July 11, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) — The Atlanta City Council will receive an ordinance to ban smoking in Atlanta public parks as soon as next week. If Mayor Kasim Reed approves it, it will go into effect immediately and ban smoking in walking trails, golf courses, acquatic areas, tennis courts and athletic fields.
The ordinance was approved on Tuesday, July 11th by a city council committee in a four-to-one vote.
Bill Spann, CEO of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, said: “This is another attempt by the government to take away individual rights. As adults we should be allowed to enjoy a legal product. If the council’s true aim is to reduce littering in parks as they say, then the simple solution is to provide more ashtrays and trashcans—NOT to infringe on our liberties by banning legal products.”
Some parks will be exempt from this smoking ban, namely the ones that generate revenue. Two amphitheaters and a tavern will be excluded. The city wouldn’t want to drive away smoking patrons when they could possibly make money off of them. However, smoking would still be banned everywhere else.
In Norcross, GA the city council recently repealed their smoking ban after outcry from citizens. According to councilman Ross Kaul, who originally proposed the outboor ban, it “went from being a ‘quality of life’ issue to an ‘intrusion by government’ issue.”
If enacted, fines for smoking in a public park could reach up to $1,000.