacco industry to realize they have been purposely addicted to nicotine.

Too selfish to realize that second hand smoke IS a problem for the healthy, much less people with asthma or other health issues, or those of us who simply do not want our food, drink, and clothes ruined by the reek of cigarettes.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/25/11 - 03:06 pm
0
0
This is just crazy. Most
Unpublished

This is just crazy. Most restaurants already have no smoking rules and I'm perfectly fine with that (Yes, I'm a smoker). I also go outside my house to smoke and it's no big deal. As for bars.... it's okay to go there and drink alcohol so smoking isn't much different. Some bars already have designated smoking areas. This is just too much control over people's lives. The commissioin should be worried about much more important things.

MercadiesMX1983
13
Points
MercadiesMX1983 07/25/11 - 03:52 pm
0
0
Socks99- I agree with you....

Socks99- I agree with you.... Nicely put : )

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 07/25/11 - 04:45 pm
0
0
Here we go again, if second
Unpublished

Here we go again, if second hand smoke is indeed all that bad then I
would also encourage the whiners against diners to also include the
second hand smoke from our factories, from charcoal grills, from auto
and trucks, and from any other source that creates smoke. Also, let's
ban all this hot air that these health nuts shout until you have scientific
proof that cigarette smoke is any worse than the forementioned1

Brad Owens
4922
Points
Brad Owens 07/25/11 - 05:12 pm
0
0
Great move... Brad

Great move...

Brad

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/25/11 - 05:14 pm
0
0
If they came up with the
Unpublished

If they came up with the option for restaurants or bars to add some type of certified, well vented room for the smokers- I'd have no problem with that

Central Ave
0
Points
Central Ave 07/25/11 - 05:36 pm
0
0
This is THE best thing that

This is THE best thing that this community can do to improve the health of its citizens. The bar owners will scream and yell that their business will be destroyed. All evidence is exactly the opposite occurs. I lived in a very large city in the tobacco belt. When a complete smoking ban in ALL public places was enacted not one bar or tavern went out of business. Not one. Six months after smoking was banned the tavern and bar owners all agreed it was the best thing that ever happened. Their business went up because people with disposable income who hated second hand smoke with very sold scientific reason returned to their businesses. Plus their employees were overjoyed about not having to inhale poison in the workplace. The evidence is so overwhelming on all counts this should not even be debatable. If Augusta wants to be recognized as a major player in the American health education world, then we need to clean up our air of second hand smoke wherever it is possible. Dublin, London, New York,Lexington and Louisville Kentucky banned it and even our friends across the river banned it. It is way be
yond time we joined the rest of the world in not exposing our citizens to tobacco poison in any and all public places.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 07/25/11 - 05:44 pm
0
0
Well let's just make it

Well let's just make it illegal to smoke and everyone wins, right!

Now what to do about all those who indulge in alcohol and are a threat to the millions of non-intoxicated drivers on the road. Such a danger to our health and life for that matter. We must do something about it. Let's ban alcohol in restaurants and bars as well and then we won't have to worry about either vice and everyone will be healthier and people can drink and smoke in their own home.....

boredinaug
97
Points
boredinaug 07/25/11 - 08:35 pm
0
0
I am not a smoker or a

I am not a smoker or a drinker...I'm just irritated by needless Government inteference in EVERY aspect of our lives. Augusta air quality is BAD, period. Wish we could attribute it all to SMOKING...but alas we cannot. I wonder if Augusta's government/citizens are willing to close the factories, stop driving vehicles, etc. to remedy our REAL air pollution problem. Didn't think so. This article ran in April 2010 in the Augusta Chronicle. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/health/2010-04-28/pollution-lands-augu...

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/25/11 - 09:40 pm
0
0
I agree ICL, these people
Unpublished

I agree ICL, these people like Central Ave, the BOH, and their ilk are so worried and whiny about a "possible" in a bar they may go to every so often, yet not even a 1/1000 of that passion for the worse and more likely chance they may be hit by a repeat offender on the road who gets nothing more than a misdemeanor for dui 4, 5, 6, 7 etc...... Lets not stop them, lets concentrate on those devil smokers even though most of the whiners are probably the same people who choke me out of multiple establishments and send my allergies into a frenzy over that gallon of musky armpit like smelling so called perfume they wear. I can't go into those shops who burn incense, know what I do..... DON"T GO!!!!! what a concept huh???? I don't whine and whine and try to get laws to ban that store owner for creating and enjoying his dream business, I simply find another place to shop.

These thick headed people may get their priorities straight if one of those RO drunks kill someone in their family, tragedy may be the only thing they will understand to get it, but sadly even with the thousands of innocent people and children killed each year by these drunks, they still think its better, for their own selfish reasons, to waste time and energy on preventing a couple bar owners the freedom to determine if they want to have a smoking establishment or not in their small adult based business rather than something more important that is way more of a risk to millions of innocent people everyday. It's hard to believe there are so many people so "passionate" about this subject that in reality they should just only visit non smoking establishments, yet the very bars they are wanting to stop this in, they have no passion or worry about being on the road with a bunch of drunks driving home from that same smoke free bar.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 07/25/11 - 10:56 pm
0
0
The commissoners don't even

The commissoners don't even have a clue to do what needs to be done to make our city better. The last thing they or any government entity needs to do is to mkae it illegal for adults over 18 years of age who can legally smoke to be able to legally do so in a private business establishment that caters to 18 year olds and older exclusively.

