Originally created 08/24/04

Don't compromise health

The thing they never remember about King Solomon is that he never had to follow through.

Augusta Commissioners may be making a huge mistake if they try to split the baby by trying to forge a no-smoking ordinance that offends no one.

There is talk of compromise in the air now, after angry smokers and concerned nonsmokers vented to commissioners at a public hearing last Friday about a proposed ban on smoking in Richmond County bars and restaurants and most other public places.

The Downtown Advisory Panel is suggesting a ban on smoking only until 11 p.m.

It's an intriguing idea, and one that Athens-Clarke County has decided to try. Yet, if the subject truly is public health - which it is - you have to wonder what kind of compromise would be appropriate. Is secondhand smoke less hazardous after 11 p.m.? Is the health of night-shift workers less important than the health of day employees?

Would we make such a compromise with the health of our water? If not, then why consider making deals to allow unhealthy air?

The commission again considers the issue at its meeting Sept. 7. It will be interesting to see if commissioners think they can accommodate smokers and nonsmokers alike.

We're not sure even King Solo-mon could fashion a compromise that doesn't compromise public health.


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