Should Augusta ban smoking all across the city?

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, May 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Some are already calling it a victory for anti-smoking advocates. Downtown restaurants have already started the smoke-free trend, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver would like to see all of Augusta follow suit.

Elizabeth Wright smokes. She admits it's a bad habit but says what's worse are future plans supported by Mayor Copenhaver.

"A smoke-free environment across the whole city? What are you really asking for?" Wright said.

"This is an issue for people who work in bars and restaurants who don't smoke," Copehaver said.

Wright's a little heated about what seems like an attack on smokers. She just moved into a new apartment complex and can't even smoke inside where she pays rent.

"The fact is, this is my habit, and it's my choice to smoke," Wright said.

"We are trying to educate the public on how hazardous secondhand smoke is," said Breathe Easy Coalition Chairman Jennifer Anderson.

Anderson is working with city leaders on an ordinance that would make it illegal to smoke in public places like bars and restaurants.

"I think everything's a compromise. If you want to smoke, you should be able to. If they're laws that say you can't ... then you can't," said smoker Kevin Kotellos.

Electronic cigarettes could be banned as well.

"A private business should be able to do what they want," said Augusta resident Zach Davis.

The debate on the right to smoke and the right to clean air continues.