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Augusta Commissioner not likely to reintroduce smoking ban soon

Monday, July 22, 2013 7:35 PM
Last updated 9:32 PM
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Those pushing for smoke-free bars and other public places in Augusta will get a boost from entertainers next week, but the introduction of a proposed ordinance is likely weeks away.

Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who helped shepherd a tougher smoking ordinance last year before the Augusta Commission before it was voted down, said he has no immediate plans to bring it back up.

“We’ve still got a few things we need to deal with,” he said. “I just haven’t had much time to talk with colleagues and see where they were on this thing.”

It could be late September or October before Johnson brings it back up. Augusta is covered by a state law that bans smoking in restaurants but allows it in bars and places that do not admit anyone younger than 18.

The group pushing for what it calls smoke-free workplaces is concentrating on public education. Jennifer Anderson, the chairwoman of BreathEasy Augusta, said the group goes to public events such as First Friday to talk with people about secondhand smoke.

“A lot of people really don’t realize how hazardous secondhand smoke is,” she said. “That’s the big thing that we’re seeing when we go out to the public.”

The group passes out information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how exposure from as little as 20 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure can affect nonsmokers and longer exposure appears to have larger consequences.

A study of 2,889 “never smokers” published in February in the journal Hypertension, for instance, found that the higher the levels of nicotine byproduct in their blood, the greater the level of hypertension regardless of other risk factors such as body mass index and cholesterol levels.

The previous attempt to ban smoking in bars rankled some owners and is likely to raise opposition again.

Mike Scheetz, a co-owner of The Pub and Grub on Mike Padgett Highway, said he would be opposed to a smoke-free ordinance. He estimated about 25 to 30 percent of his customers smoke.

“I imagine they would probably not want to come here or what they would want to do is get a drink and go outside” to smoke, Scheetz said. That would mean adding an outdoor area, he said.


Entertainers backing a tougher ordinance to ban smoking in public places in Augusta will hold a free concert and rally next week to spread their message. Smokefree Voices for Augusta will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. July 30 at Applebee’s, 3117 Washington Road. Among those scheduled to appear are Tony Howard, Playback’s Tutu D’Vyne, The Motowners and Mike Swift.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/22/13 - 10:39 pm
Let it die

The "anti-second-hand-smoke-in-bars" crowd needs to slink back into the world of "please forgive us."

I have never smoked, and cigarette smoke bothers me, but I tolerate it because it is important to people I love and respect.

Let the business owners run their businesses as they see fit. If prospective employees can't abide the smoke, then find employment elsewhere. There are eighty-times more non-smoking establishments than there are smoking establishments. Let us co-exist!

soapy_725 07/23/13 - 06:56 am
Someone needs to introduce a "stupidity ban" in ARC leadership

Someone needs to introduce a "stupidity ban" in ARC leadership

Shortcomment 07/23/13 - 07:59 am
Instead of 100's, I hate what someone is doing laws.

Let's ban Liberals and save the jail space and administrative overhead to enact, announce, publish, instruct LEO's on the new law, ticket, add more to an already overcrowded legal system, put them on trial, fine or house them. Not to go into the likely legal appeals and lawsuits and those costs.

If Augusta is big enough to have a Gay Pride Day and everybody is expected accept one another actions and lifestyles why not allow smokers to smoke in those places that allow it?

seenitB4 07/23/13 - 10:46 am
Lamb said it best

Live & let live....even legit drugs are you banned them too.

Shortcomment 07/23/13 - 09:30 am
While we are at it

The New England of Medicine published a findings report called:
Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables.

Surprise you extra Healthy-mind people.
Measurable amounts of nicotine were found in:

Green peppers,
red peppers,
black tea,
Egg plants,
Green tomatoes,
and more.

So, let us include in this BAN, all downtown Salad Bars, Supermarket Produce sections and Vegetable Gardens also.

OH we have to ban cocaine also, because the coca plant leaves have it also.

geneb 07/24/13 - 02:13 pm
Good thing we don't smoke tomatoes

A. Your source, the NEJM, IS one of those "Healthy-mind people(!)"

B. And your precious info is no "surprise" to anyone. NEJM knows, as do we all, that the trace amounts of nicotine that get into the STOMACH from eating the nightshade family of veggies is a) miniscule, and far from being able to cause Green Tobacco Sickness, aka Nicotine Poisoning, and b) not going to the LUNGS, and therefore, not getting to the brain.

There's a slight difference between eating and breathing, you know. Drinking water sustains life; breathing water is deadly. Duh.

But thanks so much for your comment.

Shortcomment 07/24/13 - 09:08 pm
geneb - you miss the humor and a health class

Trace amounts I agree, but a point that can't be debated, is it still there and is absorbed into the body and blood.
Example: Like a kid eating lead paint chips or rolling them up
and smoking them (humor again ☺).

But most importantly, remember there is a difference between
Breathing, Thinking and Humor.

My suggestion of Banning liberals from downtown would solve many to the constantly arising new problems, wouldn't it? Because it seems Liberals are never happy, unless they are protesting or banning something that someone-else is enjoying. (humor again ☺)

If a bar wants to cater to Smokers then let it and just don't go there. What we really don't need is a bunch Yuppies acting like a Harper Valley PTA and dictating what others should do.

An thanks also so much for your comment. ☺♀


geneb 07/25/13 - 01:37 pm
The Tricky Thing about Humor--it has to be, you know, funny.

And not trite, tired and stupid. Much like your bogus, pro-smoking fanatical website propaganda about nicotine in veggies. Try eating heroin. Then try smoking, snorting or shooting the same amount. Huge difference.

How about banning Conservatives from attempting humor (and psuedo-scientific pronunciamentos)? Why do Conservatives even try? It never turns out well--just embarrassing, as here.

(Surprisingly, tea-party/anti-Obama nuts, somehow, do keep it together and can be quite creative and even humorous--as, for instance the recent songwriting efforts from Ray Stevens.)

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