Smoking ban advocates, opponents spar at Augusta hearing

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Health advocates sparred with bar owners, smokers and Libertarians at a public hearing Monday about a proposed smoke-free ordinance for all public places in Augusta. The law could get approval as early as today.

Mary Reese (left), of Augusta, smokes with Faith Lokey, of Thomson, at the corner of Cushing Lane in Augusta.    SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Mary Reese (left), of Augusta, smokes with Faith Lokey, of Thomson, at the corner of Cushing Lane in Augusta.

Commissioner Wayne Guil­foyle and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, who attended the hearing, said they thought the proposed ordinance was on the Augusta Commission agenda today, though it did not show up on the version posted on the city’s Web site.

Bowles, a nonsmoker, expressed concerns about telling private businesses they can’t allow smoking and would like to “tweak” the ordinance to exempt private clubs and some bars. He conceded he might not be in the majority.

“I’m sure it will be passed,” he said.

The ordinance would amend the 2005 state law that bans smoking in public places but exempts bars and restaurants that do not admit anyone younger than 18. The new law would not only ban smoking in public places, but also outdoor public areas such as playgrounds and construction sites.

Bar owners predicted dire consequences if it is passed. The Pub owner Sheila Herndon said 98 percent of her patrons are smokers.

“This will probably shut us down,” she said, after 17 years in south Augusta.

Lora Scarlet Hawk, the Breath Easy Coalition manager for the American Cancer Society, noted that Columbia County, Aiken County and other nearby places already have similar laws.

Smoking actually might be a business advantage for Augusta bars, said Robert McGee of the Libertarian Party of the CSRA.

“Everyone comes to Rich­mond County to have a good time,” he said, so market forces should prevail in deciding whether to allow smoking.

Similar economic fears were heard in Savannah, Ga., which passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance last year, but they did not materialize, said Amy Hughes of Healthy Savannah.

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Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/17/11 - 10:46 pm
0
0
VIVA LA SPIT CUP!
Unpublished

VIVA LA SPIT CUP!

KSL
129906
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 11:03 pm
0
0
What is the problem with

What is the problem with patrons or workers going outside to smoke? I can walk through that small area outdoors pretty quickly. As for inside, I do have a problem with that.

KSL
129906
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 11:06 pm
0
0
That being said, if a

That being said, if a business owner wants his patrons and employees to be able to smoke, I should be able to chose whether I patronize his business or not without government interference.

dichotomy
33021
Points
dichotomy 10/17/11 - 11:11 pm
0
0
Tell you what KSL. You stand

Tell you what KSL. You stand outside on a windy, rainy, 33 degree night and we will send your drink out to you.

MichaelJMcFadden
-2
Points
MichaelJMcFadden 10/17/11 - 11:39 pm
0
0
Re the confusion about when a

Re the confusion about when a smoking ban law is up for a hearing: it's a very common tactic of antismoking advocates to push such things through at the last minute while notifying their well organized networks to get a crowd out. The bar owners / smokers / Libertarian type opposition almost never has an organization to match such last minute things and the end result is that it always appears that the ban supporters represent the great bulk of the population. I don't know if this will be too late to help, but there's a short, printable, booklet (20 large print pamphlet-style pages) freely available at:

http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/PASAN/StilettoGenv5h.pdf

Print a few copies and bring them along for the media, councilcritters, and anyone who wants to fight the ban: it doesn't have the flash that the antismokers' professional materials have, but its facts are sound and their presentation is honest -- and it makes a STRONG argument against the bans.

And, as always, I invite anyone who has any specific, substantive criticisms of anything inside it to present them here. I promise I won't mind and I'll try to stop back to respond.

Michael J. McFadden,
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

MichaelJMcFadden
-2
Points
MichaelJMcFadden 10/17/11 - 11:54 pm
0
0
Additional note: It's funny

Additional note: It's funny when the Antismokers shoot themselves in the foot. Ban advocate Lora Hawk is quoted in the story:

>> “Your neighbors have already passed these ordinances,” she said, which means smokers can’t simply cross county lines to patronize other bars. <<

Despite her professional status in the fight she seems totally unaware that she's just supported the concern of Augusta bar owners that they will LOSE a significant amount of smoking customers and their friends that they have GAINED from those "crossing county lines to patronize" bars in Augusta.

