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Proposed Augusta smoking ban might get tweaks as sides square off

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012 2:38 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 1:47 AM
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Some of the familiar arguments, but with a few new twists, were aired today during an Augusta Commission committee meeting to review a tougher smoking ordinance.

The two sides squared off, with nine bar owners, patrons and industry representatives opposed to the ban tucked into one corner of the Augusta Commission chamber while about 25 health advocates and ban supporters filled the adjacent center aisle. The Public Services Committee seemed split, with chair Corey Johnson offering suggestions for the ban and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle arguing on behalf of the property rights of owners to allow smoking.

General counsel Andrew MacKenzie will bring back the draft legislation, with optional language in some areas, to the committee meeting Jan. 30. But Bowles said it has been the same four commissioners involved so far and their positions are clear, so it would be better to send the proposed ordinance to the full commission.

With those six commissioners, “we have no idea where they stand,” Bowles said. “We could be wasting everybody’s time here” if there is already majority support.

Drawing on commissioner comments and sentiments from previous public hearings, MacKenzie will present optional language on e-cigarettes, the potential to smoke on city-owned grounds if the building is leased for an event and banning smoking in a car where children are present. Johnson had asked to have the cars added “because of the fact that those minors do not have a voice” concerning smoking in the car, he said. Johnson also said e-cigarettes appeared to be different than regular cigarettes because of their output.

“It’s more of a vapor versus a smoke,” he said.

But no one really knows what those devices are putting out and the city should be cautious about allowing them until more is known, said Sarah Balog, the government relations director for the American Heart Association.

“The science is still out on that,” she said.

For those opposed to the ban, the issue is a fundamental one.

Cigarettes are legal and current law allows smoking in adult-only places such as bars, said Pino G. Venetico, the president of the Independent Restaurant & Bar Association of Georgia.

“As a certain age, you have to have the liberty to make your own choices,” he said.

Balog said the ban won’t take away the right to smoke but instead require smokers to accommodate smoke-free indoor air for those who don’t smoke and employees of those places.

“We’re merely asking smokers to step outside,” she said.

Had she known that a ban was possible, Felecia Marcum said she would not have paid $5,000 to renew the liquor license for Frank’s Bar in Hephzibah. If bars are included in the smoke-free ordinance, “we might as well close,” she said.

But plenty of states, cities and counties surrounding Augusta have banned smoking in bars and those places “are doing just fine,” said Eric Bailey, of the American Cancer Society.

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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 01/18/12 - 04:02 pm
0
0
Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle arguing on behalf of the property rights of owners if refreshing to hear from elected government officials.

Smoking is legal and therefore ADULTS should be able to have places they can smoke if they wish that are adult entry only. Bars can easily ban smoking if they feel it is in their best interest but it should be based on choice not government "nanny state" intervention.

Just as the bar owners can choose to allow or stop smoking, patrons and employees (all adults) can choose to patronize or work there or elsewhere.

The real issue is no more unnecessary government regulation on small businesses which are already struggling and especially of ones that are only catering to legal adults.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/18/12 - 04:04 pm
0
0
Seems like more people who

Seems like more people who are opposed to this ban should show up in higher numbers. This is about government involvement where it does not belong. These bleeding hearts need to mind their own business and stay out of privately owned businesses. To Balog, the ban will not take away a right to smoke, just walk outside....are you kidding me? How about you choosing to go to a business that does not allow smoking...how about that? They are trying to ban smoking outdoors also, WOW what a hypocrite you are! As for the e-cigarette, what comes out is the same as what dry ice puts out so are you going to try to ban that next? Get a life people and stay out of others businesses. Some of these fanatic groups want to control the world and our government is allowing it to happen so shame on our state and federal government....