We don't need more laws to "protect us" from ourselves be it this or trans fats or too much soda consumption.

The government needs to get back to the basics - When you can't even do that well, why take on something new.

boredinaug
97
Points
boredinaug 07/25/11 - 11:42 pm
0
0
I couldn't agree more with

I couldn't agree more with ICL, GAStang22, and Asitisinaug's comments...thank you for your insight!

Sentinel
1
Points
Sentinel 07/25/11 - 11:56 pm
0
0
Anyone who thinks the Federal

Anyone who thinks the Federal Government really wants people to stop smoking, lose the tax revenue from tobacco, and put countless people out of work from said quitting, raise your hand....

The government doesn't want people to stop smoking or using any form of tobacco. Their pretense at being on board with the anti-smoking movement does nothing more than justify imposing a 'sin' tax on tobacco. They couldn't care less if you set yourself on fire trying to light your favorite cigar. The State and County governments don't care either. It's currently so PC to jump on that bandwagon, and hey! They might get a few bucks from flagrant violators too!

Hypocrisy reigns supreme in our government.

Any of you silly enough to raise your hand, please put it down.

Central Ave
0
Points
Central Ave 07/26/11 - 06:42 am
0
0
The arguments listed above

The arguments listed above which bring in drunk driving are in a word, ridiculous. STAY ON TOPIC! The topic is NOT drunk driving and there is no valid comparison. The topic is second hand smoke...period. Either you believe you have the right to poison and kill someone else with second hand smoke or you do not. Any sophomore level course in argumentation and debate teaches the lesson the first week of class. Stay on topic. Most cities with governments who care about public health now realize the second hand smoke is lethal. If you open your establishment to the public and are licensed by the local or state government you have an absolute duty to provide a non-toxic atmosphere. In this case, freedom from trumps freedom to. No contest.

tl_clay
7
Points
tl_clay 07/26/11 - 07:40 am
0
0
@socks99 I agree with you,

@socks99 I agree with you, completely.

There is something to be said about a society that cares more about smoking in the bars & restaurants, than the drunkards that trickle out and kill families and teenagers. Yes, I'm a smoker -- and I have a theory: don't want to be around smoke? Don't patron a place that allows smoking?

Rocket science really isn't your thing, Augusta -- is it?

tl_clay
7
Points
tl_clay 07/26/11 - 07:45 am
0
0
@Central Ave So, let me get

@Central Ave

So, let me get this straight: you are more willing to waste your time arguing that we are "poisoning" you with second-hand smoke than to argue the deaths caused by drunk driving? You state that we have to decide whether we have the "right" to kill (dramatic much) you - or not...tell me, how is this "off topic" if we are discussing much MORE potent & lethal actions that happen in the same place in which you would ban smoking?

Oh, I know -- because you're only fighting the battles you know you might have a chance at winning. /nod I get you, really - I do. But check this: there are more important things to worry about, like drunk driving, wars, deficit, and the decline in jobs than whether or not someone is smoking in a place that you are, more likely than not, getting drunk in.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 07/26/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
If you want to bring things

If you want to bring things into perspective with the drunk driving argument, tell me how many people are endangered with your second hand smoke vs DWI's on the road. It isn't a valid argument. Neither are good, but I will agree that people have a choice to visit a smoking establishment whereas you don't have much of a choice to avoid a drunk on the road.
Not to sound like a broken record, but all I ask is that an establishment provide me with a totally smoke free atmosphere if that is what they advertise; not a piece of lattice between me and the addict. As far as I'm concerned they could have separate entrances to separate dining areas as long as I don't have to be exposed to the stench.
Private owned business people should be left to choose how to run their business beyond that.

tl_clay
7
Points
tl_clay 07/26/11 - 08:29 am
0
0
@Vito45 -- I don't

@Vito45 -- I don't necessarily agree with everything you said, but -- your compromising argument is adult and to the point.

Private businesses SHOULD be able to make their choice as easily as a person can make a choice on whether or not to go inside the business.

Let's get real - Ga law states that it has to be a bar or restaurant that only serves 18 years or older. It's no longer just a restaurant with a smoking or non-smoking section.

How many of you are REALLY going into the smoke-filled places, or even have any want to go in them? Let's be honest here. I'm a smoker and I have no desire. /shrug But, don't misquote me -- it's not because of the smoke.

allhans
24974
Points
allhans 07/26/11 - 08:50 am
0
0
I don't smoke but this

I don't smoke but this ordinance is way out of line.
Trash it and move on to a more productive issue.

noway
201
Points
noway 07/26/11 - 10:48 am
0
0
It's about time!! Augusta is

It's about time!! Augusta is WAY behind many other cities on this. Progressive cities have passed this ordinance. There is no economic fallout - smokers are getting used to it. There are way more non-smokers who don't go to bars because of the smokers than there are the opposite. Oh how nice it will be not to smell like a cigarette after hanging out with friends. PASS THIS ORDINANCE!!

