A proposal to ban smoking at private businesses in Augusta is something city leaders are still not comfortable with.
Commissioners are looking at new regulations that would prohibit smoking at all bars and private clubs.
But commissioners voted to hold a workshop on the proposed smoking ban after business owners said a smoking ban would have a big impact by chasing away a big percentage of their customers.
“They’re going to see at least a 30 to 40 percent impact immediately. This has been proven. I’ve offered to give the commission studies that our group has done in other jurisdictions. It’s going to hurt the county. It’s going to hurt the county with the police force that’s already stressed out for money. Now they’re going to take more from them. We need to look at the economics,” said Tracy Ferris a business owner who spoke before the commission.
Breatheasy Augusta, the group promoting the smoking ban, says it welcomes a workshop but added national studies show that business does not drop off at bars and clubs after smoking bans go into affect.