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/18/12 - 04:07 pm
0
0
One more thing to Mr. Bailey,

One more thing to Mr. Bailey, you stated that plenty of businesses are doing ok after the ban but have you bothered your self to find out how many businesses have closed from such a ban? I doubt it....

dichotomy
37448
Points
dichotomy 01/18/12 - 06:33 pm
0
0
A pox on the crusaders and

A pox on the crusaders and the commissioners that support them. You can't manage the spending and you can't manage the employees but you can always seem to agree to stick you nose in somebody else's business and to raise our taxes.

And Corey Johnson....so concerned about children who might be in a car with a smoker. How about all of the kids in his district penned up with parents smoking crack and marijuana? There are worse things than cigarettes in our society but nobody can do anything about the bad stuff so they pick on the smokers because they are an easy, law abiding, tax paying, target. Hypocrite crusaders make me puke.

My guess is that after they pass this thing, anybody caught smoking in the wrong place will get a bigger fine and more punishment than a crackhead.

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 01/18/12 - 07:27 pm
0
0
It's a shame those against

It's a shame those against the ban haven't attended any of the meetings concerning the ordinance, but there is still time to contact your commissioners @ http://augustaga.gov/index.aspx?nid=652. I have attended and spoken at each one, even after the media ripped me a new one. Tom Corwin neglected to include an important and obvious fact that was requested to be included: There is no law on the books that mandates a business to allow smoking. Establishments that wish to go non-smoking can do so at any time - without hiding behind the ordinance. Let establishments advertise whether they are a smoking or non-smoking and let the free market decide. This town is big enough for all of us........

socks99
250
Points
socks99 01/18/12 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Those in favor of the ban

Those in favor of the ban have been dishonest about their policy goals: This proposal is NOT to protect non-smokers or employees; it is specifically designed to target smokers in one of their last refuges: bars and club. While advocates talk about the harm of exposure to second hand smoke, they know that these harms are variously over-stated or non-existent. Their real goal is to stop the smokers from smoking; and no matter how they explain it, the ban is repressing a LEGAL activity. If they want to stop smoking, let them organize and get the federal government to sponsor a new Prohibition Amendment. My hope is that Augusta policy-makers will see through the smoke; see the real goal of advocates; and their true aims.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 01/18/12 - 08:12 pm
0
0
socks99: “Their real goal is

socks99: “Their real goal is to stop the smokers from smoking; and no matter how they explain it…”

Pretty astute observation; presumably based on observed anti-smoker behavior and life experience, I have seen the same. For many it started out as a non-smokers rights movement but as they gained clout some among them moved on to anti-smoker tobacco temperance mode; we’ve seen this movie before, it was called Prohibition and it was a disaster.

Here’s a peer reviewed study from The Journal of Psychology that supports your observations:

“THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ANTISMOKING AND NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS MOVEMENTS”

“SUMMARY

In a recent article Markle and Troyer analyze the cigarette controversy as a status battle between pro and antismoking vested interests. They argue that the purpose of the antismoking movement is to lower the status of smokers, symbolically to label smoking as undesirable, unacceptable, and socially deviant behavior, and, hence, to stigmatize and denigrate smokers as social misfits.”

“A. INTRODUCTION

In a recent article Markle and Troyer provide a sociology of deviance interpretation of the long-standing, but recently intensified controversy over cigarette smoking. Markle and Troyer point out that in the late 1960s and the 1970s a variety of laws and regulations were implemented to regulate smoking and the smoker. Drawing an analogy to Gusfield's analysis of the American temperance movement, the authors argue that these strictures were initially assimilative--in the sense of sympathetically trying to aid the repentant smoker to give up his harmful and deviant behavior--but more recently have become coercive--in the sense of angrily engaging the unrepentant smoker as an enemy in a political and legal battle.”

http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=77539715

broadPOV
0
Points
broadPOV 01/18/12 - 08:45 pm
0
0
Having lived in a city where

Having lived in a city where smoking was banned at bars, I can say that the fear of a smoking ban reducing sales at those establishments is unfounded. Everyone that smoked continued to go to the bars and drink, they just stepped outside when they needed a cigarette... even if it was below zero in the middle of the winter. I don't think we'll have the temperature issue here.

