Proposed tougher smoking ban goes back to Augusta Commission committee

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 9:39 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 3:53 PM
  • Follow Government

A tougher smoking ban for Augusta is headed back to committee, but advocates for the ordinance say it is not a setback. The Augusta Commission voted Tuesday night to send a revised smoking ordinance back to the Public Service Committee at the request of Commissioner Corey Johnson.

“They just want to do a little tweaking and look at the language of the bill,” said Sadie Stockton, the chronic-disease prevention program manager of the East Central Health District. “That’s just the legal process at work.”

Augusta general counsel Andrew MacKenzie had sent out a revised ordinance with suggested changes from the last committee meeting before Tuesday.

“All of the commissioners didn’t get a chance to look at it,” said Eric Bailey, Georgia’s advocacy manager for the American Cancer Society.

Augusta is currently under a statewide law that bans smoking in most public places where children could be present, such as most restaurants, but allows it in other public places, such as bars and restaurants that don’t admit anyone younger than 18. Advocates have argued that a tougher ordinance is necessary to protect workers in those places from secondhand smoke.

Augusta is not the only city in Georgia grappling with the issue. In Macon, a tougher ordinance is “just sort of sitting there” awaiting action, Bailey said, and a push in DeKalb County will not see action any time soon.

Savannah’s stronger ordinance went into effect last year, and Decatur, Athens-Clarke County and Columbia County have enacted tougher smoking standards for public places, he said.

Comments (16) 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.
nanowerx
1359
Points
nanowerx 02/08/12 - 07:15 am
0
0
Notice how Augusta's bar

Notice how Augusta's bar scene is so much more active than Columbia County's? I hate to say it, but it has much to do with the complete smoking ban in Columbia county. I know people who don't even normally smoke, but do when they start drinking and don't even bother with bars in the Evans area.

Bars are an adult place. Let the individual places of business decide if they want a ban or not. I understand the issue of workers, but it's not like the risk isn't known ahead of time, a lack of restaurants and bars in the CSRA to find another job is not something one should be worried about.....we are packed to the rim with both types of businesses.

This ban process undermines property and business rights and that is a slippery slope to a slew of other controls no matter how you feel about smoking. There are already bars that voluntarily decided on their own to ban smoking, yet none of these places have seen an abundance of new business because of it. Either way, they should get to decide and if they decide to allow smoking of cigarettes that you don't like, then you can easily go visit another establishment that bans it.

Stop stifling the free market, Augusta.

Little Lamb
47980
Points
Little Lamb 02/08/12 - 08:24 am
0
0
The advocacy group says the

The advocacy group says the ban is to protect the workers, not the public. Might I suggest a better approach: Do not pass a local ordinance. It is the responsibility of OSHA to protect workers from workplace hazards. Augusta Commissioners are not qualified to determine the concentration of secondhand tobacco smoke that workers can be exposed to with acceptable risk. OSHA has that expertise. Let OSHA do it and keep our commissioners out of it.

Horselover Fat
0
Points
Horselover Fat 02/08/12 - 10:32 am
0
0
0% is the acceptable level.

0% is the acceptable level.

noway
201
Points
noway 02/08/12 - 11:06 am
0
0
nonwerx, ever notice that

nonwerx, ever notice that Columbia County doesn't really HAVE a bar scene? People don't "go out" in Columbia County. They live there, send their kids to school there and go to church there. The ordinance isn't negatively affecting the "bar scene" in Columbia County. Richmond County and Macon are way behind, again, to other cities. People who smoke still go out and drink, they just go outside to smoke. no big deal. Get this ordinance passed!!

Little Lamb
47980
Points
Little Lamb 02/08/12 - 11:21 am
0
0
Tom Corwin says the proposed

Tom Corwin says the proposed ordinance is going back to committee for re-working.

I was thinking it would be nice for Corwin to post a pdf file like Susan does giving us the language of the proposed ordinance as it exists today. I would be curious to know the proposed penalties for violating the law. Say a punk decides to begin his life of crime by starting off with the small stuff. He decides to go into a bar and light up a cigarette. What happens then — some patron calls 911 on his cell phone to report illegal activity? Does the dispatcher send a patrol car? Will they send back-up?

Will this type of crime be adjudicated in traffic court, state court, superior court? What are the proposed fines? What is the proposed jail time?

Do we really want our sheriff's deputies and courts to be tied up with this?

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 02/08/12 - 11:59 am
0
0
Well like I said yesterday to

Well like I said yesterday to all those complaining and wanting to banned smoking in adult bars, first they regualate tobacco, next will probably come regulation on what you can eat and drink.

Excert from an article titled "Is Sugar Worse than Tobacco"

"But scientists from the University of California, San Francisco believe that sugar limits shouldn't be self-imposed. They want to see the sweet stuff regulated, much like alcohol and tobacco. According to their just-released report published in the journal Nature, excess sugar consumption is contributing to 35 million deaths worldwide each year, from diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, an even greater burden on public health than infectious diseases."
http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/sugar-worse-tobacco-150300762.html

Told You!

