Is smoking law necessary?

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I have attended prior meetings concerning the proposed smoking ordinance, and as the final vote is scheduled for today, I have several questions.

Who brought this smoking ordinance to the Augusta Commission in the first place? Was it a local concerned citizen who wrote a simple letter or stood up before the commission and asked that it be drafted? Could it have been lobbyists who get paid to travel from city to city in groups to skewer our government?

Is this smoking ordinance necessary? We get it – smoking, among other things, is bad for you. But nobody is forcing a nonsmoker to be around it. There is no law on the books that mandates establishments to allow smoking, and there is no law requiring a nonsmoker to frequent an establishment that does. That falls under “free market.”

Let citizens decide if they want to frequent a smoking or nonsmoking establishment. We’re all big boys and girls. Just because one kid doesn’t eat cookies doesn’t mean the whole class has to go without, even if cookies make us fat.

When will we think government intrusion on private citizens has gone too far? I’ve heard from smokers and nonsmokers that this proposed ordinance is stepping on the rights of personal property owners, and all are wondering what will be next on the list. Beef, pork, salt or ice cream? Is the government going to eliminate nuts and milk because some are allergic or intolerant? Are they going to ban cars so you have to walk everywhere because you don’t get enough exercise on your own and might collapse and kill someone when you have that heart attack? When will enough be enough?

The financial impact from this proposed smoking ordinance will not be good. Even the lawyer for Augusta raised the question of losing revenue from private rentals to surrounding counties if smoking was banned on all county-owned property. The Augusta Commission quickly approved to amend that portion of the ordinance. So why wouldn’t commissioners think that the ordinance wouldn’t affect privately owned establishments and ultimately the county’s bottom line?

Don’t city departments have better things to do than smoke-patrol? It sounds like a lot of hassle to intrude on personal property rights when the solution is simple. Let the free market decide.

Amy Lewis

Augusta

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TParty
6003
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TParty 02/07/12 - 02:23 am
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I'm always on the fence with

I'm always on the fence with this issue- because it's not my capital I'm risking by putting into a business- so I feel as if I don't have a say in what they do. It's their business model, not mine. But then I wonder if it falls in line with safety. We don't want restaurants storing raw chicken with produce, that will be consumed later as salad do we? Or restaurants never cleaning their kitchens because it's their personal property and they can do what they want? Do we want a warning if there was a spill in a store, and the tile will be wet and slippery, potentially causing a fall and injury?

Along the lines rules and regulations- places have to be handicap accessible, and the lawsuits would pour in if a business decided to no longer serve African-Americans. WHo here thinks that should be left up to the free market? Shouldn't a private business do what they want? Well some can, because there are gyms where men cannot join, it's women exclusive.

What about workers at establishments where smoking is allowed? Should they quit their job if they do no want to be subjected to smoke filled rooms daily, for 8 hours a day- or should we protect the workers?

I dunno... do you have a free market that can do as it pleases- whether right or wrong? Or do you have regulations from government that is trying to protect people- even it means higher costs and burden on the business owner?

If you say smoking should be allowed, and non-smokers understand the risks by surrounding themselves- how far should we take that stance on other issues with the same thoughts.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 02/07/12 - 04:35 am
0
0
We need the government

We need the government regulating EVERY aspect of our lives because we evidently don't know how to live. They (government) need to tell us what to eat,drink,what job to have,how much money we can earn,what to spend the money on,who we should partner with,what kind of pet to have,what car to drive,how much we can drive OOPS THEY ALREADY DO! TOO LATE!

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/07/12 - 05:31 am
0
0
Maybe the epa should jump in

Maybe the epa should jump in and start taxing on each person's carbon output! We can have personal cap and trade. We could all wear carbon monitors and when your carbon output exeeds your limit.....off to the re-education camp you go!

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 02/07/12 - 06:45 am
0
0
We could always trade our

We could always trade our grandchildren's allotment of carbon emissions so we can have more. Yea,that'll work.

