Citing the absence of a statewide law to protect people from secondhand smoke, the South Fulton City Council has passed an ordinance that will ban smoking and vaping in a number of places in the Atlanta suburb.

The ban effectively prohibits smoking within all enclosed areas of employment, as well as enclosed public places. Notably, that includes bars and retail stores, though with some exception. The ordinance also bans smoking on or within any property owned by the city, as well as within all private clubs. Certain outdoor areas of parks and sports venues are also covered by the ban, specifically seating areas and other spaces where people may gather.

There are some exceptions, however, most notably for cigar and hookah bars, provided that the business was in operation prior to Nov. 1, 2020. The exemption is not transferable and will expire automatically should the business cease operations for 30 days, change ownership or cease to allow smoking on the premises for a period of more than 30 days.

Additionally, restaurant patios were granted an exemption from the ban.

The ban is scheduled to go into effect later this month. Individuals who violate the ban will be subject to a $50 fine, while the owner or operator of a place where smoking is banned will face fines starting at $100 for allowing smoking to occur. That fine escalates to $200 for a second offense and $500 for any additional violations. Businesses could also lose their permits and licenses for violating the ban.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.