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Columbia ban begins; McDuffie considers same

Survey results are still pouring in to the McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce. Business owners are throwing in their two cents worth on the issue of a smoking ban in all public buildings within the county.

Friday marks the deadline for the survey results. County commissioners will use those results and public input to get a feel for where McDuffie County stands on the issue.

And it's an issue that Columbia County has already dealt with and implemented. At least so far, officials say a ban on indoor public smoking in Columbia County hasn't been much of a drag on businesses.

Three days after the Columbia County Smoke Free Air Act went into effect, county officials and restaurant owners said Monday that they had encountered no major problems associated with the ordinance.

"Over the weekend, we have absolutely had no problem at all," Tom Clark, an operating partner of Fatz Cafe in Evans, said Monday. "Actually we were a little bit surprised with that. There was a very high awareness level" of the ordinance.

Mr. Clark said that during the entire weekend only one person tried to light a cigarette inside his restaurant. He said the person quickly put the cigarette out after being told about the ban, which officially went into effect Saturday and covers most indoor businesses in the unincorporated areas of Columbia County.

Mr. Clark said he hasn't noticed a drop in the number of customers at Fatz, either.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross also said he had heard of no problems. On Monday, county officials returned to their offices for the first time since the ordinance went into effect.

"We have had no reports so far, and I really doubt we'll have any," Mr. Cross said.

The ban went into effect despite a lawsuit filed by Mike Pirtle. Mr. Pirtle had requested an injunction to keep the ban from going into effect, but on Monday he said a hearing probably won't occur until Friday at the earliest.

McDuffie County Commissioners have yet to schedule a public hearing on the smoking ban. But Commission Chairman Charlie Newton hopes to have the issue settled one way or another by March.

Commission seeks public input
 • E-mail your comments for the McDuffie County Commission to smokingban@thomson-mcduffie.net

Documents
 • McDuffie County Smoke-free Air Act (.pdf)
(.pdf format requires Adobe Reader, click here for free download)

On the Net
 •  View public comments at Thomson-McDuffie.net

Previous stories
 • Smoking ban passes State House as McDuffie waits
 • County sets smoking hearing for Monday
 • Columbia ban begins; McDuffie considers same
 • Local business owners surveyed on prospect of smoking ban
 • Commissioners agree to public hearing on smoking ban
 • Smoking ban to get more discussion
 • Group plans to ask for ban on smoking

Poll
 • Should McDuffie County Commissioners approve a ban on smoking in public places in McDuffie County?

Opinion
 • Mind your butts and your community
 • Reasons Why
 • Smoking ban deserves commissioners' consideration
 • Smoke free is the way to be in McDuffie County

Your Say
 • Freedom to breathe freely

Letters to the Editor
 • Ban should be supported
 • Public health at root of ban
 • Time for smoking ban is now
 • Ban is about changing quality of lives for the better
 • Smoking ban push is a "great cause" to support
 • Ban would deter second-hand exposure
 • Protect the rights and health of people
 • Ban is about changing quality of lives for the better



Web posted on Thursday, January 6, 2005











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