Statewide Public Smoking Ban Becomes Law

Smoking is about to be snuffed out in a whole lot of places in Georgia. Gov. Sonny Perdue signed this new state law this afternoon, putting an end to smoking inside many more public places. The ban is in effect in pretty much any public place, and any bar or restaurant that allows kids under 18.

The ban is in effect now, but won't be enforced until July 1.

As you might expect, there is a mixed reaction.

Brian DiCola works at Churchill's Pub, is a smoker, and sees no big deal lighting up indoors.

"Drinking and smoking go hand in hand," he said.

Terri Holzl from Hilton Head will have to eat outdoors at Churchill's. "If we go some where and there is smoke, we leave," she told us.

But not for long. She says the indoor smoking ban is a breath of fresh air. "Another reason to come to Georgia."

"I don't think it's going to help business for anyone," said DiCola.

"We'll make adjustments, people will settle down, and it will be business as usual," said John Pinkerton, who runs Moon River, Churchill's next-door neighbor.

They are thinking about adding outdoor seating, like Churchill's has. Under the smoking ban, they can also add a separate room with its own ventilation, where smoking is allowed.

"Ultimately it's a wholesome idea," said Pinkerton. "I'm not happy about the government telling me what to do. It's one more thing."

"A bar is a social atmosphere," said DiCola. "I think taking smoking out kills that atmosphere."

DiCola doesn't like the ban, but Terri Holzl thinks it should go one step further. "I am very excited about it. I am hoping South Carolina does it too. I think it's absolutely correct."

After July 1, violators will face a fine between $100 and $500.

Some people ask, where can you smoke then? Bars which don't allow those under 18, your house, hotel and motel rooms, and even nursing homes, just to name a few. But smoking is very now very limited.

Reported by: Don Logana,