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Augusta Commission rejects smoking ban

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 4:30 PM
Last updated 6:48 PM
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For the second time in less than two years, the Augusta Commission rejected a tougher ban on smoking in public places that would have included bars – stunning a large group of supporters of the ordinance.

Tom Corwin
Health Reporter
E-mail | 706-823-3213

By a 6-4 vote, the commission dismissed the ordinance, with Commissioners Mary Davis, Alvin Mason, Joe Jackson, Wayne Guilfoyle, Marion Williams and Grady Smith voting against it. Commissioners Bill Fennoy, Bill Lockett, Donnie Smith and Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson voted against the dismissal.

Johnson, the sponsor of the proposed ordinance, had been trying to table the proposal to do some “tweaks” to what it would cover. Kirk Miller, Georgia’s grassroots manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said there was some talk about exempting private clubs such as the American Legion, which made the group unhappy. There was also discussion about whether electronic cigarettes would be covered, which the ordinance included in the ban, Johnson said.

“It has to be comprehensive, and e-cigarettes have to be included in that,” he said. “Who is going to be determining what’s a cigarette and what’s an e-cigarette? These are the things we have to get worked out. We need to get together and talk about these things.”

Donnie Smith said the ordinance was 20 pages long and deserved further discussion.

“A 20-page ordinance that affects 200,000 people in this community cannot be debated in this forum today,” he said.

Instead, Jackson proposed an outright dismissal, which passed without much discussion about 15 minutes after the commission took up the issue. He did not return a call seeking comment.

“That was pretty quick, wasn’t it,” said Jennifer Anderson, the chairwoman of the BreathEasy Coalition, which had been trying to rally support. “This outright vote to just dismiss it is unwarranted, as far as what we’ve seen in our community. We had hoped we could discuss something of this nature and to hear all of the facts.”

Dr. Terrence Cook, a former Richmond County Board of Health chairman who has been working on a tougher smoking ordinance for Augusta since the 1990s, called it appalling and said other cities in Georgia have already passed a similar ordinance.

“Are we going to be the last community in Georgia to pass this?” he said, adding that it was embarrassing in light of the city’s status as a regional health care referral center.

Anderson said she is not shutting the door on trying again.

“I think they haven’t seen the last of it, and I will be supportive of the endeavor for better working conditions for any of our citizens,” she said.

Comments (21) Add comment
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aintryt
211
Points
aintryt 11/05/13 - 05:41 pm
18
7
Applause for 6 commissioners

Despite the bully tactics from Breathe Easy, 6 commissioners voted that adults were intelligent enough to walk out of an adult smoking establishment if they didn't like it. Kudos to a county that doesn't blindly follow others.

restguy
502
Points
restguy 11/05/13 - 05:49 pm
13
5
Now the fake...

Girl in the fake restaurant can get out of town & off my tv lol

Sweet son
13706
Points
Sweet son 11/05/13 - 05:58 pm
10
6
Glad the Commission could vote on something and do something.

They do not seem able to make any decisions on anything!! Now get down to the 8 million deficit for next years budget. Cut spending and operate a budget like the rest of us have to do.

Holding my breath but not expecting anything.

Dixieman
21045
Points
Dixieman 11/05/13 - 06:21 pm
18
7
HOORAY!

A victory for freedom, common sense, and property owners' rights and a defeat for silly, left-wing pseudoscience. Thank you, Commissioners! Best thing the Commission has done in years.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 11/05/13 - 06:27 pm
6
22
Commission
Unpublished

Tobacco money has spoken, now lets see what the voters want next election. By then more smokers will be dead and more people who want to let thier children breathe in public will be at the polls.

dichotomy
43343
Points
dichotomy 11/05/13 - 07:00 pm
16
6
Well, I have to give the

Well, I have to give the devil his due. It is amazing to see our commission do the right thing for once. It's even more amazing to see all 10 of them present for a vote at the same time and actually make the right decision.....in spite of the 4 busybody big government nanny votes by those who are willing to so easily take away people's right to choose.

Now, all you no-smoking whackos should concentrate your efforts on bar owners and find the ones willing to post a No-Smoking sign on the door and we will have a FAIR and FREE resolution to this little problem. Then maybe the BreathEasy coalition can go after the fat women with the potpourri meat rub perfume.

restguy
502
Points
restguy 11/05/13 - 07:07 pm
3
9
Yeah we want children in bars

Yeah we want children in bars so they can smoke !!!

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 11/05/13 - 07:22 pm
9
5
Good job, folks.

Good job, folks.