Looking forward to being able to go out and enjoy a bar scene without the unfortunate side effects of the cigarettes.

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/18/12 - 08:48 pm
0
0
The VFW I frequent now and

The VFW I frequent now and then in Richmond County went to no smoking and I love it. The deck area has become a popular place with tables and so on for the smokers.

itsanotherday1
48306
Points
itsanotherday1 01/18/12 - 09:32 pm
0
0
On Gun Club Road?

On Gun Club Road?

itsanotherday1
48306
Points
itsanotherday1 01/18/12 - 09:44 pm
0
0
broadPOV, you won't meet many

broadPOV, you won't meet many anti-smokers more fervent than I; but I am also a freedom loving conservative/ libertarian. You nor I have a right to a non-smoking privately owned establishment unless they have advertised it as such. Do I wish tobacco use was zero? You bet I do, but I am not willing to sacrifice individual rights to satisfy my desires. I DO wish that the FDA would regulate out nicotine from tobacco, as it is within their purview to control harmful substances in our consumable products. Without the nicotine, the addicts would have an easier task in kicking the habit, and fewer would get addicted to begin with.

sand gnat
677
Points
sand gnat 01/18/12 - 10:48 pm
0
0
broad POV, there are plenty

broad POV, there are plenty of bars available for you now.
let the free market play out. this is the call of the owner, not the patron.

david jennings
624
Points
david jennings 01/19/12 - 07:27 am
0
0
I have never smoked and I

I have never smoked and I hate it. Still I am not willing to give up my freedom to decide for myself. Leave businesses to decide what is best for their business. I appreciate the freedom to decide, do I want to go in this place or not?

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/19/12 - 08:02 am
0
0
Isanotherday1, yep, I'm a

Isanotherday1, yep, I'm a member of that one on Gun Club Rd. although I don't get out there too much. Every now and then.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/19/12 - 08:41 am
0
0
Itsanotherday1, thank you for

Itsanotherday1, thank you for that comment! This isn't about who smokes or doesn't smoke, it about the rights of business owners who pay taxes and wages and pay for license. They should decide what is best for "their" business, based on their clientele, the government or any fanatical group should not have that right. Next they will be telling us what we can and cannot do in our own homes. People don't seem to be able to see the bigger picture here.

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/19/12 - 08:48 am
0
0
I used to sit at the bar in

I used to sit at the bar in the VFW and almost all those guys smoked, but me. Interestingly enough, however, is when there was a vote of members about the issue, smoking was voted out. So you may be surprised at how the patrons feel.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 01/19/12 - 09:00 am
0
0
The MUCH larger danger here

The MUCH larger danger here is not to smoke or smoke; the REAL danger is politicians at their discretion deciding on what a person can or cannot do. True, smoking is bad on your health, but so is overeating, drinking, driving too fast, tanning beds, and a gamut of other things. All of this rhetoric smacks of a socialist society, led by the ruling power's whims and wishes. America is heading towards revolt, and not fast enough.

itsanotherday1
48306
Points
itsanotherday1 01/19/12 - 09:18 am
0
0
I agree Gator; I don't expect

I agree Gator; I don't expect the government to protect people from their own foolish behavior, but the nanny government is hellbent on it. The sad part are the lemmings who desire it.

itsanotherday1
48306
Points
itsanotherday1 01/19/12 - 09:15 am
0
0
RM sez "I used to sit at the

RM sez "I used to sit at the bar in the VFW and almost all those guys smoked, but me. Interestingly enough, however, is when there was a vote of members about the issue, smoking was voted out. So you may be surprised at how the patrons feel."

I was shocked to see your post. The Legions and VFW's have a very high percentage of members who smoke. We use (or used to) your VFW meeting room for our booster club meetings and it just reeked of smoke.

