The Atlanta City Council approved an ordinance Monday that bans smoking in city parks.
The measure's co-sponsors, Councilman Alex Wan and Councilwoman Joyce M. Sheperd, said they want to reduce park patrons' exposure to secondhand smoke.
"I think it’s reasonable to ask our park visitors to abstain from smoking to protect the health of everyone who enjoys our public parks," said Wan, who represents District 6, which includes Candler Park.
"It’s been proven that there’s no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It causes numerous health problems including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections and other ailments.”
Under the measure, violators of the ordinance, which awaits Mayor Kasim Reed's signature, face fines of up to $1,000.
Specifically, it bans smoking in outdoor parks and recreational facilities including but not limited to:
- athletic fields
- aquatic areas
- golf courses
- tennis courts
- hiking/walking/biking trails
- off-leash areas
- spectator and concession areas.
The legislation exempts these city-owned proprerties since they are under lease agreements with private vendors: the Chastain Amphitheater, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, the Park Tavern Restaurant in Piedmont Park and designated smoking areas at golf club amenities.
Atlanta joins a number metro area jurisdictions including Alpharetta, Douglasville and Clayton County that ban smoking in public parks.
The People's Republic of Decatur bans smoking during City of Decatur events and activities as an administrative rule of the Active Living Department. Though it doesn't have an all-out ban, it's an issue several commissionrers have expressed an interest in adopting.
What do you think of the new legislation? Good idea or not?