Plus, something Antismokers never admit, but for which there is some good economic evidence, people don't automatically simply keep going to banned bars because there are no Free Choice ones left to go to: they stay home to drink instead, or simply party more in private homes, or seek out smoke-easy places that skirt the laws.

The Antismokers in Ohio shot themselves in the foot in a similar way a month or so ago when they presented a "New Report" that they thought would support the ban there. They bragged that about 70% of a survey pool said they went to bars just as much or more than before the ban. They weren't counting on some of the sharper bar owners and Free Choice activists checking the data out more carefully and discovering that while only 1% of smokers and 7% of nonsmokers said they were going out MORE often since the ban, a full 40% of smokers AND 20% of nonsmokers (!) said they were going out LESS since the ban.

It brings to mind the saying, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." The "Great American Antismoking Crusade" has a web as tangled as Big Tobacco's was back in the 60s!

- MJM

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 10/18/11 - 12:19 am
0
0
Sorry McFadden, but the data

Sorry McFadden, but the data from California and other places just don't support you on that, and my own experience doesn't either. I go to a little neighborhood place in ColCo and their business didn't miss a beat even though a significant number of their patrons are smokers. There is a covered deck out back where those who want to smoke and step outside and do so. There was another bar, closed now due to gross mismanagement after a change of hands, that I used to go in occasionally for a ball game and a brew. I was going there when the ColCo ordinance was passed, and he just set up a covered patio for smokers with a propane heater in the colder weather. Business never missed a beat until he sold it to a man who turns gold to horse apples.

I actually expected the impact to be greater because Rich Co did not have the same bar ordinance, and I figured most nicotine addicts would flock across the county line. Some did, but it did not appear significant from my observations. I just think business loss in most cases is a red herring. They should stick to the real issue which is freedom for the business owner to decide their own destiny.

marbee
16
Points
marbee 10/18/11 - 01:24 am
0
0
Vito45, I'll bet California

Vito45, I'll bet California doesn't have 2/3 of the year that is COLD! And the data in California didn't count small bars with, I believe it is10, employees. Funny how everyone got along in the pre-ban era. Of course now that Prohibitionist bullying has been made legal, the bullies want it all their own way.

MichaelJMcFadden
-2
Points
MichaelJMcFadden 10/18/11 - 02:08 am
0
0
Vito, I'll have to return the

Vito, I'll have to return the "Sorry" I'm afraid. Did you bother reading the reference URL I posted in my earlier post, or did you just assume I had no data? Read the outcome of the 2005 multi-state study I conducted with Dave Kuneman and read the entire study itself at the reference provided in that summary. You may *think* the "data from other places" supports you, but if you took a closer look at it you might have to think twice. Read Jacob Grier's column and my comments below it at:

http://www.jacobgrier.com/blog/archives/2210.html

and then consider how much of the "data" you think exists out there is similarly tainted.

We agree on the freedom thing however: smoking ban laws, despite the wacked out claims of Antismokers, are NOT comparable to other food and safety laws governing businesses.

In terms of anecdotal individual observations, you mention one bar you go to now, and another that you used to go to before it closed. That does not sound like you're on intimate enough terms with the management of a large enough sample of bars to really be able to make an accurate judgment of the effects of the ban. To see a wider range (about a thousand examples) of anecdotal evidence, including MANY personal quotes from owners and workers, visit SmokersClub.com and click on the "Ban Losses" item in the left hand column. It's not very up-to-date unfortunately: it took a lot of time and effort for four of us to put that list together back around 2007 and there have only been a very few sporadic additions since then. Still, it's a valuable resource for seeing effects on the micro-level.

Marbee, you're quite right about the cold! And partly right about the California law: the limit though is actually that the ban applies to workplaces with six or more employees. Bars or other workplaces that legally (heh, or illegally!) represent themselves as having less than six employees don't have to worry about the ban unless the workers object to smoking.

