What a Drag

After a failed attempt in 2004, some politicians are trying to push another statewide smoking ban through the Georgia General Assembly.

Health advocates say an indoor smoking ban is needed for public health, but some local business owners say a full ban on smoking makes them sick.

Bill Touchton, a bar/restaurant owner, says, "I cringe. It would be extremely detrimental to my business because 75 to 80 percent of my customers come here to smoke."

Supporters of a ban say non-smokers need to be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke, but others say it's all about choice.

A smoking bank is already in place across the street in the City of Valdosta, but business leaders around south Georgia, including in Remerton, say they don't want to see that kind of ban put in place because of the negative impact it could have on the businesses.

Eric Saunders, restaurant/bar owner, adds, "I would hope this bill and any anti-tobacco legislation would get bogged down in committee and never see the light of day because I think it's totally unfair for government to interfere in private business."

Private business may not have much of a choice depending on what the General Assembly finally decides, but locals say their voice will be heard.

Touchton says, "I can assure you I'll be calling my representatives and senators to express my opinions on it."