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Smoking ordinance going back to Augusta Commission

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:12 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:36 PM
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Advocates for a smoke-free environment for all workers are once again pushing for an ordinance that would ban smoking in public places in Augusta.

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Leesa Miller, of Hephzibah, smokes in Metro Coffee House and Pub downtown. A statewide law bans smoking in restaurants and most public places that allow people under 18, but not in bars.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Leesa Miller, of Hephzibah, smokes in Metro Coffee House and Pub downtown. A statewide law bans smoking in restaurants and most public places that allow people under 18, but not in bars.

A nearly identical ordinance was defeated last year, but Augusta Commission members on either side of the issue say the new commission makeup leaves its fate up in the air.

The Richmond County Board of Health voted to endorse the ordinance, and Augusta Mayor Pro Tempore Corey Johnson, who advocated for it the last time, said he will likely bring it up in one of the next rounds of committee meetings to “start the dialogue.”

He said he expects the commission to take it up in late June or July and potentially pass it in August or early September.

Advocates of the ordinance, primarily the Breatheasy Augusta Coalition, said they are in a stronger place than last year because they have done more public education.

That includes television commercials and ads at bus stops and on buses pushing the issue as a matter of a worker’s right to a smoke-free environment, said coalition Chairwoman Jennifer Anderson, the director of respiratory care for Georgia Regents Medical Center.

A statewide smoking ordinance in 2005 banned smoking in restaurants and most public places that allow people under age 18 but left it in place in bars, she said.

The debate during the last go-around left the impression that the ordinance was trying to do away with smoking, but that was not the case, Anderson said.

“Smoking is legal,” she said. “We just want you to take it outside.”

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who opposed the ordinance the first time, said that decision should be left up to the employer and to the business owner. He said some bars have chosen to go smoke-free on their own.

“That is their own right to do that,” Guilfoyle said.

Anderson compared it to current health requirements that bars and other public places have to comply with, such as cooking food to a certain temperature and maintaining personal hygiene.

“We want people to wash their hands,” she said. “We want clean food. Why not have clean air?”

Johnson said the public education campaign could make a difference.

“I think we’re in a good position this year,” he said. Johnson said there are four new commissioners on the body that rejected it last year, which could change things.

“It just depends on how receptive the commission is on it,” he said.

Guilfoyle said it is harder to read this time around.

“The dynamics are totally different than what we had last year,” he said.

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Dixieman
17426
Points
Dixieman 05/15/13 - 08:33 pm
8
6
Nanny state cr*p

I don't smoke (used to) and don't like being around it, but this is too much. FREEDOM and LIBERTY are what this country is founded on. Too repressive - DO NOT GIVE IN!

jmo
18531
Points
jmo 05/15/13 - 08:34 pm
7
3
Good News

Please pass it.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 05/15/13 - 08:48 pm
5
8
Smoking
Unpublished

Ok there Dixieman, are you free to urinate on the sidewalk? Can you have a BM in the middle of a resturant? Everyone has these body functions, and of course we have rules to live by wherever you are. For the same reasons we don't do these body functions in pubic we should not allow tobacco to be used in public. The smell, the sanatary issues, these make tobacco users the modern day plague bearers.

dichotomy
37518
Points
dichotomy 05/15/13 - 09:30 pm
12
5
"are you free to urinate on

"are you free to urinate on the sidewalk?"

Oh get real. I'm tired of having the government push certain groups just because they are socially unpopular. And if a whiff of second hand smoke was as bad as they tell you it is there would be bodies littering the streets. And NOBODY from the senior generation would every have lived long enough to be an "oldredneckman96" since smoking was everywhere back then.

Why in the hell won't they do something SANE like authorize smoking only bars and smoking only restaurants that hire smoking only employees. Smokers have a right to go out and eat and have a snort too.

TakeAHike
191
Points
TakeAHike 05/15/13 - 10:14 pm
5
10
Sidewalks are public areas too!

Just ban smoking already! I'm sick of stinky nasty second hand smoke and rude arrogant smokers who think it's their right to smoke in the air the rest of us breathe. I'm sick of these idiots blowing it in my direction when dining outside (why don't they blow smoke on their friends/family instead?) and their cigarette butts everywhere on the sidewalk. If they want to smile they can do so at home.

allhans
24886
Points
allhans 05/16/13 - 01:34 am
3
1
Why..Why do so many want to

Why..Why do so many want to find fault with so many things. It is a constant...if they don't like it them everybody else should dislike it also....wanting us to all be clones...
I think the ranters probably has a vice or two themselves.

bumblebeerose
694
Points
bumblebeerose 05/16/13 - 01:48 am
7
1
@ Takeahike

Not all smokers are the way make them out to be. I am a smoker and I try to be considerate of non smokers. So please do not put all smokers in the same category some of us do have manners.