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 02/08/12 - 12:14 pm
0
0
From the majority of the

From the majority of the comments following the articles, it seems that Augusta does not want this ordinance. How I wish you guys would step outside of the comment boxes and into the Marble Palace when these meetings are taking place to voice your opinion. You will get 3 to 5 minutes to speak. Every single one I have attended is clearly outnumbered by the lobbyists who recruit people to sit with little green sticky notes on their clothes to show support for the ordinanance. If nothing else call or email your commissioners and let them know this ordinance is unneccessary. http://www.augustaga.gov/index.aspx?nid=652

creolechick
72
Points
creolechick 02/08/12 - 02:00 pm
0
0
Please pass this ban asap! I

Please pass this ban asap! I don't go downtown at all because all the bars are so smoky. My friends can't stand the smoke so we only go to places that don't allow it. I would actually start patronizing downtown businesses if they didn't allow smoking.

Tom Corwin
10514
Points
Tom Corwin 02/08/12 - 04:09 pm
0
0
Little Lamb, The ordinance is

Little Lamb,

The ordinance is now attached. Thanks for asking. The sentences in red are the proposed changes that came out of the last Public Service Committee meeting, which includes changes to enforcement. The Planning and Development Department is now the enforcement agency, along with the sheriff. But in answer to your question, it is up to the establishment to ask the person to stop smoking and ask them to leave if they refuse. If the person refuses to leave, they can call the sheriff. It is a $50 fine per violation for the smoker and businesses that allow it where it is prohibited face escalating fines starting at $100 and a potential loss of license. If you ask the health advocates pushing the law about it, they will tell you that areas that have put in stricter laws have not had a problem with people routinely violating the law as most people are law-abiding and want to follow the rules. It is still a question I think the commissioners are asking and may come up again at the next committee meeting.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/08/12 - 04:20 pm
0
0
No smoking at the entrances

No smoking at the entrances either, please.

Little Lamb
47980
Points
Little Lamb 02/08/12 - 05:06 pm
0
0
Thanks, Tom. Of course I'll

Thanks, Tom.

Of course I'll be reading the file above. I just wish some of the commissioners would read it ahead of time instead of asking others what it says at the meeting.

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 02/08/12 - 05:42 pm
0
0
Pay attention people - this

Pay attention people - this ordinance restricts smoking everywhere except your home. I can't wait until they go after your food or your kids....both raise my blood pressure.

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 02/08/12 - 05:57 pm
0
0
Don't expect the media to

Don't expect the media to give you the full story. They like to edit and omit to slight the view in their favor. I've been to most of the meetings and most of what the people who are against the ordinance have said isn't reported because it actually makes sense and will hurt the cause.

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 02/08/12 - 08:33 pm
0
0
I am sorry I just think that

I am sorry I just think that this new ordinance goes too far. I agree that smoking is not good and you should be able to eat without 2nd hand smoke. But how bout the smoker, there is no where they can go inside to smoke. No big deal unless it is cold or raining. I am not a smoker, but I just feel like sometimes we give the government way too much control.

nanowerx
1359
Points
nanowerx 02/09/12 - 09:52 am
0
0
Welcome to 1984 everybody.

Welcome to 1984 everybody. the government wants to tell you what to do and control every aspect of your lives. From the recent extreme tax on cigarettes and this new law that practically restricts smoking to nowhere but the war bunker of my house and a small section of land sectioned off about 10 miles away that smokers may gather and enjoy their sin. It is getting ridiculous.

The Constitution was written to give us our individual rights and liberties, not take them away, yet we have new votes every year that are meant to take more rights from us. Even non-smokers need to realize that this is a slippery slope. Sure you may agree to ban smoking from every feasible place in the city, but what about when they come after your sugar or the type of car you drive? Won't feel very good when you have to get Krispy Kreme donuts on the black market out of some guys van behind a Kroger, because the government thinks it knows how to protect your health better than you do.

simpleman
0
Points
simpleman 02/09/12 - 05:10 pm
0
0
What is at issue are your

What is at issue are your freedoms. If you let government decide what is best for you then you have no freedom. If a bar owner decides to go smoke free I think that is a good thing its thier business let them decide, But if a bar owner chooses to allow smoking then you make your own choice to go there or not or to work there or not.
The Govt. has to much control of our lives as it is. Why are people advocating even more control, Wake up People.

simpleman
0
Points
simpleman 02/09/12 - 05:19 pm
0
0
The Govt. is power hungry and

The Govt. is power hungry and when everybody quits smoking they will go after something else. They have already seen thier tax income from cigarettes reduced because so many people have quit That now they have started talking about regulating and taxing sugar, and it goes on and on as long as we let them. This has to stop somewhere and when all you people advocating a Govt. ban on smoking have something taken from you Then maybe you will wake up. This is about freedom and liberty and the Govt. wants that taken from you.

simpleman
0
Points
simpleman 02/09/12 - 05:26 pm
0
0
I just cant let this rest It

I just cant let this rest It makes me mad as HELL.
Let the bar owners decide to allow smoking or not!
This is about freedom and nothing else.
Wake Up People!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs