Atlanta Bans Smoking in City Parks
Atlanta's City Council has approved a ban on smoking in the city's parks.
With Monday's vote, Atlanta moved closer to joining a number of its neighbors that have curbed smoking or tobacco use in parks or public places. Alpharetta, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Gainesville, Marietta and Roswell have banned smoking in public parks. Clayton, Douglas, Forsyth and Henry counties have also adopted smoking bans.
Smoking in Atlanta will be punishable with fines of up to $1,000, six months in jail or community service. Penalties would be up to the discretion of judges.
Asked whether a citation would create a criminal record for teenagers or job-seekers who could ill afford it, a city attorney said violations would not be reported to the Georgia Crime Information Center.
Councilman Howard Shook of Buckhead, who was the lone "no" vote, said Atlanta's police department already has enough to do without worrying about people consuming a legal substance.
"I am concerned about turning our city code into a guide for preferred manners and lifestyle tips," Shook said.
Atlanta's ordinance prohibits smoking or carrying lit tobacco products in Atlanta parks. It will take effect immediately after it is signed by Mayor Kasim Reed, who supported it.