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 07/26/11 - 11:09 am
0
0
"also include the second hand

"also include the second hand smoke from our factories, from charcoal grills, from auto and trucks, and from any other source that creates smoke"

I'm all for tougher environmental laws that target autos & other industries. What makes you think that I wasn't? Clean air is clean air.

P.S. On average smokers die 22.5 years earlier so you won't have to listen to my "whining" for very much longer.

gametime
0
Points
gametime 07/26/11 - 11:31 am
0
0
My guess is that many of the

My guess is that many of the people claiming that the bars/restaurants will take a hit financially if a smoking ban is enforced upon them, either aren't smokers or don't go to bars often. Many smokers actually prefer to smoke outside regardless of the bar/restaurant's preference.
In fact, a large majority of workers in bars are smokers and they too often go outside to smoke. Some bars have pre-emptively decided to ban smoking inside on their busiest nights and it makes the experience more enjoyable for both smokers and non-smokers, and hasn't hampered business in the slightest. Basically, it appears that smokers feel like "the man" is trying to "hold them down" or is "out to get them". Maybe "the man" just agrees that people should be able to go have a beer and listen to live music without having smoke blown in their face by those that are less considerate. The best possible solution? Don't ban smoking altogether, just ban it indoors.

siretta lee
0
Points
siretta lee 07/26/11 - 11:39 am
0
0
Okay i understand wanting to

Okay i understand wanting to protect everyone, but what about the controlled burning. When you walk out of your home some mornings you can't see or breath, who are you protecting then?

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/26/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
Central, its not ridiculous.
Unpublished

Central, its not ridiculous. The point is, that people are going out of their way raising holy heck to stop small business owners from the freedom to choose to cater to smokers, while never putting forth even a small fraction of that effort to stop something that really saves lives. Kind of like the residents of Cherry tree holding a protest because their Internet connection isn't fast enough while on a nightly basis people are getting hurt and killed in their crime ridden neighborhood.

Let me ask you a couple questions. You got your smoking ban, except in adult only small business bars, but thats not good enough. Which of those bars is it you would like to go to but cant because of the smoke, and exactly how many times a week will you go when smoke free??????? And how many people do you know or links can you send me of people dying from second hand smoke from going to a bar every so often???? Now how many people do you know or links can you send me who die from a drunk driver, especially a repeat offender???? There is no comparison!!!! You are waging war on a freedom of adults to choose which is what this country is about, but nothing, absolutely nothing, is being done about the drunks coming out of that SAME bar you want smoke free and hurting and killing innocent people and children!!!!!!

Drunk driving is far more lethal than second hand smoke, you can't deny that can you?????? Be an Adult, don't want to be around second hand smoke, choose another bar, these people killed by drunks don't have a choice!!! Priorities are backwards and the passion is so misplaced. And that my friend is what is ridiculous!!!

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 07/26/11 - 11:56 am
0
0
Some scientists have measured

Some scientists have measured and calculated that wood smoke is more toxic than tobacco smoke.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/26/11 - 12:15 pm
0
0
And to top it off, you want
Unpublished

And to top it off, you want to restrict business owners and working people from smoking in an establishment they choose to patron, yet you are buying cigarettes, beer and drugs for millions of lazy non working baby factories on government assistance from cradle to the grave, but never requiring them to support their own habit then paying for their health care when it causes them to be sick. Wheres the outrage on that!!!! Priorities are all screwed up!!!!!! Why doesn't the government force something that would really make a difference in lives this country, like ending all these scammers on government assistance. If not the country.... just start with Augusta!!! Oh right, its not PC to force personal responsibility on people. Hypocrites!!!

j-campbell
2
Points
j-campbell 07/26/11 - 12:28 pm
0
0
Deliver me from the

Deliver me from the Do-Gooders!

gametime
0
Points
gametime 07/26/11 - 01:10 pm
0
0
GaStang: Patron is not a

GaStang: Patron is not a verb, its a noun. You are still free to patronize any business you'd like, this wouldn't stop you from that. You may, as well, smoke if you'd like, this also isn't keeping you from smoking. You just can't smoke indoors. Why should a non-smoker, who chooses not to put their body at risk in THAT way, have to find a different establishment to patronize because smokers can't walk 25 feet out the front or back door and smoke. Are you really that selfish? Do you also disagree with a law keeping you from smoking in your car? If there is a child in the car? Its your car, your decision, right? Who is the government to tell you that you can't strap your 2 yr. old in the car seat and chain smoke to your destination. The same applies here, although a child is helpless in the situation. People want to go enjoy their friends and a drink without having to smell like smoke for 2 days. I can understand that, so I choose not to smoke indoors.
P.S. Stay on topic, you're rambling about factories and government assistance....I agree with you on most points, but those are seperate issues.

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