Soheyr
0
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Soheyr 02/07/12 - 08:21 am
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Many of us would go out more

Many of us would go out more if we were not subjecting our health to other peoples' destructive habits. Many cities are now doing this and it has not hurt the businesses--in fact, in many cases it has helped the businesses. Smoking is a choice, yes, but people used to realize it was an unhealthy choice and considerate people went outside or to the "smoking room" to indulge their vice. Stopping smoking is one of the best things anyone can do for their health and that of the people which with they associate. Sitting in a smoky room breathing destructive air has made us have to stop going to many places we used to enjoy and kept many of our friends from going as well. The first question many people ask when we ask them to join us for a night out is,"Is it smoky?" When we say it is, most people--from college age to seniors--say they are sorry but they can't take the smoke.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/07/12 - 08:41 am
0
0
There's a very simple

There's a very simple solution. Require businesses that allow smoking to place a sign on the door that says, "This is a smoking establishment". That way no one who is offended by smoking would enter accidentally.

Riverman1
86718
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Riverman1 02/07/12 - 08:46 am
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Techfan, the realistic

Techfan, the realistic problem with that is all bars and restaurants would put the signs up.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 02/07/12 - 08:50 am
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That's an interesting theory,

That's an interesting theory, Riverman1. What brings you to that conclusion?

Riverman1
86718
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Riverman1 02/07/12 - 08:53 am
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Harley, it's just how it is.

Harley, it's just how it is. I think you know they would, too. It would be for a combination or reasons, but the net effect would be there would be nowhere nonsmokers could go.

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 02/07/12 - 08:57 am
0
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All of you who favor the

All of you who favor the government controlling your smoking and drinking will be thrilled to see that they're now discussing the government controlling your sugar intake. They've already taken care of trans fat, so sugar is a natural next step. Then what, beef?

Hooray for BIG government.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/02/02/healthwatch-ucsf-doctor-says...

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 02/07/12 - 09:02 am
0
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Sorry, Riverman, I have a

Sorry, Riverman, I have a totally different view. I'm quite sure there are many restaurants and some bars that would cater to the nonsmokers. My view is that they'll cater to where most of the money is and since the overwhelming number of people are now non-smokers they'll get their share of places to go.

I view it as a government intrusion into property rights, much more than a public health issue.

This week smoking, next week sugar, week after that perfume, then......

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/07/12 - 09:11 am
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Harley: I'm just curious if

Harley: I'm just curious if you believe a restaurant should be allowed to take short cuts in cleanliness and food safety, by not always washing dishes and plates- and in the kitchen there is a lot of cross contamination. Do you think it would be a government intrusion to have safety standards, that if not followed there would be fines and possible closure? Or do you think property rights should trump everything, allowing establishments to do as they please and that the free market will work itself out?

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/07/12 - 09:27 am
0
0
If being a non-smoking

If being a non-smoking establishment is actually good for business, as asserted above, why would businesses allow it? Those that wish to have all of that extra business would be free to ban it. Those that want to struggle with the decreased revenue could still allow it.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 02/07/12 - 09:34 am
0
0
A smoking law isn't any more

A smoking law isn't any more needed than Prohibition laws were.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 02/07/12 - 09:37 am
0
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soyear. So you are afraid of
Unpublished

soyear. So you are afraid of going anywhere because there is someone potentially smoking nearby? And just when did it become a "vice"? I wasn't aware it was illegal to smoke. Sorry about your not being able to go out and soak up the suds with your alcohol imbibing friends, but maybe smokers have saved your and my lives by keeping drinkers from getting behind the wheel. I believe that if a person was concerned about their health, as you are, they wouldn't be out drinking and driving anyway.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 02/07/12 - 09:59 am
0
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"considerate people went

"considerate people went outside or to the "smoking room" to indulge their vice"

Nonsmokers complain about this also. They want to ban outdoor smoking and complain that the smoking room, you can still smell the smoke.

Soheyr, I was under the impression that most places, like Applebees and other "bar/grill" type places, were smoke free....if you want to enjoy a drink without the smoke, go to one of these places.

