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.

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shrimp for breakfast
5450
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shrimp for breakfast 10/13/11 - 11:41 pm
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Anyone got a light?

Anyone got a light?

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/13/11 - 11:47 pm
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"Some people don’t have a
Unpublished

"Some people don’t have a choice in where they can work, especially in this economy"

Yeah, you do. If the only jobs left were stripping or shoveling poo would you do it too? If you would turn those down, then you do have a choice. If you wouldnt turn it down becuase thats all there is, Well they are hiring, you still have a choice. If you don't want to work in a smoking environment..... dont! Most places are non smoking, so the odds, the ONLY job available was in a smoking establishment...... I would think is bologna.

Vito45
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Vito45 10/13/11 - 11:55 pm
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Willow Bailey Willow

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey
Thursday, Oct. 13 9:18 PM

This is for Vito and Brad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GizJz6BUBkI&feature=fvsr

Thank you; one of my favorite groups and favorite songs!

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 12:00 am
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Amen Taylor B and ICL. An
Unpublished

Amen Taylor B and ICL. An owner can choose the music he plays, the alcohol he serves, the food he serves, to have women take their clothes off or be scantily clad, burn incense, but can't desire and obtain a smoking establishment?? Thats Bull!!!! Incense does the same as smoking, I dont see anyone closing down those shops. Have you ever been in those places?? They are horrible, I have to leave and I'm a smoker!! But rather than buy my nick knacks elsewhere, I guess the proper thing to do would be to launch a campaign to have the owner of their own place of business be shut down or not burn the incense in their store. And perfume stores... I can't buy a bottle of perfume without that strong stuff gagging me from the customers wearing it to the testers they sample... We need to shut those places down immediately for the sake of all the people who can't use common sense not to go in one and patronize another store!! NO MORE PERFUME TESTERS! For the Love of God and the health of our community... stop the perfume madness!!!! Now I'm going to go get a job there =) (sarcasm for those of you who can't tell) haha Can't open a smoke shop either, oh wait... you can, you just can't sample anything. What sense does that make? A smoke shop cant be smoked in because a non smoker may want to come in and buy tobacco?? Or a non smoker thinks that the only job in the world. WTH????

Vito45
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Vito45 10/14/11 - 12:00 am
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Speaking of methane; smelling

Speaking of methane; smelling a stinking cigarette is no different to me than if you were sitting there passing noxious gas in my space. How would you smokers feel if I were in the booth next to you cracking one off every few minutes? I DO have that right don't I?

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:28 am
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You sure do Vito. I grew up
Unpublished

You sure do Vito. I grew up with a man who did it anywhere all the time. But you know what, rather than try to have you arrested or banned, I'd just leave and go somewhere else, or move away from you. Thats what normal adults with common sense do. If you own a business and want to allow and encourage farting and even have contests, you should be able to and the customer should be the one to say, I don't like that and choose a different place to patronize!!! And if a person wants a job in your place waitressing the fart competitions thats their choice, but then they say hey this is making me ill I dont like this, should you have to stop having them though you are making money and tons of people are having fun... or should that employee just find another job? I mean really, common sense here. I avoid many places because of the smell, its not that hard to find another establishment to go to. Bring on the Fart Club!! It should be your right!!!!!

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:24 am
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Same with businesses and
Unpublished

Same with businesses and outdoor smoking, don't go there or just move a few more feet away, there are only a handful of businesses that allow smoking now.... why have those stayed smoking?? Because thats what the owners choose and it should be their right!! Why is it I cant demand stores stop using stinky incense, perfumes and air fresheners I hate so much? Its bad on my breathing. Should I purposely go get a job there and then complain about it??? Do I go in an demand they air out the store so I can shop or go just to another?? Really, common sense here. People have rights to open a smoking establishment or to patronize one just as people have free will not to patronize or work in. The only difference is they want to trample on others rights due to their own lack of judgement. Dont tell me there arent bars you dont go to because of the music, restaurants you dont go to because of the food, strip bars or hooter some women wont go to because of the way the girls are dressed. So what is the difference really????

