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Indoor pollution levels greater in Augusta bars that allow smoking, according to researchers

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As an Augusta Commission committee prepares to resume work this week on a potentially tougher smoking ordinance, research conducted last year in some Augusta bars that permit smoking found indoor pollution levels more than 10 times over the limit for outdoor air, putting patrons and staff potentially at risk for lung cancer and heart disease, the researcher said.

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Josh Price smokes a cigarette at Soul Bar. "I think smoking should be allowed, although I'm not offended by the ban. Smoking is gross."   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Josh Price smokes a cigarette at Soul Bar. "I think smoking should be allowed, although I'm not offended by the ban. Smoking is gross."

The commission’s Public Services Committee will hold a work session Wednesday on the ordinance that it had sent back to General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie in October for revisions. Committee Chairman Corey Johnson, for instance, wanted the ordinance revised to address smoking in a car with children, among the other potential restrictions.

The proposed ordinance would ban smoking in all public places and in some outdoor areas such as parks and construction sites. Augusta is currently under a statewide law that bans smoking in most places where children are present but allows it for adult-only places such as bars and restaurants that don’t admit anyone younger than 18.

But while it is legal to smoke in those places, the air quality clearly suffers. Public health researcher Dr. Paul Mowery, a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did a survey of Augusta establishments last February at the behest of the East Central Health District.

Using air samplers that can measure fine particle emissions, the researchers went into 25 places in Augusta, which were not named in the survey, and took readings for about half an hour. Lit cigarettes were noted in 16 of the 25. The highest reading was 499.8 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particles; the Environmental Protection Agency sets the acceptable outdoor air limit as an average 35.5 micrograms per cubic meter over 24 hours. Of the 16 establishments where smoking was noted, the average was 197.4 micrograms per cubic meter.

Fine particles are a particular concern for the EPA and health advocates because of their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause damage. And that could affect people who go to or work in those places, Mowery said.

“People that are exposed to those levels for long periods of time are at risk for lung cancer and other respiratory diseases,” he said.

The particles have also been linked with cardiovascular disease, Mowery said.

“For people who are perhaps at a higher risk of a heart attack anyway, it can actually cause a heart attack,” he said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: The Public Services Committee of the Augusta Commission will hold a special work session to discuss a proposed tougher smoking ordinance.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday

WHERE: In the commission chamber

Comments (20) Add comment
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madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 01/16/12 - 05:12 pm
0
0
Fine particles of "what"?
Unpublished

Fine particles of "what"? Was it dust, polen hair spray, silt, soot, WHAT? It would appear someone is using strange terms to try and make their case. Does anyone know that a survey is not a scientific study? Well they found the particles, did they do any analysis to determine what the particles were? Or were they on a witch hunt to close down these places that practice something the searchers totally want banned at any expense.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 01/16/12 - 05:17 pm
0
0
Some people have way too much

Some people have way too much time on their hands...

Look... If you don't want to go to a place that allows smoking, don't go. It's as simple as that. This is still America, isn't it? A bar/business owner can't even decide if he/she will allow smoking anymore?

And... the people that work at these bars that could be "affected going to work", probably already smoke anyway.

Government is getting ridiculous. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 01/16/12 - 06:01 pm
0
0
i only have one thing to say

i only have one thing to say to this headline."duh."

Tom Corwin
10514
Points
Tom Corwin 01/16/12 - 07:03 pm
0
0
Fine particle is a term for a

Fine particle is a term for a very small particle primarily produced by burning, so you can also get it from cars, factories, fireplaces or candles, among others. The researchers used a machine that sucks in the air of an establishment and counts real-time the number of particles in the air for that amount of air, thus the count is measured in micrograms per cubic meter. Georgia EPD does the same thing outdoors around big cities in Georgia with other monitoring equipment. You can find more about the particles at the Georgia EPD Ambient Monitoring Program site by going to: www.georgiaair.org.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 01/16/12 - 07:28 pm
0
0
The libertarian in me agrees

The libertarian in me agrees with tckr. Don't like smoking? Don't go where it is. As long as it's a legal product it should be allowed in privately owned businesses. Vote with your dollars...Don't like smoking.?..don't go where it's allowed...

dichotomy
36282
Points
dichotomy 01/16/12 - 08:12 pm
0
0
Came up in a smoking

Came up in a smoking household, everyone in my extended familyand all of my friends parents smoked. After riding my bike around the neighborhood following the DDT fogging truck for 8 years or so I started smoking at 14 as did most of my friends. My high school had a student smoking area. Spent every evening between ages 18 and 40 hanging out in a bar and trying to drink up all of the Jack Daniels in town. I am in my 60s now. Don't know how I lived to be this old with all of them dang particulates I sucked in all them years. Sure hope I live long enough to be walking around peeing and pooping in my pants. Does Medicare pay for diapers?

