The Daily Post gives a thumbs up to Gwinnett citizens who have stood apart this week.

It's been a difficult week for smokers in Georgia.

on Monday, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a statewide smoking ban. While admitting personal reservations that such a government mandate conflicts with basic American freedoms, the governor said the dangers of smoking - particularly secondhand smoke - convinced him to let the ban become law.

The bill, passed by the General Assembly during this year's session, prohibits smoking in most enclosed public places. Smoking will be allowed in restaurants and bars that don't employ or serve anyone under 18. The governments of Gwinnett County and the cities of Berkeley Lake, Grayson, Loganville and Snellville already have adopted smoking bans. We give a thumbs up to Perdue for bringing the state in line.

According to the American Cancer Society:

Secondhand smoke is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. killing 38,000 to 65,000 nonsmokers every year.

Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, other types of cancer and heart disease in nonsmokers.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause children to develop asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, other respiratory infections, and ear infections.

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,700 chemicals, over 200 poisons and over 50 human carcinogens.

Each year environmental tobacco smoke kills about 53,000 Americans, the same number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

We are all for personal freedoms, but we argue that one guy's personal freedom shouldn't infringe upon the health and welfare of the other guy. You're free to drink, for instance, but not welcome to get blasted and go for a drive.

Even state workers who light up got a heavy hit this week.

The state's health insurance plan is on the rise and, on top of higher premiums, the state for the first time is imposing monthly surcharges on smokers.

State health plan enrollees who smoke will have to shell out an additional $40 per month.

We believe smokers should pay extra for health insurance. It's no secret that smoking causes all sorts of health problems, for those who smoke and those who are around secondhand smoke. Because the cost of treating smoking-related diseases raises premiums for all enrollees, we believe it only fair that those responsible for that tab pay it.

We also are hopeful the two smoking-related issues dealt with by state officials this week prompt Georgians - both state citizens and state employees - to quit the nasty habit.