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/14/11 - 06:50 am
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Cain supporters that are also

Cain supporters that are also anti-smoke will love this:

AS TOP RESTAURANT INDUSTRY LOBBYIST, HERMAN CAIN PARTNERED WITH BIG TOBACCO TO PROMOTE INDOOR SMOKING

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/10/12/340196/herman-cain-smoking-to...

justthefacts
21698
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justthefacts 10/14/11 - 06:55 am
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Politics sure make strange

Politics sure make strange bed fellows....I heard once.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/14/11 - 06:59 am
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justthefacts: “Politics sure

justthefacts: “Politics sure make strange bed fellows...”

And afterward they have a smoke.

justthefacts
21698
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justthefacts 10/14/11 - 07:06 am
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Ha. right.

Ha. right.

InChristLove
22472
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InChristLove 10/14/11 - 07:26 am
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1
All this discussion about

All this discussion about stinking and methane gas and farting....I do believe next we will be banning doing our business in public restroom. Nope, you got to hold it and wait till you get in your own private residence. Stinks too bad and some may be overcome by the fumes. :)

Brad Owens
4401
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Brad Owens 10/14/11 - 07:54 am
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Look, smoke all you want on

Look, smoke all you want on YOUR private property, but you give up that designation when you hire employees and run a business out of your facility.

I have no problem with tobacco, I have a problem with smokers feeling like they have the right to poison my air.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/14/11 - 08:25 am
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Should employers have the

Should employers have the right to refuse to hire smokers?

Jennifer R.
0
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Jennifer R. 10/14/11 - 09:44 am
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someone previously asked

someone previously asked about the VFW. The only bars this ban will not affect are VFW's and American Legions. That is how it is in Columbia County.

Brad Owens
4401
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Brad Owens 10/14/11 - 10:03 am
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Only if they demand to be

Only if they demand to be able to smoke on the job and around other employeees who do not.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 12:08 pm
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@Brad re 1:24am. Whats the
Unpublished

@Brad re 1:24am. Whats the difference? Why is it you have a right to not have others poison your air with smoke (even though no one is complaining about my other examples which do the same thing re:1200am, not to mention car exhaust no one puts a stop to), but others do not have a right to offer people who like their air poisoned to use their hard earned money and work to open a place to allow smokers a place they enjoy? Have you not ever chosen not to go to a place because there is something about it not to your liking? Or not taken a job because something is not to your liking, besides the money? Please read the 1:24 and 12am for more detailed example for you to compare and correct. What is the difference really?? I'd really like to know a good logical reason for not letting grown adults choose what they want to be around while letting other grown adults choose not to at the same time. I respect your opinion a lot, you are one of my favs =), we usually agree on everything, but I just dont get the closed mindedness of this topic. I'm open to learning, maybe you can change my mind!

harley_52
23159
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harley_52 10/14/11 - 12:13 pm
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Restaurant owners should

Restaurant owners should decide whether their restaurant will be "smoking" or "non-smoking."

Potential customers should decide where they want to eat.

Simple.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 12:37 pm
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Isn't it though, harley 52???
Unpublished

Isn't it though, harley 52??? lol

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/14/11 - 12:38 pm
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GaStang22 Friday, Oct. 14

GaStang22
Friday, Oct. 14 1:28 AM
**You sure do Vito. I grew up with a man who did it anywhere all the time. But you know what, rather than try to have you arrested or banned, I'd just leave and go somewhere else, or move away from you. **
Stang, if you've read my posts you know I'm on your side about "choice" (harley sums it up in simple terms above as well); but I am also sure you get the point about how offensive it is to people, which is what motivates a lot of the anti-smoking sentiment, potential harmful effects aside.
As I said before, business owners on the whole welcome the regulations because at the end of the day, they have less hassle to deal with and make more money. They don't do it on their own because they don't want to offend a portion of their clientele, and send them across the street to a competitor.
All the same, I honor private property rights and the freedom of the owner to conduct whatever legals activities he/she chooses. Just let me know up front so I can make mine.

