Public Opinion Varies on Georgia's Brand New Statewide Smoking Ban

Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed a statewide smoking ban into law. Ash trays will soon be obsolete at many Georgia restaurants and bars, two of the public places most effected by the statewide smoking ban.

Tuesday, reactions to the law were mixed at many Thomasville eateries.

J.D. Lewis, who opposes the smoking ban, says, "But now people come in here and drink their beer, and get off of work, have a cigarette, a beer or two, what's that gonna hurt?"

Patricia Williams, who supports smoking ban, says, "I'm totally against smoking, but especially don't like it when I'm in a restaurant or public building because then I have to breathe their smoke in and I don't like that."

While the opinions vary amongst restaurant-goers, the restaurant employees we spoke with said they don't anticipate the ban hurting their business.

Ben Williams with Billiards Academy says, "There's a lot of people who come in here and sit down and they just drink a beer and smoke cigarettes, and that's all they do, but I think they'd keep coming in even if we quit smoking in here."

Craig Wood, the owner and manager of Beef O'Brady's, says, "For the short term, it's gonna effect it a little bit because there will be grudges; however, since it is statewide, I feel people will just come on back."

The law does allow for a few exceptions, including restaurants and bars that are 18 and up. Otherwise, smokers will start extinguishing when the ban goes in to effect on the first of July.

Other exceptions to the Georgia smoking ban include tobacco stores, smoking designated hotel rooms and nursing homes.