MichaelMcFadden
8
Points
MichaelMcFadden 11/05/13 - 07:22 pm
0
0
They'll never stop... Till you pull their funding.
Unpublished

Ban sponsor Johnson asked, "“Who is going to be determining what’s a cigarette and what’s an e-cigarette?"

That's odd. I thought Johnson and his supporters usually claim that a single person lighting up in a large restaurant *ruins* the dinner experience of everyone else in the place with the "stench" from the smoke. Yet suddenly they can't tell the difference between that smoke and water vapor?

Methinks someone's been telling some fibbers here. Read "The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" by Googling "V.Gen5H" and reading the top selection. You might be surprised, and it's a quick read.

Meanwhile, note what the BreateEasy staffer said after the ban was voted down: "they haven’t seen the last of it" Yep. That's true: as long as our tax money is being pumped into their pockets antismoking organizations will continue to come back, and back, and back to hammer their fanatical demands for wider and wider bans... just like vampires from a bad movie. Pull their funding and see how much they're actually committed to what they preach. But give in to them, even a little bit, and they'll just be back next year for more: your homes, jobs, cars, parks, beaches, and sidewalks are all in their plans... step by step.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame"

Gage Creed
21482
Points
Gage Creed 11/05/13 - 08:03 pm
5
8
"Tobacco money has spoken,

"Tobacco money has spoken, now lets see what the voters want next election. By then more smokers will be dead and more people who want to let thier (sic) children breathe in public will be at the polls."

It sure is going to be a sad day... people not wanting to let their children breathe in public and all.... (SMH)

nocnoc
61371
Points
nocnoc 11/05/13 - 10:13 pm
4
5
A seed has been planted

an in 5 to 10 years as NEW AGE (Touchy-Feely) POLITICIANS are elected it will happen. A 6-4 vote shows that.1 vote from a tie and Dinky casing the PC tie breaking vote.

BUT, by then District 8 will have separated thru a De-Consolidation vote.
And the Peach Ord. RD CBD (Tubman Home Rd to Virgina Ave.) will become the new Bar area .=== With Smoking allowed.====

deestafford
40773
Points
deestafford 11/05/13 - 11:56 pm
8
6
In this instance common sense and freedom of choice won.

Hats off to the six who voted against low level tyranny.

Bodhisattva
9980
Points
Bodhisattva 11/06/13 - 06:32 am
5
4
Even on the anti-smoking

Even on the anti-smoking Nazis' own website, their research says that only 45% of the people want smoking banned in bars. Don't worry, they'll keep pushing with the actors in the fake restaurants where everyone chain smokes until they get their way. BTW: Are the hundreds of fast food, fried chicken, fried burger, bacon on top of extra bacon with fries and fried onion rings piled on top of a 1/2 pound fat filled fried burger with fat filled fake cheese sauce oozing out the sides with a large order of fries on the side and a 32oz coke with a fried apple pie joints a ringing endorsement of the Augusta in light of the city’s status as a regional health care referral center? Heck, most of the hospitals that I've been in have a McDonald's, Burger King, Chik-fil-A, or some other fast food joint inside, or at least sell their products. Even if they don't, they have coke and candy machines all over the place, and the cafeterias sell all kinds of fat and sodium, laced foods. Oh, they'll have "healthy" option, but that's sort of like the old days when they had a smoking section. They just didn't make money from the smoking section (at least not for quite a few years). Like I've said all along, it has nothing to do with health, it's the anti-smoking Nazis at work.

Bodhisattva
9980
Points
Bodhisattva 11/06/13 - 06:38 am
7
3
“Who is going to be

“Who is going to be determining what’s a cigarette and what’s an e-cigarette?" What kind of asinine statement is that? You ever see a bowl of fruit on someone's table? You ever walk over and pick up a piece? Can you tell if it's a real apple or if it's a plastic apple? Question answered.

harley_52
30855
Points
harley_52 11/06/13 - 06:38 am
6
4
Good...

....they did the right thing. Commissioner Guilfoyle was quoted in an earlier story as having said "....And if they succeed on smoking, will they be back to tackle obesity, Guilfoyle wondered.

“Probably next it will be our guns,” he said."

There's a man who understands how "progressives" execute their plan.