There are a lot of legal "vices" that we humans participate in that may not be healthy, but when government starts governing everything that we do, it no longer is American, the land of the free.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 02/07/12 - 10:18 am
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0
TParty, I believe you lost

TParty, I believe you lost the point you were trying to make when you assumed those that feel it is the property owners right whether to allow smoking or not to allow smoking in their establishment, when you insinuated "Or do you think property rights should trump everything,".

I believe there is a big difference in food safety and whether an establishment allows smoking. Speaking of food safety, how is everyone going to like it when they pass a law, no more greasy, cheesy, french fries. No more sugary, wonderful pastries, etc...

From now on you go to a smoke free bar that will only serve healthy, vegetarian food and oh yeah, no more alcohol. It's bad for you and you have to order water or fruit juices. No more sodas either. It's all bad for your health.

skeptic griggsy
39
Points
skeptic griggsy 02/07/12 - 10:22 am
0
0
Soheyr, exactly! From the
Unpublished

Soheyr, exactly!
From the establishment of this Union, we have limited the rights of businesspeople to do as they wish. This is not a limit on real rights but the recogntion that other matters are at play. In this case the right of people not to have others harm them with that poison called tobacco.
Please, don't use the fallacy of the slippery slope as we decide matters case by case on their merits,so that government won't decide all personal matters as the slippery slope sophists ever proclaim!
We of the ACLU are ever skeptical of actual government intrusion. This case is not one.

allhans
23992
Points
allhans 02/07/12 - 10:23 am
0
0
How did the conversation go

How did the conversation go from smoking to cleanliness.
Sorry, but I don't get the connection.
Some laws are necessary, some aren't. That don't mean put controls on all aspects of our lives does it?

Rhetor
1020
Points
Rhetor 02/07/12 - 10:56 am
0
0
Smokers do not have a right

Smokers do not have a right to poison me. Let them stay home and poison themselves. If they want to poison their own loved ones at home, that's really a shame.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/07/12 - 11:03 am
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0
ICL- I was wondering if you

ICL-

I was wondering if you could explain the difference in food safety at an establishment and air quality at the same place. Why would they not fall under the same clause, or be caught up in the same net?

I also don't see where you are lost on the property rights trumps everything remark. I'm just curious if you and others believe that property rights should not be infringed upon by government officials. There are building codes, safety codes, and food codes that restaurants and other businesses have to follow- rules and regulations from government. Do we leave things as they are now? Remove some rules, all rules? Do we add some more regulations like non-smoking? If so, does that grow into no trans fat or no high-fructose corn syrup?

Is a warning enough saying "Establishment may contain smoke" just like menus says "dishes may contain peanuts"?

Should the quality of my air suffer because you decide to smoke indoors, because I was free to walk in, and I am free to walk out?

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 02/07/12 - 11:04 am
0
0
I am a non-smoker. I don't

I am a non-smoker. I don't patronize smokey restaurants. I have no objection to restaurant owners' decisions to make THEIR restaurants either smoking, or non-smoking establishments. I'll spend my money in places where smoking is not ALLOWED BY THE OWNER.

If I decided to go to a smoking restaurant, it would be my choice just as smokers have the choice to patronize non-smoking restaurants.

Sorry, I see absolutely no reason for the government to restrict an owners right to decide whether or not to allow smoking patrons in HIS establishment.

I'm pro-choice on this issue. The owner should have the right to decide how to use HIS property and patrons should have the right to choose which restaurants they patronize.

I suspect we'll pass the smoking law, many other cities and towns have already done so. I'll live with it and obey it, just like I do all other laws. It's another personal freedom taken away by an ever more intrusive government that has appropriately been compared to the pot of warm water with the frog inside, so slowly being brought to a boil that the frog never even notices.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/07/12 - 11:14 am
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0
For once, harley and I agree.

For once, harley and I agree.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/07/12 - 11:16 am
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"Sorry, I see absolutely no

"Sorry, I see absolutely no reason for the government to restrict an owners right to decide whether or not to allow smoking patrons in HIS establishment.

