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.”
“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.