- MJM

MichaelJMcFadden
-2
Points
MichaelJMcFadden 10/18/11 - 04:25 am
0
0
And a quickie addendum this

And a quickie addendum this time: Dave and I only analyzed the effects in US states, but since then we've been able to see the effect in the UK. In the two years before their ban they had a pub closure rate of about 3 per week. In the year after their ban that shot up to 27 per week. The following year it went to 39 per week. And the year after that it hit 52 per week. They've lost somewhere over 5,000 pubs as a result of their ban.

And it's NOT "the economy." Chris Snowdon over in the UK did separate analyses for pub effects in four different "countries" based upon their four different dates of ban implementation: Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland (At the moment I forget if he included N.Ireland.) What he found was that even though the bans kicked in years apart that the pub losses followed the track of the bans... NOT the economy.

One of the biggest PubCo chains over there, Punch, supported the ban. They figured it would wipe out their smaller "wet-led" competitors while they themselves would survive and prosper from the leftovers. They said that pubs would do just fine if they took advantage of the "new opportunities" presented by the ban.

Check out this graph of what happened to them and their "opportunities" starting in 2007 with the UK ban:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aPnOFdbbDoI/ToovuKm8UcI/AAAAAAAABfo/9kagR-LtVn...

and then think about how much of the "data" you think is out there is giving you the whole story.

- MJM

Riverman1
84116
Points
Riverman1 10/18/11 - 04:28 am
0
0
Columbia County seems to be a

Columbia County seems to be a step ahead of Richmond as usual and has had the ban for years. It works well. Some of the bars have added outdoor areas which are cool. Kind of a sidewalk cafe type deal.

I'm as conservative as they come, but believe the air and water should not be polluted on any level with poisonous elements. Cigarettes are killers. Show me one study that refutes their deadly nature.

Riverman1
84116
Points
Riverman1 10/18/11 - 04:30 am
0
0
Interesting comments. When

Interesting comments. When someone dedicates himself to promoting cigarette smoking I have to wonder if they didn't take a wrong turn down around Ludowici.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 10/18/11 - 06:21 am
0
0
As a health care professional

As a health care professional (RN), and an ex-smoker (somebody has to keep the respiratory therapists company in the smoking areas), I don't look at it as promoting smoking, I look at it as promoting the RIGHT to smoke. Now, any place can limit the age for admittance to 18 or can opt for any age and be non smoking. I think that's a good compromise between smokers' rights and the anti smoking crowd.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 10/18/11 - 07:18 am
0
0
I say it should be up to the

I say it should be up to the business owners and those rights should not be stripped away. If a business wants to have a smoking area that is ventilated then they should be able to do that. I am not an advocate of smoking but I don't believe in peoples rights being taken away either. I also find it so hypocritical that the government keeps pounding to people how bad smoking is, so if that true then why not shut down big tobacco and make it illegal like any other drug. Also, coming in contact with the smell of smoke is not going to affect your health, long term exposure may but going out to a bar for a few hours is not, especially if there is ventilation to pull the smoke out. I have been into restaurants that allow smoking in a smokers section and there was no visible smoke or smell upon entering because they had proper ventilation. I believe there is actually a Smokers Café in Dublin, no one under 18 permitted. I think what bothers me the most about this is how people talk about rights as long as it suits their needs, the fact is you don't have to go to a business that allows smoking, simple as that, take your business someplace else and allow business owners to decide what is best for their business and their clientel.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 10/18/11 - 07:28 am
0
0
Riverman, sorry to tell you

Riverman, sorry to tell you but there are a lot of things polluting our air and our water so what do you think the government is doing about that? We could get into a debate about everyting that is bad and that is poisoning our bodies, so to me it is funny how people pick and choose a certain battle. What about fluoride in our water that is now proving to cause cancer what about growth hormones they are feeling poultry, cows, hogs and fish? What about pesticides they use on vegetables? If we really want to worry about our health lets be real about it. I wonder how many people who complain about smoke make trips through McDonalds or KFC and load up on artery clogging food? Just curious!

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 10/18/11 - 07:49 am
0
0
People will gripe about you

People will gripe about you smoking outside also. I was sitting outside with friends at our friendly oyster bar in CC when a family with kids decide to sit at the table next to us and then proceed to complain because people at our table was smoking, even asked us if we minded putting out our smokes which we politely told them we did mind and that was why we sat outside to start with. So you see, you have groups of people who want to control and dictate to others and who will always find something to complain about.

