Smoke-free advocates, opponents air opinions at hearing on proposed Augusta ordinance

Ordinance would add to current restrictions

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Jennifer Losgar was working at a bar in Augusta to help pay bills and put herself through school when she found one night that she could not breathe. She had developed reactive airway disease and lost 25 percent of her lung capacity, and so had to find another job. That is why she showed up Thursday at a public hearing in support of a stronger smoke-free ordinance for Augusta.

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Robert Elliott, of Augusta, speaks against passing a smoke-free ordinance in Augusta that would ban smoking in all public places.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Robert Elliott, of Augusta, speaks against passing a smoke-free ordinance in Augusta that would ban smoking in all public places.

“Some people don’t have a choice in where they can work, especially in this economy,” Losgar said.

Many of the 50 or so people at the hearing in the Augusta Commission chambers were wearing stickers in support of the ordinance. Opponents said the ordinance takes rights from business owners and smokers and would kill the bar business.

Smoking “may not be right but it is still legal,” said Taylor Bryant, of the Libertarian Party of the CSRA. “When you start taking choices from people, you start taking freedom from people.”

R.W. McClellan, the owner of Club Barcelona in south Augusta, said that eight bars have already failed in his area and that more will follow if the ordinance is passed, which will hurt wholesale suppliers.

“This starts a domino effect that will affect a lot more than bars, as well as the county revenue,” he said.

Smoke-free laws have a tangible benefit for health, said Sarah Balog, the government relations director for the American Heart Association’s Greater Southeast Affiliate. A 2009 study in the journal Circulation found that heart attacks declined by 15 percent in areas that passed smoke-free laws after the first year and by 36 percent after three years.

“Passing smoke-free laws in all workplaces and in public places is something we can do to protect the public,” Balog said.

State law already prohibits smoking in most public places but allows exemptions, such as for bars and restaurants that do not serve anyone younger than 18. The proposal would ban smoking in all public places and outdoor areas such as playgrounds, outdoor employment areas such as construction sites, and ATM lines.

“It really guarantees the right for all workers to breathe clean air in the workplace,” said Jack Padgett, a member of the Richmond County Board of Education and the Richmond County Board of Health.

Amy Hughes, of Healthy Savannah, heard many of the same arguments against Savannah’s comprehensive smoke-free ordinance before it was passed last year, including that it would hurt business and tourism.

“I’m here to tell you today that those fears did not come true,” she said.

PUBLIC HEARING

There will be another public hearing on the proposed comprehensive smoke-free law for Augusta at 6 p.m. Monday at Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.

Comments (51) Add comment
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BamaMan
2687
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BamaMan 10/13/11 - 11:14 am
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I think the world could use

I think the world could use alot fewer bars anyway. What good purpose do they serve?

Dipshot
-5
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Dipshot 10/13/11 - 12:04 pm
0
1
to answer the above question:

to answer the above question: They provide jobs for people. They add to the city tax base. And if someone wants to blow off some steam and have a beer while watching the game with their friends, what business is it of yours?

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/13/11 - 12:06 pm
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0
Dang... thats a good lookin'

Dang... thats a good lookin' guy in the blue shirt!

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/13/11 - 12:41 pm
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0
People won't quit going to

People won't quit going to bars because they can't smoke, unless there is a bar close enough by that DOES allow smoking.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/13/11 - 01:02 pm
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Thats not even the point.

Thats not even the point. This is about taking an activity that is legal and not allowing it on private property.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/13/11 - 01:07 pm
0
0
The bar owners are making it

The bar owners are making it THE point instead of property rights. They have a leg to stand on with the latter, so don't understand why they are using the former.

justthefacts
25483
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justthefacts 10/13/11 - 01:08 pm
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0
I rather see bars outlawed

I rather see bars outlawed from putting diet coke in good whiskey myself.

Brad Owens
4922
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Brad Owens 10/13/11 - 01:30 pm
1
0
You have a right to poison

You have a right to poison yourself, you have no right to poison others. No one has the "right" to poison the air I breath.

I don't want to tell anyone they can't smoke and I don't want tobbacco outlawed. I just wonder why anyone thinks they should be able to pollute the air with dangerous carcinogens and noxious fumes in a shared/public environment?

This is not about keeping people from harming themselves, it is about protecting the rights and health of non-smokers.

Hey, smoke all you want on YOUR property, but the day you buy a business lic and open to the PUBLIC you have certain levels of responsibility you need to meet. As a business owner you have an obligation to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for your patrons and employees. Nobody has the right to harm others and poison them.

My $0.02 worth on this,

Brad

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/13/11 - 01:38 pm
0
0
Brad, love you like a

Brad, love you like a brother. We will have to agree to disagree.

justthefacts
25483
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justthefacts 10/13/11 - 01:45 pm
0
0
Bet ya'll would agree that

Bet ya'll would agree that White Zinfandel should be outlawed. OK, OK, you are trying to have a serious discussion, I'm out.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/13/11 - 02:15 pm
0
0
Brad - you voiced my thoughts

Brad - you voiced my thoughts exactly. Taylor, I love you even though you are only right half the time. wink, wink :-D

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 10/13/11 - 02:27 pm
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Brad, I do see your point,

Brad, I do see your point, but what is the difference in alcohol?
At least with a private establishment, you have the choice to enter knowing that it is not a smoke-free establishment. You make the choice. If you do not want the toxins in your system, go to an establishment that is smoke free. As with alcohol, you have the same right as smokers to put that poison in your system but the difference I see, is myself and my family have no choice in the matter when you leave an establishment, enter the roadway intoxicated with your vehicle, and either harm or kill someone. I have no control over the choices.