PghSteelersFan
140
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PghSteelersFan 10/14/11 - 01:02 pm
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0
Augusta is my hometown but I

Augusta is my hometown but I now live in Santa Fe, NM. The City of Santa Fe passed a 'no smoking' law w/ exceptions for 'cigar bars'. It bans all smoking within 25 feet of a public business or government building. The law has been in effect now for a few years now. Everyone, at the time, said it 'would kill business'. It didn't. The only business closings now are economy related.
There is no reason to think that passing such a law in Augusta would hurt any businesses. If a business were to fail it wouldn't be from 'no smoking' it would be from lack of necessary funding, bad management, or the current state of the economy.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:08 pm
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Awesome Vito!! I got ya, I
Unpublished

Awesome Vito!! I got ya, I just had to respond to your post, it was tooo inviting!! haha

harley_52
23159
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harley_52 10/14/11 - 01:08 pm
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GaStang22 said "Isn't it

GaStang22 said "Isn't it though, harley 52??? lol"

Yes, it really is. There really should be nothing to discuss. The problem is that liberals want to tell everybody how to live their lives and then codify THEIR position in new law which inconveniences everybody.

If I own a restaurant I should decide whether it's a "smoking" or a "non-smoking" restaurant.

Hungry people should decide whether they want to eat in my restaurant, or go someplace else that caters to whichever is their preference. If I run a non-smoking restaurant and smokers want to eat there, they have to not smoke while they're there. If I run a smoking restaurant, non-smokers have to decide whether or not they want to put up with the smoke for an hour or so while they eat.

Liberals make it difficult because they lack common sense and aren't happy unless they're trying to make everybody else's life as miserable as their own.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:09 pm
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0
Amen A Little Sanity!!
Unpublished

Amen A Little Sanity!!

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:18 pm
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Pgh, Its not all about money,
Unpublished

Pgh, Its not all about money, it is about freedom of rights and choice. And businesses wont close due to it, but it can hurt it. I for one and many other I know, will drive the extra way and stop patronizing non smoking establishments that used to be smoking to go where it is available. I live by a pool hall we used to frequent quite regularly just to have lunch and play a few games, Now, we just get a bite from a fast food place Used to go every weekend just about because it was convenient. It was always busy day and night. Now we go maybe once a year and its now filled with teens who spend very little money. Now its saving me tons of money to buy more smokes with haha, but seeing how the adults who would buy the large amounts of beer and food have been replaced with lots of young people and teens with little money. I think business is not as good.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 01:20 pm
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TO ALL ANTI
Unpublished

TO ALL ANTI SMOKERS...........

I personally know of a few owners who LOVE the smoking ban to be 18 and over and your choice. It keeps the kids with limited money from monopolizing their business and making way for adults with money to spend!!! And I think that kind of regulation is more than reasonable and fair to everyone!!!! Why is that NOT a satisfactory compromise???? Can anyone really give a good logical reaon?? (re my previous 12 am and 1:24am posts for examples.)

harley_52
23159
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harley_52 10/14/11 - 01:27 pm
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bjphysics asked "Should

bjphysics asked "Should employers have the right to refuse to hire smokers?"

Apparently it depends on where you live. In Ohio, "yes." At least sixteen other states, "no." Others, "maybe."

harley_52
23159
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harley_52 10/14/11 - 01:37 pm
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Actually, bj, you asked

Actually, bj, you asked another question from that which I answered. The answer to your real question is "yes."

casimir56
10
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casimir56 10/14/11 - 01:58 pm
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The solution is to have the

The solution is to have the ordinance allow smoking only in sections of an establishment that have a barrier separating the "smoking" and "non-smoking" areas, and each area must have a separate ventillation system. If an establishment doesn't have the ability to partition separate areas, then they must not allow smoking. If owners truly believe that a smoking ordinance will drive away business, then they can adapt their establishment to adhere to these guidelines.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 10/14/11 - 02:21 pm
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There is a compromise casimir
Unpublished

There is a compromise casimir and it does not cost the business owner (especially a small or new one who can't afford the changes) extra. It was called "No one under 18 allowed" only allowing adults who have the freedom to make their own choice to visit a smoking establishment while not trampling on the rights of business owners and discriminating against smokers. Which by the way are the only people ALLOWED to be discriminated against. But that compromise isn't good enough.

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