City's smoking ban takes effect - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City's smoking ban takes effect

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< P> < STRONG> June 1, 2004

Cordele -- Smokers enjoyed their last drags inside their favorite Cordele hang-outs Memorial Day.

One smoker we spoke to says she'll respect the changes, but says it's going to be a hard habit to break.

A lone ashtray is all that remains of the former smoking days at Cutter's Restaurant. "Oh, I come two or three times a week." Betty Musselwhite is a regular customer, and old habits are hard to break, including sitting at her favorite table in the old smoking section.

"Well, we have got to admit that none of us should be smoking, but when you have been smoking as long as I have, it's hard to stop." And the new smoking ban, posted on the entrance to Cutter's, is not going to stop her from smoking.

But Betty says the ban is changing her life. "We would go to another establishment in the afternoons, it was our coffee club, you know, the highlight of the day. We would drink coffee and smoke and socialize, can't do it anymore."

Betty says she can't stop coming to Cutter's. "No, I am not going to quit coming here, now my coffee drinking place, I am over that, yesterday was the last day."

But when she wants a smoke after a good meal, "I will just have to leave, go outside. I understand you have to get at least 20 feet away from the entrance, but I can go to my car. Now that is my property, they can't tell me I can't smoke in my car."

And that is just what Betty does. While signs of the former smoking days were evident, like the ashtrays, most diners we spoke to say they are happy they can eat without being bothered by the smell of smoke.

"I am extremely allergic to smoke it gives me a headache and I think it is a good idea, I think it is very comforting to everybody and if you want to smoke there are always places you can go smoke, you don't have to smoke in a restaurant," said customer Ann Wynn.

From now on, it looks like the only thing smoking inside Cutter's is the food. Persons violating the new smoking ban will get a warning the first time, then fines of $50.00 and $100.00 for subsequent offenses.

posted at 5:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com