Kudos to the members for recognizing the need to make it a comfortable environment for all members. I go to the Legion on Cox Rd occasionally and hopefully they will follow suit.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/19/12 - 09:26 am
0
0
Just to prove your discontent
Unpublished

Just to prove your discontent of government involvement in your life, you want to smoke things that are KNOWN to kill and are willing to subject others to that same death sentence......wow.

No government involvement in your life? Is that the bigger argument?

Seems like everyone in this city, top to bottom, is backwards.....geez!

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/19/12 - 09:29 am
0
0
Isanotherday, when I went

Isanotherday, when I went back there after they had stopped smoking it smelled pretty good. I was amazed at all THAT smoke odor had cleared out pretty well. They do have a filtration system and I suppose that helped. I haven't been there in a while and hope they haven't decided to change back.

harley_52
25872
Points
harley_52 01/19/12 - 09:30 am
0
0
iLove said "Seems like

iLove said "Seems like everyone in this city, top to bottom, is backwards.....geez!"

Maybe, but there is another possibility.

harley_52
25872
Points
harley_52 01/19/12 - 09:32 am
0
0
scgator, your 9:00 post nails

scgator, your 9:00 post nails it.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/19/12 - 10:34 am
0
0
DON'T TREAD ON ME

DON'T TREAD ON ME

iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/19/12 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Well, I guess everyone else
Unpublished

Well, I guess everyone else is forward @harley... I guess things are not always as they seem. . . .(notice it?)

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 01/19/12 - 01:04 pm
0
0
scgator, your 9:00 post nails

scgator, your 9:00 post nails it.

Don't get me wrong; I am not a fan of smoking. But, we cannot let our government dictate our every day lives; we are slowly being pushed backwards into socialist slavery. The most important thing we as Americans can do this year is not just changing administrations, but equally as important, we need to send a message to ALL politicians, local and above that we will not tolerate the deliberate invasion of our personal rights. I don't know of any politician who is not also a businessman. HIT THEM IN THE POCKETBOOK AND TELL THEM WHY; keep it up until they get the message.............

harley_52
25872
Points
harley_52 01/19/12 - 01:23 pm
0
0
I'm not a fan of smoking

I'm not a fan of smoking either, scgator. I don't smoke, but did for many years and smoking is mainly responsible for my current health issues. But neither my personal likes/dislikes, nor my health are the issue here. The issue is government control of our lives and the creeping diminshment of our rights.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/19/12 - 03:15 pm
0
0
i think the last time there

i think the last time there was a discrepancy in the interpretation of inalienable rights of this degree and importance, there was a civil war. History is destined to repeat itself. Life is a circle, it's a circle, it's a circle. I don't dig where all this is going anyway you look at it.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 01/19/12 - 04:35 pm
0
0
The government should ban

The government should ban smoking,over-eating,baggy pants,fast cars,alcohol,slow cars,tight pants,hair dye,make-up,and ANYTHING that they deem may be a danger to anyone. They know best and are here to help!

smartin1955
16
Points
smartin1955 01/20/12 - 09:59 am
0
0
Goodness! I was SO surprised
Unpublished

Goodness! I was SO surprised that a pro ban, pharma funded lobbying group, (the American Cancer Society) states that bans are good for business! You might be interested inknowing that the ACS also runs the Quitline contracts, with their partner, Allere Welbeing, and the Cancer Society made over $9 MILLION last year on this contract!!!! When you call, you will be directed to go out and BUY these nicotine replacement products that, according to the Harvard study, published last week, do not work! But Johnson and JOhnson, and their grant funded swarm of locusts, in the "non profit" business (non profit?? HAHAHAHAHAHA) including their very own RObert Wood Johnson Foundation make a fortune from smoking bans, as it increases their stock value.
So when these people come before the Council making these amazing statements about how bans don't hurt business, and how heart attacks drop (when no one having the heart attack was in a bar in the first place!) consider the source!

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