Little Lamb
46043
Points
Little Lamb 10/18/11 - 08:30 am
0
0
Riverman wrote: Columbia

Riverman wrote:

Columbia County seems to be a step ahead of Richmond as usual and has had the ban for years. It works well. Some of the bars have added outdoor areas which are cool. Kind of a sidewalk cafe type deal. I'm as conservative as they come, but believe the air and water should not be polluted on any level with poisonous elements. Cigarettes are killers. Show me one study that refutes their deadly nature.

Come on, now, RM. Your own statements contain inconsistencies. You say that we must not pollute the air “on any level” but then say that outdoor cafés that allow smoking at the tables are okay.

The “on any level” notion is non-sustainable. Factories large and small obtain EPA permits to discharge pollutants, but they keep the amounts below established limits where the resulting concentrations are deemed acceptable to public health.

The same principle should apply to cigarette smoke inside restaurants. As long as the concentration of smoke is below a certain level (the restaurants use ventilation to accomplish this), then smoking should not be banned. But the fanatics at the Amercan Cancer Society will not use scientific principles and instead use the heavy hand of government banning.

allhans
23672
Points
allhans 10/18/11 - 08:43 am
0
0
Smoking bans have gone way

Smoking bans have gone way too far. Leave smokers alone.

I don't smoke but I sure as heck know how to avoid it if I so wish.

Stop the foolishness. Leave the bars alone. They have to make a living too.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 10/18/11 - 08:44 am
0
0
Everyone is so concerned

Everyone is so concerned about not being able to smoke in "bars" while you sit and drink a beer, but what about the part that bans smoking in parks? Are they serious? Unless you are sitting next to someone smoking on a park bench I seriously doubt it is going to be an irratant to you. If so, get up and move. It might stink when you walk by but I seriously doubt it's any different than someone farting as they walk by.

Brad Owens
4449
Points
Brad Owens 10/18/11 - 08:53 am
0
0
Thank you Michael J. McFadden

Thank you Michael J. McFadden for your comments...now that we have heard from Big Tobacco, anyone else have someting to add?

Can we see the data that shows smoking is not dangerous to your health?

Breathing is not a choice, so putting poison in the air should not be either.

Smoke all you want in YOUR house, leave the common areas poison free please.

No one has the right to poison the air I breath.

Thanks,

Brad

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 10/18/11 - 08:56 am
0
0
Riverman, Let me point out

Riverman, Let me point out the fact for you that there are no bars in Columbia Cty.

Little Lamb
46043
Points
Little Lamb 10/18/11 - 09:02 am
0
0
Brad Owens wrote: No one has

Brad Owens wrote:

No one has the right to poison the air I breathe.

They might not have the right, but many people and corporations have permission from governmental environmental authorities to poison (i.e., pollute) the air you breathe. They just have to keep the poisons (i.e., pollutants) below regulatory limits.

Zero pollutants is an impossibility.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 10/18/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Bowles....Restaurants with

Bowles....Restaurants with bars.....I have had a few drinks in Columbiacounty---thankyou..
My fav. would be the cajun martini at the French Market Grille in Martinez.

allhans
23672
Points
allhans 10/18/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
If this was the only worry we

If this was the only worry we have, what a great world it would be.

Another of the weekly debates tonight. Opponents have lots of ammunition to fire at Cain this week.

I was glad to see the Obama ponzi scheme exposed/unveiled, I hope that puts an end to at least one shameful part of Obama care.
Let's hope it doesn't end here.
Look what you can find when you read a bill.

smartin1955
16
Points
smartin1955 10/18/11 - 10:04 am
0
0
Any City Council person who
Unpublished

Any City Council person who votes for the smoking ban, has either NOT been reading data concerning business losses from ECONOMISTS, or scientific data concerning second hand smoke from DOCTORS and SCIENTISTS. They have been listening to the paid lobbyists of pro ban, who are funded by the giant pharmaceutical company who sells Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, Nicoderm CQ, and Commit Lozenges.

Lora Hawk got run out of Macon for lying to the Council there. She admitted purposefully ommitting data concerning her own Univ of Georgia poll, which showed that 53.2% of those polled said NO to a smoking ban in bars, casinos, and clubs.