Bodhisattva
9980
Points
Bodhisattva 11/06/13 - 07:05 am
1
4
The "guns" line was a

The "guns" line was a stretch. It's not progressives executing any plan. That's bull. Progressives would just as soon you be able to smoke pot in the bars as well.

seenitB4
116984
Points
seenitB4 11/06/13 - 07:06 am
5
3
Good decision

We can not legislate everything in life..period.

nanowerx
1575
Points
nanowerx 11/06/13 - 07:29 am
8
2
i dont amoke and am against the ban

The ban as a whole was asinine to begin with, but the fact that the guy who proposed it literally would make no distinction between ecigs and tobacco cigarettes is appalling.

angedelune
238
Points
angedelune 11/06/13 - 08:00 am
2
2
notice

the commission did something smart for once, not so much in voting against the ordinance, but actually realizing that the document made no distinction between e-cigs and cigarettes and several other factors. im for letting the bar owners decide smoking or non but if you're going to present an ordinance you have to be specific. why would you ban e-cigs as well?

harley_52
30855
Points
harley_52 11/06/13 - 08:19 am
7
3
"why would you ban e-cigs as well?"

Why would you ban toy guns from schools? Why would you kick a child out of schools for making his thumb and forefinger into a representation of a gun? Why would you kick a child out of school for wearing a T-shirt with a patriotic message? Why would you kick a child out of school for having an aspirin in their pocket/purse?

Mindless "progressivism" is all I can say? People who can't think, but are so caught up in an anti-freedom, nanny government, "we know better than you" mindset.

Why should the government decide what kind of health insurance you MUST buy with your own money?

It's a pattern and it's a plan.

We are servants at the feet of big government. We must like it because we keep electing people who support it and will force more of it down our throats.

Bodhisattva
9980
Points
Bodhisattva 11/06/13 - 08:23 am
0
3
Has anyone found a link to

Has anyone found a link to the actual ordinance? I keep seeing snippets of what it bans, but not the actual wording. They once said they just wanted people to "take it outside" for smoking, then I saw that it would ban smoking on patios. Bit by bit, the wording kept getting more intrusive. No e-cigs, an owner can't build a covered patio to cater to smoking clientele? What other little goodies are hidden in the thing?

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
16663
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 11/06/13 - 09:23 am
2
1
Bod

Stay off of my Chicken, Bacon, Onion Ring Burgers!! I'll have you know they are single handedly responsible for Augusta having one of the best Heart Centers around. Dang it, now I've got to reopen and rename the Cheeks Canal Coffee, Donut, Bar & Grill and Psychiatric Center to the Cheeks Canal Coffee, Donut, Bar & Heart Attack Grill and Psychiatric Center!!!! Or " The Cholesterol Palace" for short!!

harley_52
30855
Points
harley_52 11/06/13 - 09:26 am
4
2
"Bit by bit, the wording kept getting more intrusive."

That's the way it works. Take away your freedoms, one inch at a time.

Do you remember where this all started? It was "no smoking" on domestic airline flights of one hour, or less. That's it. You can smoke everywhere else, but on commercial airliners flying within the U.S. on flights less than one hour.

Then it was any domestic flight of 3 hours or less. Then any domestic flight. Then, finally, you can't smoke on any commercial flight any where, any time.

Then it was 'you can't smoke in elevators." Then inside public buildings. Then inside privately owned businesses where non-smokers are present. Then, within 30 feet of doors of public buildings. Slowly it expands...inch by inch...freedom by freedom.

They know if they do it all at once you'll scream bloody murder. But, if they do it an inch at a time, people will get used to it and won't mind.

Like the frog in the pot of warm water on the stove....

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 11/06/13 - 11:18 am
1
1
Interesting.

A lot of people that ordinarily don't see eye-to-eye on anything are all in agreement on this issue, myself included. If a business chooses to let people smoke inside, and everyone inside understands the risks of smoking, then why shouldn't they be allowed to?

"Who is going to be determining what’s a cigarette and what’s an e-cigarette?"

Are you freaking kidding me? Really?

Sean Moores
430
Points
Sean Moores 11/06/13 - 12:04 pm
0
0
@ Bodhisattva 7:23

Try this link to download the entire ordinance. http://t.co/ZNNgbEkFzR It let me download it.

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 11/06/13 - 12:49 pm
1
1
I can actually see both sides of the issue...

...but the fact that they're even considering banning e-cigarettes demonstrates that this process has not been intelligently thought out or discussed.

Does Mayor Pro Tem Johnson even know what an e-cigarette is?

KSL
171286
Points
KSL 11/06/13 - 01:13 pm
2
2
I would rather be exposed to

I would rather be exposed to cigarette smoke on a flight than someone with the flu coughing.

Bodhisattva
9980
Points
Bodhisattva 11/07/13 - 05:41 am
0
0
Thanks Sean.

Thanks Sean.

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