Riverman1
93819
Points
Riverman1 05/16/13 - 03:05 am
5
0
It's going to happen sooner

It's going to happen sooner or later. Columbia County has been smoke free in the bars for years.

Bodhisattva
7212
Points
Bodhisattva 05/16/13 - 03:49 am
1
3
Would they please disclose

Would they please disclose which local restaurant/bar they used to film the television commercial that seems to run incessantly. I can't seem to place it. Also, you have to love the, "There is no constitutional right to smoke" from their website. I'm sure the gentlemen at the Constitutional Convention would have tagged that right in had one of you said that to them as he was smoking. Right after he beat you with his cane.

Bodhisattva
7212
Points
Bodhisattva 05/16/13 - 04:27 am
5
5
I wonder if they'll go after

I wonder if they'll go after e-cigarettes again this time again as well? If so, it'll once again prove that it has nothing to do with health issues, just that they're anti-smoking Nazis on a crusade.

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 06:09 am
5
3
Here we go again

No bibles in hotels
no praying in school
no this & no that
no nekkid folks on Broad st
GEEEZ....let the business decide.....don't want to smell smoke--don't go there....one day we will be a bunch of clones---same eyes--same nose--same hair--I hope I'm gone when that happens.

bigj706
1425
Points
bigj706 05/16/13 - 06:18 am
3
2
Why shouldn't I go there just

Why shouldn't I go there just because a couple of people don't have self control and cant wait till they are home to smoke like a chimney

curly123053
5378
Points
curly123053 05/16/13 - 06:26 am
4
1
Do It !!

I have a friend in Greenville who never smoked a day in her life and she came down with emphysema from the smoking of co-workers and customers in the bar she worked in for 15 years. If people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend smoking is not a health threat with what we know now that is pretty pathetic to me. The people working in these establishments need to be protected somehow and the smokers themselves are not going to voluntarily change their habits. Anybody who lacks concern for themselves by smoking will not be concerned for those around them. I say pass it.

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 06:26 am
3
3
big706

What if the owners of the bar like to smoke....why should they have to go home to smoke....they are working all day/night......& no I am not a smoker but I can see both sides...& no I'm not promoting smoking either....just too many intrusions..

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 06:28 am
2
3
Many health hazards around us

Riding a bike alongside the highway...gonna stop that??

nocnoc
49217
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 06:39 am
4
4
Step 1 in Getting started in

Step 1 in Getting started in Politics.
Find a cause that stops something people like but enough people dislike and start an ADVOCACY GROUP. Use the ADVOCACY GROUP to gain political power and public notoriety.

Step 2 use the political power and notoriety to run for office.

Step 3 $$$ and control

=========================

This is a Business decision not a Government decision or some advocacy group's.

I don't smoke, having quit just over 25 years ago .

But it is a person choice, not some group of whining advocates.

If any of the Advocates for a smoke-free environment don't want to be exposed to smoke just avoid the places that allow smoke.
It is as simple as that. There will be businesses that cater to them just like there will be businesses that cater to smokers.

In short it is NOT their place to change the real world, or Augusta's PRIVATELY OWNED & OPERATED Businesses to meet their idealistic touchy-feely LIBERAL PC controlled world. Start looking for them to drag little kids in to the commissioner chambers and heart strings pulled.

What if a Advocacy Group started protesting MEAT or anything But water.What next and Advocacy Group to ban alcohol, 32 oz cokes, , or foods like potato chips, french fries, fried chicken, bacon, and etc...? We have seen this stupidilty in NYC already. Have that many Yankee PC Liberals moved south already?

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who opposed the ordinance the first time, said that decision should be left up to the employer and to the business owner. He said some bars have chosen to go smoke-free on their own.

Mr. Guilfoyle, The Comish of Dist 8 nail it when he said “That is their own right to do that,”.

Maybe it is time to start a ADVOCACY AGAINST POLITICAL ADVOCACY GROUP's (AA-PAG)? ☺

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 06:39 am
4
2
Drinking a martini

Now I like my tinis now & then...what if some decide that is a health hazard & want a ban on martinis....it might be a hazard to some because they can't tolerate liquor but I can....I can drink 2 without getting drunk....just feeeling fiiine....it is too easy to ban things.....& I am surprised that RM wants the roadblocks to stop but is ok with this intrusion....I know all about health reasons but it is still a big intrusion.

nocnoc
49217
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 06:45 am
4
4
REMEMBER . . This all started

REMEMBER
.
.

