Sheriff's department enforcing smoking ban

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News 12 First at Five, June 4, 2007

Aiken County deputies are ready to crack down on smokers. A ban just went into effect for most of the county, and the Sheriff's Department met this morning to talk about how they're going bust people breaking the rules.

They're relying on your phone calls, and deputies will decide what to do when they get there. In the ordinance, different rules apply to different types of places.

Janice Coleman, owner of Mama Bear's Bar and Grill, isn't sure if lighting up is allowed inside, or not.

"To me, it was confusing because one part says one thing, another part says another thing." Janice said.

On one hand, the ordinance says restaurants, and their attached bars, have to be smoke-free. That means Janice should not allow smoking; however, the ordinance says i says smoking is okay if everybody inside is at least 18. Janice says after 6:00 pm, her bar and grill becomes 21 and up.

Lieutenant Michael Frank with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office says if someone calls to report a smoking violation and it's a case like this, where different parts of the code could apply, it's a judgment call.

"The deputy will size up the situation, and hopefully it's something we'll use some discretion with." He said.

When they get there, they'll decide if any of these exceptions apply.

"We'll certainly take complaints about violations of the smoking ordinance, and we'll deal with those on a case-by-case basis." Frank said.

He says each case calls for a different answer.

"I want to try to get a clarification on the rules to see if i can have smoking or not smoking." Janice said.

You can find clarification on the ordinance by clicking here.

The Sheriff's Department says they will respond to these calls, but other crimes will take priority.

The ban applies to all unincorporated areas in Aiken County.

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