Augusta could soon be smoke-free

Augusta could soon be smoke-free

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Smokers may not be able to light up in public places soon.

Augusta commissioners are set to vote next week on an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public places in Augusta. During a committee meeting Monday, members voted 4-0 to put the ordinance before the full commission.

If the ordinance passes, it would include a ban on smoking electronic cigarettes in public places. Smoking would even be banned in cigar and tobacco stores.

Commissioners were discussing a smoking ban last year, but didn't pass that version of the ordinance, which also banned smoking in vehicles in the presence of a minor. Some commissioners were worried that part of the ordinance was too invasive.

The new version of the ordinance doesn't ban smoking in vehicles - even if there's a minor in the car.

BreathEasy, a local organization pushing for the smoking ban, says about 27 percent of workers are exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace. About 82 percent of those employees say they didn't have to breathe second-hand smoke.

If the smoking ban passes, officials say anyone who violates the ordinance will be handled by the public health office.

Copyright 2013 WFXG. All rights reserved.