This all started back in the 1990's with a designated NON-Smoking area and the selling point "We just want a designated smoke free room to eat in, we'll never ask you to go outside."

itsanotherday1
48342
Points
itsanotherday1 05/16/13 - 06:45 am
6
3
Like Dixieman, I am a former

Like Dixieman, I am a former smoker who detests the stench; but I make a choice on whom and where I do business, and/or work. There are non-smoking bars people can work in if it bothers them as it does me. EVERYONE is in a smoking environment by choice; no one is forced to breath it.

nocnoc
49217
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 06:48 am
5
2
SIB4 - That brings up a funny question

in 20 years will there be a study that is used to limit the amount nicotine in a persons system?

Will we be seeing Road Block Checkpoints and Breathalyzer tests for smoking?

12barblues
238
Points
12barblues 05/16/13 - 06:58 am
3
5
It's about time

Georgia's always about 10-15 years behind the rest of the country.

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 07:07 am
4
4
ok --keep this in mind

Noo folks ..we don't want all your guns--just some of them,,heheh

Nooo folks..we don't want to stop smoking everywhere ..just some places..

Noo folks...we don't care if yo drink big cokes...just here in NYC..

Noo folks...we will let you drive trucks without seatbelts--just use them in cars...(heh)

on & on & on....we know MANY things can be deadly...we all admit that...but who has the right to TELL you what you can put in your mouth..

Next thing ya know they will ban too much sex...bet yall will hollar then!

seenitB4
97734
Points
seenitB4 05/16/13 - 07:09 am
2
3
anything is possible nocnoc

Will we be seeing Road Block Checkpoints and Breathalyzer tests for smoking?

Valkyrie1
315
Points
Valkyrie1 05/16/13 - 07:17 am
5
3
Second hand smoke is a public

Second hand smoke is a public health issue. I have no problem with people who choose to smoke, it's their lungs. However, it isn't your right to inflict it on me. I'm an asthmatic with a severe allergy to smoke. It isn't your "right" to make other people sick. I lived in a state where there was a smoking ban. There were smoke shelters outside most buildings where you could go smoke in peace and not inflict it on others. Why is this a problem?

My asthma is directly related to second hand smoke. My parents smoked indoors when I was a kid and now we all have chronic lung diseases. How is it ok and part of "liberty" and "freedom" to expose people to that?

Little Lamb
49115
Points
Little Lamb 05/16/13 - 07:17 am
4
3
Guilfoyle has it right

From the story:

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who opposed the ordinance the first time, said that decision should be left up to the employer and to the business owner. He said some bars have chosen to go smoke-free on their own. “That is their own right to do that,” Guilfoyle said.

Reporter Tom Corwin probably quoted Commissioner Guilfoyle accurately, but I believe Guilfoyle intended to say "left up to the employee and to the business owner." Employment is an agreement between two people. No one has a right to be employed. No one has a right to a job.

If you desire to work at a bar, and you desire to work in a non-smoking atmosphere; then make sure you seek employment in a non-smoking bar. It is that simple.

I detest these waitstaff who are lobbying to force their employers to prohibit smoking in the workplace.

Go somewhere else, for goodness sake.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 05/16/13 - 07:26 am
1
1
after the smoking ban we
Unpublished

"uh...ummm it aint not fair people git to smoke, it hurts my lungs and gibbs me a headache"...simple solution DON'T GO TO WHERE THEY ARE SMOKING...resturants and bars are private businesses YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TELLING BUSINESS OWNERS WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR PROPERTY!!!!!

Little Lamb
49115
Points
Little Lamb 05/16/13 - 07:24 am
3
4
Cause and Effect

Curly posted:

I have a friend in Greenville who never smoked a day in her life and she came down with emphysema from the smoking of co-workers and customers in the bar she worked in for 15 years.

In the first place, there is no way for Curly's friend to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what caused her emphysema. There are many environmental toxins that can cause emphysema other than tobacco smoke; and there are genetic tendencies, also.

In the second place, she worked 15 years in one smoke-filled bar and now whines to her friend Curly about her emphysema? That's pathetic. This one anecdote about emphysema should not be grounds for taking the freedom away from persons who desire to establish businesses catering to people who like to drink and smoke at the same time in the company of others. If the customers don't come, then the business fails.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 05/16/13 - 07:46 am
4
5
"Georgia's always about 10-15
Unpublished

"Georgia's always about 10-15 years behind the rest of the country."

If GA is 10-15 years behind the rest of the country in denying the liberties of it's people, I may want to move there.

nocnoc
49217
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 07:56 am
3
0
seenitB4 Banning SEX in GA

It already is

O.C.G.A. § 16-6-18. Fornication.
An unmarried person commits the offense of fornication when he voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 05/16/13 - 08:01 am
2
2
Yikes.....maybe not then.
Unpublished

Yikes.....maybe not then. ;-)

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