Smokers may soon have to put out their cigarettes before they even get to the parking lot at Albany's airport. Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is considering a ban on smoking anywhere on its property.
The airport director and other officials will discuss the proposed ban during the aviation commission meeting next week. But not everyone's thrilled about the potential changes.
Smoking is already prohibited inside airport terminal, but policy makers are discussing the benefits of an outdoor ban as well. If the proposal passes, no one will be able to smoke anywhere on the airport's property.
"I think it would be a good idea," said Traveler Beth Bernard. "I'm often amazed at places that do ban smoking, like hospitals particularly, and you try to get in the doors and people are standing around outside smoking because that's where they're allowed to smoke. And I just prefer not to pass through smoking at any point."
Some states have passed public smoking bans that extend not only inside buildings, but also several feet from building entrances. And while some say they agree with the ban, others say the proposed outdoor ban is an infringement on smokers' rights.
"I think you're taking the rights away from all Americans I believe. You know, you should have a right out in the parking lot outside," said traveler Mitch Beyett. Beyett was a smoker for 20 years, and lives in Michigan where a smoking ban has been introduced. And while he agrees with indoor bans...he thinks banning smoking outside is a step too far. "As long as you're not creating problems for anybody else, I don't see why there's a problem," said traveler Mitch Beyett.
Of the people we spoke with today, most agreed with the proposal. And of those who do agree, some have doubts about the airport's ability to enforce an outdoor ban. But if the board does decides to move forward with a plan, these smokers will have to put out their cigarettes. While the proposed ban seems to have support, some say they worry about nervous flyers.
That's because some people scared of flying use smoking as a way to ease their nerves before boarding a plane. The commission will meet Monday at 5:00. If the proposal passes, it could take effect in a few weeks.