I'm pro-choice on this issue. The owner should have the right to decide how to use HIS property and patrons should have the right to choose which restaurants they patronize."

Do you think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong- where the government passed legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments"?

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 02/07/12 - 11:19 am
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0
Techfan said "For once,

Techfan said "For once, harley and I agree."

Celebrate it, Techfan. It proves there's some hope for you. :)

Little Lamb
46814
Points
Little Lamb 02/07/12 - 11:39 am
0
0
Some people extend smoking

Some people extend smoking bans to personal vehicles:

Not in your car

And Commissioner Corey Johnson wants to ban smoking in personal vechicles if there are children in the vehicle:

Not around children

The quote is about halfway down in the article. Here is a quote:

. . . banning smoking in a car where children are present. Johnson had asked to have the cars added “because of the fact that those minors do not have a voice” concerning smoking in the car, he said.

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 02/07/12 - 11:55 am
0
0
For some reason the media

For some reason the media keeps failing to report the whole story, they clipped my interview from "By the time the government gets through stripping us of our rights, we'll be left sitting naked in our living rooms with nothing to do because we won't be allowed to do anything." to "We'll be left naked in our living rooms." and again with this letter, leaving out that establishments that wish to go non-smoking can do so at anytime - without hiding behind an ordinance. (and a lot more) There is plenty of room for all of us. Nobody is forcing a non-smoker to hang out with smokers. I can't count how many times a non-smoker chose to sit in a smoking area and rant about the smoke when there were plenty of non-smoking areas to sit. There are plenty of events that advertise as a non-smoking event so all this whining about non-smokers not having anywhere to go is a load of pooh. If you have a problem with the product then go after the manufacturer, not the people who use that product. And sure - if this ban passes I will stay home, and I'll keep my wallet home with me.

dichotomy
34305
Points
dichotomy 02/07/12 - 11:55 am
0
0
Crusaders always need "the

Crusaders always need "the next" battle. Once they win this one, as some writers have said, it will be fatty foods, salt, sugar, etc. and eventually they will get around to banning something that, heaven forbid, you happen to like. Crusaders are sick busybodies who are insatiable in their desire to dictate to other people what they can and cannot do. I am sure they will probably win this battle and I am just as sure they are already sharpening their knives for the next crusade, which hopefully is something you really really like to do.

Soon you will all be able to visit your local bar and drink root beer and be served raw broccoli as a snack while you peruse the vegan menu.

I hope all of you non-smoking, sugarless, saltless, fatty-foodless folks live a long boring tasteless life. You can all sit around together munching on your broccoli while you are peeing in your britches and shopping for your hoveround. Me, well I intend to go out with a Winston in one hand, a pack of fries in the other, my last bite of cheeseburger still in my mouth, and reaching for a Jack Daniels & coke. I may have to give up the cheeseburger and fires if the crusaders outlaw smoking at the drive-thru window.....or outlaw cheeseburgers and fries.......or maybe even Jack Daniels. You just never know about crusaders. They won't be satisfied until we are all eating raw (or steamed) broccoli....and no cheese on that.....it's fattening you know.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 02/07/12 - 12:20 pm
0
0
Cigarettes aren't a food they

Cigarettes aren't a food they are a drug, least you forget. Nicotine is equal in addiction to heroin, and vascular surgeons would be obsolete yet for smokers-that's their mainstay. You can't drink and drive so why the hooplah about regulating where you smoke. After that personally I think they should be allowed in bars but where food is served forget it. Smokers are often rude and just blow smoke in your face-I find solace to know the odds they will die a slow and agonizing death from cancer. But I get looks and complaints when I smoke cigars on the beach-but come on give me a break. But the progressive mantra is to regulate everything because they know best what is good for ya.

Little Lamb
46814
Points
Little Lamb 02/07/12 - 12:47 pm
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dichotomy wrote: Soon you

dichotomy wrote:

Soon you will all be able to visit your local bar and drink root beer and be served raw broccoli as a snack while you peruse the vegan menu.

Not quite. Root beer has too much sugar. The bar will have to serve diet root beer.

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