Commission to hear smoking ban proposal

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) - American Legion Post 205 is where veteran Asia Lewis comes to relax, with Friends and that includes lighting up a cigarette in the poss lounge, she isn't happy to hear there  talk of  a smoking ban. 

 "It's not fair  where can we go to smoke cigarettes, I respect people who don't smoke, and I feel they should respect that I do smoke, said armed services veteran Asia Lewis of Augusta

But a proposal going before Augusta leaders would ban smoking at at private businesses and clubs like the Legion.

The proposal is patterned  after Savannahs smoking   ordinance that passed seven years ago. 

 "If other city's can do it why can't Augusta do it I mean again we got to look to the future we're the same old little Augusta and we got to move forward," says Commissioner Sean Frantom who supports the proposal. 

But over the past four  years or so city leaders have been opposed to placing new restrictions on where can  people smoke. 

"I don't think the government should step in an tell private business how to run their business if a business can run and not make money because people are smoking and they can make money when they quit I think that's a decision that they're going to have to make," says Commissioner Marion Williams.

At the Legion club they say would likely close  if smoking is  banned. 

  "It would cut my business back by about two thirds or maybe worse  it would knock six people who work here out of a job it would knock all my suppliers out of deliveries here it would cost the city about 15 thousand dollars a year that I pay in liquor licenses, said Robert Taylor the Junior Vice Commander of Post 305.

 But supporters say the evidence shows smoking bans do not hurt businesses. 

 "No it helps more people are willing to go into those establishments," said Commissioner Frantom. 
The BreathEasy Augusta proposal would not include outdoor events or outdoor arenas, would exempt, vape shops and hookah bars, also does not include banning smoking in cars with children something that was part of a past proposal.


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