Dipshot
-5
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Dipshot 10/13/11 - 02:29 pm
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Can we outlaw strong perfumes

Can we outlaw strong perfumes and colognes in public places too? I have severe allergies and they are detrimental to my health. I have a friend who has a fatal allergy to peanuts, so those should be banned at all restaurants and bars too, right? No more peanut butter pie at The French market Grille.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 10/13/11 - 02:36 pm
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0
Hey Dipshot, leave the

Hey Dipshot, leave the peanuts alone.. :) As for strong perfumes and colognes I'm with you on that one.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/13/11 - 02:45 pm
0
0
Amen to that on the perfumes

Amen to that on the perfumes and cologne. I have a buddy that is under the mistaken impression that if he bathes in Polo, it smells good. I just don't have the heart to burst his bubble and tell him he smells obnoxious.

Ladies, listen up!! Soft and subtle is so much more sexy than spicy and loud.

justthefacts
25483
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justthefacts 10/13/11 - 03:32 pm
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0
Anyone remember when smoking

Anyone remember when smoking was legal in airplanes. Man, what a smell.

justthefacts
25483
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justthefacts 10/13/11 - 03:44 pm
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0
No problem, please put Jade

No problem, please put Jade East on the list.

Brad Owens
4922
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Brad Owens 10/13/11 - 04:03 pm
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InClove, The difference is

InClove,

The difference is that when you drink likker there is no way the act of drinking can harm me, when you smoke and blow your fumes into the same air I have to breath, it harms me directly.

Brad

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/13/11 - 04:07 pm
0
0
Brad... come on, man. Ive

Brad... come on, man. Ive been in enough bar fights and seen enough accidents to know thats not true :)

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 10/13/11 - 04:14 pm
0
0
Brad, if I drink likker and

Brad, if I drink likker and leave an establishment, you're saying that the result of my drinking likker can not harm you.....I say, yes it can. If I smoke and blow fumes into the air of a private establishment then it can't directly harm you unless you choose to enter that establishment.

Ban smoking in restaurants, air planes, hospitals, public buildings, etc. but a private bar where only adults have a "choice" to enter or not, I don't think it's right.

Brad Owens
4922
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Brad Owens 10/13/11 - 04:28 pm
0
0
No problem Taylor, I respect

No problem Taylor, I respect your opinion, even if you are wrong :-)

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 10/13/11 - 04:42 pm
0
0
Brad, are we talking about

Brad, are we talking about tobacco smoke or marihuana smoke? I’d like to say something about people blowing marihuana smoke in people’s faces. It’s just that, that, um, ah….

I forgot what I was going to say….

socks99
250
Points
socks99 10/13/11 - 05:21 pm
0
0
One wonders if Ms. Losgar's

One wonders if Ms. Losgar's malady was caused by exposure to cigarette smoke?

If so, perhaps the 'banners' should carefully document the pathology reports and include those with the data on all the infants who die, each year, from exposure to 2nd hand smoke!! (Unfortunately, 'deniers' in the medical examiners offices -- nationwide -- have thus far led a successful campaign to prevent listing a '2nd hand smoke' as the 'cause of death' for these infants ... and for all the other 'victims.'!)

To be clear, the do-gooders, with some government support, have misled the public and policy makers about their motivation: They are not trying to 'save' the non-smokers, but going into the bars and clubs to FORCE the smokers to quit!

(One wonders what 'non-smokers' would be doing out after dark, anyway, in a bar or club!)

For those who like how the 'Prohibition' of alcohol brought black markets, government corruption, and a lot of 'bad' outcomes, they'll love this 'back-door' prohibition against tobacco!

If you thought the marijuana laws were stupid, just wait until these deceivers, these holier-than-thou control freaks, send men and women armed with guns -- our already overburdened law enforcement folks -- to 'police' smoking!

I know, you've quit, so you don't really care!

Or, you've already made-up your mind, and are too proud to admit you are wrong!

Those 'excuses' might be nice epitaphs for your tombstones -- if you ever die at all -- because they'll convey your total lack of appreciation for the rule of law; your disdain for the freedom of others; any tolerance for those, perchance, who might make the same mistakes you did; a mindless belief that rules and laws can create -- at no cost at all -- a 'perfect'society or a 'perfectly safe society,'; and for wise policy-making that is beyond the reach of a group of zealots.

PS: No matter how the vote goes, thanks for giving folks the right to contribute their opinions. Now if only someone could get Tom Corwin to tell us if he's for the ban, or against it!?

Dipshot
-5
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Dipshot 10/13/11 - 05:21 pm
0
0
Will this ban smoking in

Will this ban smoking in private clubs like the VFW?

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/13/11 - 05:33 pm
0
0
Dip, yes, VFWs are included.

Dip, yes, VFWs are included.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/13/11 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Hey Brad...ever go to an
Unpublished

Hey Brad...ever go to an indoor firing range to qualify or just to fire a new weapon?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 10/13/11 - 08:18 pm
0
0
SarcasmIsBliss
0
Points
SarcasmIsBliss 10/13/11 - 08:22 pm
0
0
Due to the methane content

Due to the methane content and smell....farts are now deemed illegal

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/13/11 - 09:50 pm
0
0
due to methane....cows,
Unpublished

due to methane....cows, chickens, and pigs will be banned

dizzy dictator
109
Points
dizzy dictator 10/13/11 - 09:54 pm
0
0
If Augusta chooses to go this

If Augusta chooses to go this route than its more of a PR thing.
1. Augusta is now smoke free
2. Crime is down
3. 3rd most dangerous city for driving
4. 9th in the nation with the highest suburban poverty rate
I get it now, adding the smoke free will now even out things!

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