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Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 6:08pm

Savannah Smoking Ban Begins Saturday

As new laws go into effect Saturday, one in Savannah will have many people stepping out into the cold.

The city will have a new smoking ban with the new year.

The ban applies to virtually all public indoor locations and some places on the streets as well.

Specifically, smokers won't be able to light up within 10 feet of doors and windows that lead to places where smoking is banned

Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson led the push for the ban as part of a larger health campaign.

"We're not cutting any new ground," Johnson says. "What we're doing is catching up with a lot of progressive cities in the country."

The ban sparked a minor uproar among bar and restaurant owners when it first came up.

Since it passed, though, most have begun to adapt to the law.

Johnson says, bars actually might gain business from people, like him, who currently cannot go to bars for health reasons.

"As a heart attack survivor, I'm very aware of the effects of second-hand smoke," Johnson says. "There are a lot of people with respiratory problems that are impacted and then we got all of those workers."

Bar employees could be the most effected.

They'll have cleaner air at work but some opposed the ban, saying it amounted to "nanny state" regulation that could affect their earnings.

Savannah bar and restaurant customers will find out which vision of the smoke-free future turns out to be in 2011.

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