itsanotherday1
46985
Points
itsanotherday1 01/16/12 - 11:16 pm
0
0
dichotomy, I generally

dichotomy, I generally appreciate your posts; they are thoughtful and on point. However, you are off base with this. My best friend is in ICU right now fighting for his life because of cigarettes. The doctors have been very blunt about it in that he has other biological risk factors that smoking has magnified. The medical literature says that smoking coupled with these other hereditary factors increase ones risk by 7 times. Smoking coupled with one risk factor doubles the incidence.
If you've not experienced any ill effects I'm very pleased for you, but please don't suggest it is hyperbole or junk science to say that smoking kills. It may not for everyone, but it does for many who are more sensitive to the effects. It has just about put my buddy in the grave and he is only 57.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 01/17/12 - 12:50 am
0
0
itsanotherday1, what about
Unpublished

itsanotherday1, what about the people dying young from the same things who never smoked nor around smoking? What about the smokers who live 100 years. No matter what, its a grown adults decision to place or not place themselves in harms way. You will understand when something you enjoy is taken from you. What if they banned all fried foods because people are irresponsible eaters, gasoline and cars, planes, trains, boats because they are bad for the environment. Will you bike cross country to see your family? What about banning sugar and high fructose corn syrup due to diabetes. All tv because some parents wont stop their kids from watching the wrong things. If you are an adult, it should be your choice and if one is incapable of making a decision to go to one of the many non smoking establishments vs the smoking establishment, then smoke is the least of their worries. People have free will, and should have common sense to go along with it.

A drunk driver almost ruined our lives coming home from a bar, why isn't alcohol banned in public places? They have killed many. If it was only allowed at home, that would dramatically decrease the amount of innocent people killed. You can make a choice to avoid a smoker, you CAN NOT choose to avoid a drunk driver that can kill a whole family in less than 2 seconds. Why is smoking and a "maybe" that much more important than a drunk driver and a definitely???

People's priorities are completely messed up!!!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 01/17/12 - 12:55 am
0
0
If this passes, the next time
Unpublished

If this passes, the next time someone farts near me I want them fined or arrested. Next time I go to a farm, if I smell poop I am going to sue for possibly damaging my health in the future. Doesn't that sound stupid? Yeah about as stupid as passing a law prohibiting other people because you refuse to take responsibility for your own actions and not place yourself in what you consider harms way!!!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 01/17/12 - 12:57 am
0
0
You want to really help save
Unpublished

You want to really help save lives and save the taxpayers from footing so much of the medical bills from smoking????? Ban it for anyone on government healthcare or they get cut off, even if it kills them!!!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 01/17/12 - 06:11 am
0
0
itsanotherday1, I am so sorry

itsanotherday1, I am so sorry to hear about your best friend fighting for his life due to cigarettes and other biological risk factors. In reality though whether there is a ban on smoking in bars or not, this would not have affected the outcome of your friends situation. His health would not have been improved because of the ban...he still would have choosen to smoke. As long as cigarettes are legal, people have the choice. A senario, If my father is overweight due to diabetes and over-eating, his health is in terrible condition, do I wish to close down all the fast food places or all the ice cream and soda shops. Wouldn't that seem stupid? But I could complain that he doesn't have enough will power to drive by these places without stopping inside and eating. How is this different than someone who does not smoke, goes into a bar knowing this is a smoking establishment, and goes in anyway. People complain about the workers being expose. These people choose to work there knowing before they started it was a smoking establishment. If they are truly concerned about their health, why wouldn't they search elsewhere for another job.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 01/17/12 - 06:37 am
0
0
This just in. Water is wet.

This just in. Water is wet.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 01/17/12 - 07:10 am
0
0
And fatback is bad for you.

And fatback is bad for you.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 01/17/12 - 07:39 am
0
0
Arguing against commonsense

Arguing against commonsense is difficult, but these are not good laws and the government is overstepping its limits.....again. The legislation versus private property rights is the real problem. Give up on this encroachment and you lose your freedom. I do not smoke, I avoid it, but damn if I think the law should MAKE smoking a criminal offense. The courts will be full of violators that will ultimately make cases that decide the fate of your own freedom. Bad law. None of their business.

CabisKhan
164
Points
CabisKhan 01/17/12 - 08:12 am
0
0
If they were to test the air

If they were to test the air in any indoor area, the particulates would greatly exceed established outdoor limits. Heck, the outdoors would exceed the limits. Faux science strikes again.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 09:27 am
0
0
how bout some legislature on

how bout some legislature on halitosis? Since we're at the point anyway..

itsanotherday1
46985
Points
itsanotherday1 01/17/12 - 09:39 am
0
0
ICL, let me be clear. I was

ICL, let me be clear. I was not speaking to the proposed law, but rather to the "I've smoked for 40 years with no ill effects, so it must not be harmful" implication by dichotomy. I hear that kind of reasoning all the time for smoking, drinking, eating fatback, etc. I think it does a disservice to society to take such positions when science clearly suggests otherwise. Some have bodies that are just more robust at defending against disease caused by these activities, but they are far from harmless to the general population.

edited to add: My record on supporting private business's ability to decide for themselves whether their establishments will allow smoking is clear and consistent. I do not approve of any government intrusion on them.

