Smoke and Fire – Chatham County Smoking Ban

When most of us think about our local bar or watering hole, a lot of our memories are wrapped up in cigarettes as much as they are alcohol. Smoking in your favorite bar on a Friday night while throwing back a few drinks has been a common practice for many people – and for many years. Even when initial smoking bans were being put into place in restaurants, many smokers rested easy in the fact that, surely, the government would not encroach upon their beloved bar.

Unfortunately for them, many bars across the nation are receiving the legal requirement to ban smoking inside their establishments. Most recently, Chatham County in Georgia has been considering passing a ban on smoking in bars and other indoor venues that are not already covered under state law. The ban has quickly gained traction and has five of the county’s nine commissioners already behind it.

Georgia law already prohibits smoking indoors in establishments that allow children. Which is a good step, because children aren’t afforded the choice to smoke or not, and can often be exposed to secondhand smoke regardless of whether or not their parents have chosen to sit in the non-smoking section. Various employees of previously smoke-friendly establishments have also been huge proponents of the smoking bans, stating that just because they work in a particular place does not mean they should be forced to be exposed to secondhand smoke, either.

The ban in Chatham County, of course, would go one step further than what state law has already decreed, and would effectively snuff out smoking in bars in the county. Smokers will have to find their way outside to get their nicotine fix. And some are none too happy about it. Many have cited that they should not be prohibited to smoke in a bar, seeing as there are no children involved. Still others say that it shouldn’t be a state or a county decision, but that it should be up to each establishment’s owner.

Whether or not the ban passes, and whether or not more like it pop up in neighboring counties, e-cigarette users have nothing to be concerned about. After all, using an e-cigarette isn’t smoking. And many state’s laws already include language to allow the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited. What a relief for us!

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