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EDITORIAL: Smoke ban must pass

Publication Date: 2005-02-28
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Augusta (GA) Chronicle

With a solid 44-7 state Senate vote behind it, a strong Georgia smoking ban bill should light up the House to follow suit. But not necessarily. Last year, the Senate decisively passed a similar measure - prohibiting smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants - but the House snuffed it in committee...

The Senate bill is tough; it would overrule weaker local bans and take effect July 1. Columbia County would be affected. Its recently imposed ban permits smoking in ventilated outdoor seating areas; Thomas' bill does not.

The House could pass its own bill and work out differences with the Senate. But it would be irresponsible of the House to bury it again without allowing a floor vote. As Dr. Thomas points out, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death - and it's expensive to taxpayers.