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Atlanta approves smoking ban at parks
by Staff Reports
July 17, 2012 10:06 AM | 1666 views | 2 2 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Atlanta City Council Monday approved 11-1 an ordinance prohibiting smoking in city parks, it announced in a news release

District 7 Councilman Howard Shook, who represents part of Buckhead, dissented. The measure was sponsored by council members Joyce M. Sheperd (District 12) and Alex Wan (District 6), was approved on substitute by a vote of 11-1.

“I’m particularly concerned about the children who are most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke,” Sheperd said. “They have little control over their outdoor environments. We must remember that city-owned parks are intended for use by the public, including persons of all ages and the environment should be healthy for all to enjoy.”

Wan agreed.

“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,” he said. “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.”

General penalties under the city of Atlanta’s code of ordinances would apply for violating the new ordinance, with a maximum fine of up to $1,000. Signage will be installed in all city parks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke (in close proximity to toxic tobacco fumes indoors and outdoors) increase their risk of developing health problems.

In fact, according to a 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, even brief exposures to secondhand smoke may have adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increase the severity of asthma attacks, especially in children.

Atlanta’s ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to smoke in outdoor parks and recreational facilities located within the City of Atlanta, including but not limited to, the parks, athletic fields, aquatic areas, golf courses, tennis courts, hiking/walking/biking trails, playgrounds, off-leash areas and spectator and concession areas.

The legislation does not apply to any of the following city-owned properties so long as the properties remain the sub-ject of a lease with a private party: the Chastain Park Amphitheater in Buckhead, Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood and the Park Tavern restaurant located at Piedmont Park and designated smoking areas at golf club amenities.

All adopted legislative items and any amendments to those items or substitute papers can be viewed at: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/Captions/default.asp

City council minutes can be viewed at: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/Minutes2.htm

Archived video of Atlanta City Council meetings can be viewed at: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/Video.htm.

The above legislation and a complete list of other items on the council’s agenda can be viewed in their entirety on the Web at: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/2012/fca0716.htm.
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Michael J. McFadden
|
August 01, 2012
Well, it's now been almost TEN DAYS, and Councilwoman Shepard continues to duck a simple request that anyone in her position should feel a responsibility to respond to. It shouldn't be that hard ... if she's telling the truth about parks being "unhealthy" simply because some people are allowed to smoke in them.

- MJM
Michael J. McFadden
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July 22, 2012
So Councilwoman Joyce Shepard says, "city-owned parks are intended for use by the public, including persons of all ages and the environment should be healthy for all to enjoy."

Since there are far more children with actual severe allergies to such things as dandelions and grass pollen than there are with any documented allergic reaction to tobacco smoke, I guess that means the parks will soon be paved over so that they will "be healthy for all to enjoy"? Why should those with allergic disabilities be denied the use of these public places? Where are the children supposed to play? On the streets while dodging the traffic (and inhaling exhaust fumes)?

And what about the fair-skinned children who'd happily spend time at the parks if they were domed over to keep out the carcinogenic rays of the sun that will send so many to early and painful graves as victims of malignant melanoma? Does no one care about THEM?

The park smoking ban is hateful silliness with no scientific health basis at all behind it. I challenge Joyce Shepard, right here in this space, to cite and defend actual scientific studies showing that people are harmed from the durations and exposures to smoke that would normally be encountered in the parks.

I can make that challenge confidently, because I know that there ARE no such studies. There'll be advocacy fact sheets, generalized "reports," important sounding quotes ... but no actual science showing such harms: and I think the Councilwoman knows that. But playing the "Love The Children" card is always a popular political trick eh? I'll bet you kiss a lot of babies at election time too, eh?

Michael J. McFadden

Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
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