This information was also sent to the Augusta Council.

So WHY, prior to any public discussion, were these lobbyists working the Council, and WHY wasn't the public allowed to participate?

Follow the money.

MichaelJMcFadden
-2
Points
MichaelJMcFadden 10/18/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
Brad Owens wrote, "Thank you

Brad Owens wrote, "Thank you Michael J. McFadden for your comments...now that we have heard from Big Tobacco, anyone else have someting to add?"

And thank you Brad Owens. I believe that you may have blatantly given me cause to sue for libel. If you read even up to the second sentence of the Author's Preface of my book at http://www.Antibrains.com you will find my very clear statement on my non-connection with BigT. Would you care to formally retract and apologize?

Brad, you then go on to echo Riverman by saying, "Can we see the data that shows smoking is not dangerous to your health?" (RM had said, "Cigarettes are killers. Show me one study that refutes their deadly nature.") What you are both doing is employing a favorite antismoking debating trick: trying to make it seem that Free Choice folks have to be able to "Prove a Negative." It would be similar to my demanding a study from either of you proving that sunshine is not a killer (It kills about 60,000 a year from malignant melanoma according to the UN's WHO.) or that alcohol fumes in a restaurant are not a killer (Ethyl alcohol is both carcinogenic and highly volatile.)

Riverman, your comment about "I'm as conservative as they come, but believe the air and water should not be polluted on any level with poisonous elements." might apply to both of the above "deadly" exposures, but it also applies to ordinary tap water. Did you know that a single pint of government-approved-as-safe tap water has the same amount of "deadly" arsenic as you'd absorb from sitting in any decent smoking bar/restaurant for 165,000 hours? And did you know that the ordinary exhaled human breath contains up to 3,000 volatile organic chemicals that are deadly and poisonous at various levels (which is why your body is trying to get rid of them)?

Don't believe all the sound bites you hear from the Antismokers: do some reading and research. My reference above to the booklet in my very first posting here is a good place to start. Please feel free to accept my invitation for criticism if you like.

- MJM

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 10/18/11 - 12:00 pm
0
0
Seen it, There is a huge

Seen it, There is a huge difference in a bar and a restaurant.....So lets stay on the point I was making.
No smoking in private clubs??????
No smoking in my own office building that I own???????
No smoking e-cigs??????
This is a beginning of the end for freedom...

Chad
57
Points
Chad 10/18/11 - 12:13 pm
0
0
If they want smoking allowed

If they want smoking allowed in a bars, that are privately owned then so be it I will not visit that business. However, in a public park or in an area that is not privately owned then ban the smoking to certain areas away from the crowds. Being a non-smoker I can smell if someone is smoking more than 40+ feet away depending on the breeze. I find it offensive, nasty, and gives me an instant headache. Auto dealers you are probably loosing sales on vehicles because of smokers trading in their smoked filled cars. I passed on several nice pre-owned vehciles because of the smell of smoke in those vehicles. You just cannot get that smell out.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 10/18/11 - 12:16 pm
0
0
Smokers have a right to smoke

Smokers have a right to smoke - in their own homes. Period. Not in public where other folks are forced to breathe in their noxious fumes. Why should I have to walk through a cloud of cigarette stink to go into the mall or a bookstore?

Smokers complain about the "end of their freedoms" but what about the freedom of nonsmokers to breathe without choking? Smoking is a nasty, disgusting habit and smokers are the worst litterbugs on the planet.

I welcome any law that retains my "freedom" to live in a world and not be assaulted by cigarette stench every time I leave my home and go to a public place.

greygranny
0
Points
greygranny 10/18/11 - 12:20 pm
0
0
I really hate cigarette

I really hate cigarette smoke. That being said, I think we are far to harsh toward smokers. Really, for the most part, they have done everything we have asked of them. They can't smoke in most offices, restaurants and most retail establishments. They go outside most of the time. I think smokers have been most gracious in their attempt to accommodate the wishes of others. Now we don't want them to smoke in bars? I can choose not to go to a bar if I don't like the smoke. Until people that drown themselves in perfume and after shave are no longer allowed to stink up the place with harsh chemicals (far worse in my humble opinion), then let the smokers alone.

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