Smoke-free ordinance proposed at city council meeting

Community News

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A proposed smoke-free ordinance in Columbus is still up for debate. It’s a controversial topic that came up during a city council meeting Tuesday night.

Dozens packed out the city council chambers. Tuesday night, council members discussed making changes to the proposed ordinance. Though some appeared to oppose putting it into effect, there were some who were in support, so much, that they were even brought to tears, when making their arguments.

On the agenda at the meeting, a proposed smoke-free ordinance. If passed, the places this would apply to include: restaurants, adult entertainment locations, bars and nightclubs.

“Why do we need signs?” says Councilor Judy Thomas, District 9.

Part of the proposed ordinance indicates the placement of no-smoking signs. This didn’t appear to make sense to councilor Judy Thomas.

“If smoking has been declared banned in all of these places,” says Judy Thomas.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson appeared to think smoke-free signs, would be a good idea.

“Let’s just say somebody went to a restaurant or bar which would be covered by this and they decided they wanted to light up and have a cigarette…and a police officer happened to be there…would they be ticketed? Council Member: Could be.. Mayor: They could be ticketed,” says Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

Mayor Tomlinson says the citizens could run in to issues if signs are not put up.

“Then they would say they didn’t know…didn’t know we had this ordinance. I mean..I guess it’s notice…is what I’m getting at,” says Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

A representative with Breatheasy Columbus read an emotional story. The story was about a woman who’s mother reportedly passed away from second-hand smoke while working at a long-term care facility home.

“She waited until my brother and her sister got there, giving them time to say their goodbyes. As she passed away March 2nd, my life was forever changed. I lost my best friend and my mom,” says Nicole Leth.

City council decided to postpone taking any action until a later date.

Council members decided to delay any action for 60 days. They say this will give council members enough time to have a better grasp on what will be voted on as it relates to the proposed smoke-free ordinance.

There is a smoke-free ordinance in Georgia. Some in Columbus say there are several places that are exempt with the state law that hey would like to see changed if a city ordinance were passed.

Council members say the purpose of the proposed ordiance is to create a safe environment for those who could fall victim to second hand smoke.

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