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EDITORIAL: Let the smoke clear

Publication Date: 2005-03-16
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution
Statewide ban is a step in the right direction, but exemptions keep it from going far enough

State Rep. Gene Maddox (R-Cairo) says his rural farmers back home start each morning with a sausage biscuit and a smoke at a local eatery and they shouldn't have to give it up. Maddox ought to visit Ireland, where a strict countrywide smoking ban went into effect last year. Smoking and drinking was a ritual at Irish pubs, yet the country became the first to ban smoking from public places because of the catastrophic health toll.

Georgia is not a healthy place. The state's alarming rates of disease and premature death result in large part from unhealthy lifestyles. Georgians eat too much fried foods, smoke cigarettes and never get out of their cars. State government can't confiscate the corn dogs or the car keys, but it can and should outlaw cigarettes in public places where the health risk to other people is clear.