Smoking sections on endangered list

Chris Thelen/Staff
A Highlander pub customer smokes in the North Augusta bar. Businesses such as The Highlander fear they could lose their smoking clientele if the city council votes to ban smoking in public areas.
Correction, July 8, 2008: Because of a reporter's error, the date of a North Augusta City Council meeting was incorrect in a story Sunday about proposed smoking bans in South Carolina. The council met Monday night. (Highlight changes)

AIKEN COUNTY

WHAT'S OFF LIMITS: In restaurants; banks; educational, convention, entertainment, health care and adult or child day-care centers; elevators; stores; within 10 feet of any entrance or exit to an enclosed area where smoking is banned

WHERE YOU CAN SMOKE: In enclosed rooms of restaurants and bars with separate ventilation systems; in bars and dining establishments that do not serve or employ anyone 18 or younger

PENALTY: $200 fine or 30 days in jail

WHAT'S NEXT: The smoking ban went into effect June 1, 2007. It was finalized by a vote of 6-3.

NORTH AUGUSTA

WHAT WOULD BE OFF LIMITS:

Indoors -- Galleries, libraries and museums; professional offices, banks, laundromats, hotels, and motels; bars; bingo facilities; conference centers and exhibition halls; educational facilities; elevators; health care facilities; hotel and motel lobbies; licensed child care and adult day-care facilities; lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes and other multiple-unit residential facilities; polling places; private clubs when they are being used for a function to which the general public is invited; public transportation; restaurants; retail stores, service lines, malls and public meeting places

Outdoors -- amphitheaters; ball parks and stadiums in use for competitions and public performances; parades; dining areas in public, such as sidewalks

WHERE YOU CAN SMOKE: 10 feet from any entry to an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited; private residences; designated hotel and motel rooms; retail tobacco stores; some outdoor areas at places of employment

PENALTY: Fines from $10 to $25. Repeat violations could result in suspension or revocation of occupancy permit or business license.

WHAT'S NEXT: Final reading of the ordinance, 7 p.m. Monday

AIKEN

WHAT WOULD BE OFF LIMITS: Galleries, libraries, and museums; professional offices, banks, laundromats, hotels and motels; bars; bingo facilities; conference centers and exhibition halls; educational facilities; elevators; health care facilities; hotel and motel lobbies; licensed child care and adult day-care facilities; lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes and other multiple-unit residential facilities; polling places; private clubs when used for a function to which the public is invited; public transportation; restaurants; retail stores, service lines, malls and public meeting places; enclosed areas within places of employment

WHERE YOU CAN SMOKE: Outside areas not posted as nonsmoking areas; private residences, except when used as a day care or health care facility; hotel and motel rooms designated as smoking rooms; retail tobacco stores; requested private and semiprivate smoking rooms in long-term care facilities; private clubs except for events that admit the general public; outside designated areas; theatrical stage productions when smoking is essential to the performance; personal vehicles, including when used for employment purposes

PENALTY: Fines from $10 to $25. Repeated infractions could lead to suspension or revocation of permit or business license.

WHAT'S NEXT: Second reading on July 14

The final readings of no smoking ordinances in Aiken and North Augusta are up for votes this month, and affirmative decisions would make all of Aiken County smoke-free.

North Augusta delayed a decision on a smoking ban until the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled on the legality of existing local smoking bans in the state. Approval of the final version of the ordinance on Monday would prohibit smoking in parks and restaurants.

The Aiken City Council will take up its proposed smoking ban on second reading July 14.

Business owners, including Ian Drakeley of The Highlander in North Augusta, say they're concerned about how the ban will affect them. In preparation for the changes, smokers are learning where they can light up.