Gov. Sonny Perdue (search) signed a bill Monday to ban smoking in most public places in Georgia, ending a guessing game that had gone on for weeks.
The law will allow smokers to light up in only a few places, including bars and restaurants that do not admit people under 18; designated hotel and motel rooms; and workplace smoking areas that have an independent air handling system. Violators face fines of $100 to $500.
The Republican governor 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 came just one day short of the deadline for him to sign or veto bills passed during the most recent session of the Legislature.
Of 14 tobacco-growing states surveyed by the National Conference of State Legislatures (search), only Florida has as broad a ban as Georgia's.