Augusta Smoking Ban Snuffed Out - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Augusta Smoking Ban Snuffed Out

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Augusta, GA -

Supporters of the proposed smoking ban in Augusta threw a lot resources in getting it approved.

There was a big advertisement campaign from Breatheasy Augusta for the ordinance, and taking a page from political campaigns, even robo-calls were sent in favor of the ordinance on the eve of the vote urging people to contact their Augusta Commissioners to vote yes.

Supporters of the ordinance crowded commission chambers Tuesday.

The proposal would have banned smoking in all public places and businesses including bars.

But opponents did not want the heavy hand of the government going into bars and businesses, telling them what to do.

And, in a 6-to-4 vote, the ordinance was snuffed out.

"I'm not for more government into individual people's lives, the Elks Club, the Toastmasters, the Knights of Columbus...any bar. To me, it's ludicrous, we don't need more government. Who's going to be the smoke police? Oh the arm of the government which will be the Health Department," says Commissioner Joe Jackson, who made the motion to reject the ordinance.

 "I feel like today, workers lost. Workers are protected from chemicals in the air by so many government regulations, however these same chemicals exist in second hand smoke and they're not being protected from them. Today this is really a loss for public health in Augusta, says Kirk Miller, of Breatheasy Augusta.

There was a last minute attempt by the Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson to table the ordinance to make changes such as exempting private clubs from the smoking ban, but opponents wanted no delay making the motion to defeat the ordinance.

Breatheasy Augusta and ban supporters say they'll  be back but right now the smoking ban has been snuffed out.

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