Riverman1
90651
Points
Riverman1 01/17/12 - 09:48 am
0
0
The fewer places smokers can

The fewer places smokers can smoke, the better off they are.

allhans
24520
Points
allhans 01/17/12 - 09:59 am
0
0
Research had to be done to

Research had to be done to determine this? Good gracious.

1/2

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 01/17/12 - 11:02 am
0
0
itsanotherday1, thanks for

itsanotherday1, thanks for your explanations, evidently I read your comment wrong. I thought you were implying that because of what your friend is going through you were in favor of a ban for private establishments on smoking.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 11:06 am
0
0
too bad same can't be said

too bad same can't be said for inalienable rights. The less I can light up means the less you thought you had.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 01/17/12 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Riverman, sorry to have to
Unpublished

Riverman, sorry to have to disagree, but that just isn't so. I just do ym business elsewhere or stay in more. These laws will not convince me nor most any other smoker to quit or slow down, only our will to be healthier will do that. They will just change the amount of business we give to these small businesses if any at all. We can always make up for lost time in our personal spaces. Ya know, you are right a little though, since smoking is banned in most places, we now either order online, get takeout and take our adult beverages home from the store rather than spend the money at the bar and tipping waitresses, do not frequent bars now, stay home drink, play pool cards or w/e. So yeah your are right now that I think about it, the better off smokers are as they save a lot of money by not going out..... extra money to buy more smokes with!!! yay...win win right? I think not! lol

What your statement in disguise really says to me is, the better for grown adults who cant use their own judgement to NOT frequent a smoking establishment.

Dont get me wrong I want to quit so bad and I will, and this law past or present or future ones have nothing to do with it at all and if I didnt already want to quit, I'd smoke twice as much in every single outdoor place I could to make sure it bothered someone eventually out of spite, ..........but putting so much effort into prohibiting a citizen in this country to operate a place where he allows grown adults to choose their LEGAL poison, ie smoking, while allowing alcohol there, is nothing shy of hypocritical, and backwards priorities!

blakkone
72
Points
blakkone 01/17/12 - 02:30 pm
0
0
Has anyone hear heard about

Has anyone hear heard about this new technology, called a "CD"? Its a circular disk with a hole and supposed to be better than cassette tapes!! You can actually play the next song with having to Fast Forward!! >:-|

socks99
250
Points
socks99 01/17/12 - 03:09 pm
0
0
Here's more of the typical

Here's more of the typical "junk" science that was specifically paid-for, designed, and conducted to influence the pending legislation; moreover, the 'junk science' is smoothed and ushered along by the "junk journalism" of a pro-ban activist masquerading as an objective "reporter." This is public policy-making at its worse; if advocates wish to criminalize ALL use of tobacco, then let the use their 'data' to get the states to adopt a Constitutional Amendment that Prohibits the use of tobacco.

It's very interesting to see that at the same time Gov. Nathan Deal and other Legislators are discussing the financial problems associated with incarcerating more folks, per capita, than any other state: You have the politically correct liberals trying to get the police and prosecutors to PUNISH the smokers by enacting into law one more LAW. No doubt this crowd is completely satisfied using the POWER OF THE STATE to enforce rules where the threat to public health is VERY small or non-existent;

At the very least, legislators ought to consider decriminalizing pot and the use of alcohol for those 18-20 years old; they -- and local policy makers -- should NOT be adding more laws. Make the bans 'voluntary' so that non-smokers can choose to go to non-smoking bars; and smokers can hang out at the 'cool' clubs!

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 01/17/12 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Talk about pollution, just go
Unpublished

Talk about pollution, just go to a commissioners' meeting!

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/17/12 - 03:13 pm
0
0
I am sure the research was

I am sure the research was conducted by a completely unbiasd group. The groups need to stop trying to police and save the world......a persons privately owned business is just that and government should not be allowed to interfere. If I don't want to be around smoke I have enough sense to stay away from it.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 03:14 pm
0
0
So the title says something

So the title says something to the effect that is already common sense. Smoking causes smoke, which is different than air, we call it pollution. The smaller the enclosure and more smokers, the worse the pollution. Pretty cut and dry no?

Here's the point that I snag on. Smoking in cars with children. This certainly should be abolished post haste. It is not an infringement on your inalienable rights but on theirs. So, from a smoker to smokers, we already have the man breathing down our necks, lay off the smoking in your auto with kids in there. It's bad for them and they typically don't have much say so in the matter, so it's up to you to police yourself.

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