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City Considering Smoking Ban For Parks

Councilman Wan helps sponsor proposal that would prohibit puffing in parks, golf courses, playgrounds and more.

District 6 City Councilman Alex Wan represents the area and if he and a fellow councilmember have their way, smoking will soon be banned from Atlanta’s most popular green space that attracts an estimated 3 million visitors a year.

Wan and Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd are co-sponsoring legislation that would prohibit puffing on cigarettes, cigars or pipes in “city parks, athletic fields, aquatic areas, golf courses, tennis courses, hiking/walking/biking trails, playgrounds, off-leash areas, and spectator and concession areas.”

Shepherd chairs the council's Community Development and Human Resources Committee and it will discuss the legislation at its next meeting on Tuesday, July 10.

If ultimately approved, Atlanta would join other cities in the metro area including Alpharetta, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Gainesville, Marietta, and Roswell that have enacted legislation that prohibits smoking in public parks.

In June, North American Properties and CBRE Global Investors announced that they would begin enforcing a smoking ban in public areas of Atlantic Station, its mixed-use development located in the heart of Midtown.

Smoking is no longer permitted in Atlantic Station’s common areas, including the Central Park green space and sidewalks. Non-smoking policies may vary for restaurants with al fresco dining areas. Designated smoking areas have been placed around the perimeter of the property in order to continue accommodating all guests.

Patch is currently awaiting a return phone call for comment from Wan, whose district includes portions of Midtown along with Morningside-Lenox Park, Virginia-Highland, Druid Hills, Ansley Park, Sherwood Forest and Piedmont Heights. The councilman told Patch on Friday that the ban’s intent is to promote green space along with healthy and active living.

“We keep investing in our parks and more and more people – kids and families – are starting to use them,” Wan said. “Certainly I respect the decision of those who choose to smoke … but more people are using our parks and we want to promote healthy living there.”

Wan later added, “We’re certainly not the first municipality to do this; I’m in complete support of this legislation.”

The legislation was written for penalties to be consistent with other park violations such as not cleaning up after a dog defecates in the park. Depending on a judge’s ruling, such penalties can range up to a $1,000 fine, six days in jail plus public service.

The Atlanta Police Department would be responsible for issuing citations, but Wan doesn’t see police enforcement becoming the real deterrent so much as neighbors and park-goers self-policing one another.

Are you on board with this possible ban on smoking in city parks and public areas? Let us know in the comment section below.

Aya Turner July 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I am SO onboard with this decision! GO ALEX!! I use the park daily and it sucks being stuck around smokers while walking or at festivals and concerts ... not to mention cigarette butts littering the place. It's high time to make these parks pleasant for everyone ... I hope the ban comes to fruition! :)
Joey July 06, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Absolutely for this!
KamdenATL July 06, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Seriously, this is a great idea! The vast majority of people that go to these places (parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, etc.) are health conscious individuals who want to enjoy nature with their friends and families. And nothing sours that experience quite like a cloud of cigarette smoke. People should have the right to smoke - but I have an equal right to breath clean air. Banning smoking I second Aya in saying "GO ALEX!". This Midtown resident with a wife & kid applauds your efforts! Thanks!
Patch July 06, 2012 at 08:07 PM
100% support this, ban smoking in all public places. Those people that smoke or support freedom to smoke need to be reminded that other people arond them did not ask to breath their 2nd hand smoke and that the state will probably probably have to take care of them when they get a smoking-related health condition. So if you want to smoke then find a non-public area away from everyone else and also sign a waiver that you will not use any government provided healthcare to treat your smoking smoking-related health condition and noone will be offended. Better yet, don't smoke in the first place.
RD July 06, 2012 at 09:01 PM
This ban will change little. It won't be enforced and smokers will continue to smoke... especially at festivals and concerts.
Ben July 07, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Councilman Alex Wan, needs to address the smoking of pot, illegal drug deals,(ask an Atlanta Police officer) Plus the no smoking, in the park, smoking of cigarettes is legal, pot & illegal drugs are not, No I do not smoke, The one's that do need to clean up there mess where ever they are at.
John Sarine July 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I'm not a smoker but this is stupid. We're talking about outside, right? If u don't like cigarette smoke, take two steps away, don't waste time legislating. Jeez, this is why i don't pay taxes.
Jim Brams July 07, 2012 at 03:15 PM
100% support for NO smoking in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. Let the cancer lovers keep it to themselves in their own houses.
Don B. Meriwether July 07, 2012 at 10:27 PM
This proposal is about nothing more than calling political attention to its sponsor, Alex Wan. Both the proposal & Wan are idiotic & useless. And, Yes, I'm, in Wan's District, & No, I don't smoke. I'm just not for idiotic "Nanny State" solutions to unimportant "problems". Find a REAL job, Alex! You're a waste of time in this one!
John Sarine July 08, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Thank you, Don. Someone of sanity in his district. Weird. Don't worry, Don. The bastards will thrash u out and get rid of u
judy July 08, 2012 at 04:48 AM
stupid people there won't be any parks left if we the people have anything to say about it if we can't smoke and enough people don't show up for concerts and other activities maybe they will get the hint they are losing money so let the smokers be heard
aposter July 08, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Right Judy....like all the bars, restaurants, and parks around the country that have closed down due to smoking bans.
John Sarine July 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM
The smoking ban DID kill a lot of bars and restaurants, aposter. But i doubt u even go out, so u wouldn't know
Midtown 44 July 09, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Cigarette smoke is a carcinogen, whether inhaled actively or passively. It should be banned in ALL public places, including all bars, restaurants, parks, etc. Anyone who believes otherwise is uninformed and selfish. Those are the facts.
aposter July 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Well John seeing as how I owned a bar when the ban went into effect I think I can talk about it with a little more authority than you. Nice try at the thinly veiled personal attack, I forgot how angry some smokers get when someone tries to curtail their often deadly addiction.
Dustin July 09, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I'd like to see a city wide ban, like they did in Calabasas, California in 2006. http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/secondhandsmoke.html
skycat July 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The smoking ban advocates claim that outdoor secondhand smoke is deadly, but they never present any associated death toll. Unlike indoor secondhand smoke that has a death toll, even if highly contested, outdoor smoking ban advocates seem to have nothing more to offer than a theoretical possibility of a mortality rate. If a case goes to court..."Your Honor, we have irrefutable evidence that the defendant is guilty of causing great peril by inflicting next to nothing, in clear violation of the law. Smoking bans are part of the do-gooders "denormalization" strategy, a nice word for promoting intolerance. They seem to be quite adept at it.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM
The ordinance to ban smoking in Atlanta Parks has moved forward to be considered by the city council as early as Monday, July 16. The legislation does have three exceptions: Park Tavern, Lakewood’s Aaron's Amphitheatre and Chastain Park Amphitheatre. Read more here: http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/committee-sends-smoking-ban-1475935.html
Marc Acampora July 11, 2012 at 01:43 PM
No. No more encroachments on liberty. Smoking is a nasty habit but it's not appropriate to ban it outdoors. Now if they litter just one butt, fine them.
donald July 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I agree with Marc. While indoor bans have improved my quality of life, regardless of what you think about the health impact, at some point we have to decide do we want to be free or do we want a limitless supply of laws to improve safety?

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