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Monday, June 28, 2010 - 10:39am

Savannah Considers Smoking Ban

The City of Savannah is considering a total ban on smoking at bars and restaurants.

The City currently follows state law and allows smoking at bars if they don't hire minors.

Restaurants must have separate smoking sections.

Trina Brown, a non-smoker who co-owns The Rail Pub in downtown Savannah, says, she, personally, wouldn't mind going for a total smoking ban.

"If you can hear the raspiness of my voice, it's because I did an eight-hour shift on Saturday night," Brown says.

But, Brown says that she has compassion for those who either struggle or refuse to quit.

"It's legal to sell it. It's legal to tax it," Brown says. "But when it gets to the end user, we're going to tell you, you can't smoke it."

Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson says, the risks of second-hand smoke are too great.

"An individual has a right to smoke and injure their health if they want to," Johnson says. "But they don't have a right to endanger others."

Johnson says, banning smoking outright is part of a health initiative.

"The research is clear that smoking is harmful to you when you do it directly and it is harmful to others when they ingest your smoke," Johnson says.

City Council could decide on the ban this summer.

If adopted, Savannah would join Athens, Gainesville and a handful of other Georgia cities with total smoking bans.

Currently, no Southern state, including Georgia, has such a ban.

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