Smoking Ban Update

Governor Sonny Perdue
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Governor Perdue signed a statewide smoking ban today -- ending a guessing game he fueled for weeks by saying he was undecided over the measure.

The law will allow smokers to light up only in a handful of places, including bars and restaurants which do not admit persons under 18. Violators of the law will be fined between 100 and 500 dollars.

Perdue had said for weeks that he had misgivings about the bill, believing that government should not become "the end-all and be-all nanny for all people."

His decision comes just one day short of the deadline for him to sign or veto bills passed during the most recent session of the state Legislature.

The original bill would have banned tobacco smoking in virtually all public buildings. It was amended in the Georgia House to exempt bars and restaurants and a few other places, including:

  • Private homes.
  • Hotel and motel rooms designated for smokers, up to a maximum
    of 20 percent of the rooms in any hotel or motel.
  • Retail tobacco stores.
  • Long-term care facilities.
  • Smoking areas in international airports.
  • Meeting rooms at convention facilities which are not owned or
    operated by the state or by any of its political subdivisions.
  • Smoking areas designed by an employer which have an independent
    air handling system.

    Of 14 tobacco-growing states surveyed by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only Florida had as broad a ban as the new Georgia law provides.