Augusta’s smoke-free ordinance came into effect earlier this year, and The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is learning how to enforce it.
Deputies from the RCSO are learning the risk of smoking from the Georgia Cancer Center.
So when they are out on patrol, they can inform smokers about the reason behind the ordinance more than just writing citations.
“Because of second-hand smoke from cigarettes, and also the aerosol for electronic cigarettes,” said director of Cancer Information and Awareness at the Georgia Cancer Center, Christine O’Meara. “So E-cigarettes are included in the ordinance.”
Officers learned what kind of impacts second-hand smoke and vapor can have on the elderly, children and people who are immune system is compromised.
“They have this background information, so they understand why the ordinance is important,” said O’Meara. “And why it’s an important health measure.”
“They call us for everything,” explained the captain over-training at Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Allen Rollins. “They expect us to be educated in these situations, and when we come up, we know.”
Captain Rollins tells NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, his deputies must be educated on the law first before they can enforce it and that this is not an effort to seek out smokers in restaurants and bars to give them a ticket.
“We aren’t going to be out trying to cut out smoking in Richmond County and go sit inside of restaurants, that’s not what we are doing,” said Rollins. “But we have to understand the law before someone can ask us to enforce it.”
The Georgia Cancer Center hopes this crash course for deputies, will make smoke in the Garden City history.
“When you sit down and look at the cold hard facts about smoking; maybe that will changing your opinion about smoking.”
The smoking ordinance states,” a person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited by the provisions of this article shall be guilty of the infraction, and punishable by a fine exceeding $50.”