How much do you notice people smoking around you when you go to a restaurant? Soon it could be a thing of the past in one community. Statesboro City Council's one vote away from a ban on smoking in eateries and other places. Everyone seems to have an opinion on smoking in public and the talk is getting as heated as the burning tip of a cigarette.
Beth Hardy gathers with friends every week for lunch and bridge at Archibald's. She's glad all Statesboro restaurants could soon become smoke free. "I'm so glad because I'm tired of going in smoke filled rooms and my clothes smelling of smoke," she said.
The ordinance would ban smoking in restaurants and most other public places. "I think it's a good idea, cause it's my health in jeopardy when other people smoke, but there are more important issues they should focus on," said Statesboro resident Krystal Boyett.
Some restaurants already prohibit smoking. "Just like smokers have a right to smoke, others have they have the right to enjoy a meal without smoke," said Jason Scarboro, chef at the Blue Moon Cafe.
Rules would allow smoking in taverns and places that feature live entertainment. "I think with imposing the city wide, it will give more people opportunity to go to restaurants that other wise they wouldn't go to," said councilman John Morris.
Some patrons disagree. "I don't think they have any more right to tell me I can't smoke than to tell someone else they can't drink," said local resident LaGail Davidson.
Other owners say they're wrestled with their own smoking ban. They just want to decide for themselves. Morris says the council will vote on the issue at their next meeting, December 16. People will have a chance to speak out about this before the vote at the city council meeting.