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Home / Business / Atlanta City Council votes to ban smoking in public places

Atlanta City Council votes to ban smoking in public places



The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to establish a comprehensive ban on smoking and weapons in restaurants, bars, workplaces and many other public places in the city, as well as at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Council members voted 13-2 in favor of the ordination, which if signed by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms would ban smoking and weapons in bars, restaurants, workplaces, hotels and motels rooms and other closed public areas starting on January 2, 2020. The ban will cover cigarettes, cigars and electronic cigarettes.

Guardians said they would reduce the health risk of non-smokers and that smoking guidelines could reduce smoking and prevent young people from smoking.

"Everyone in Atlanta has the right to breathe smoke-free air," said council member Matt Westmoreland, chief law sponsor. The law exacerbates public health "while we do our best to protect small businesses," he added.

Smoking was already restricted by a Georgian law that was implemented in 2005, which prohibited smoking in restaurants and bars, unless people under the age of 1

8 are prohibited or if smoking areas are in enclosed private rooms with independent airflow systems or outdoors.

The new city of Atlanta ordination will be more restrictive by prohibiting smoking and weapons in bars and restaurants across the board and closing these loopholes – even though legislation was changed just before the final vote to allow smoking in the outdoor dining and serving of restaurants and bars.

Council members Howard Shook and JP Matzigkeit voted against the ban.

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"I'm against smoking, but I'm for the freedom of people to choose," matzigkeit said.

Some places would be exempt from the ban, including private homes, tobacco and vape stores, private clubs and cigar bars, and other businesses that prohibit minors and generate at least 20 percent of their gross annual revenues, or $ 250,000 from tobacco product sales.

The scheme will also ban smoking inside the Atlanta airport, which will cause the smoking room to close the bankruptcies.

The airport already has outdoor smoking areas outside the domestic terminal and international terminal – but passengers connecting between flights must leave safety during their stay to smoke.

The Atlanta ordination was the result of a year-long press of a coalition led by the American Cancer Action Network and dozens of other local, state, and national medical and health organizations.

Secondhand's moke "causes the same diseases as we see with direct tobacco inhalation," including heart disease and cancer, said Len Lichtenfeld, acting chief medical officer of the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society, who spoke in favor of the ban on city council Monday.

On the other hand, local restaurateurs organized exemptions from the new restrictions.

According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, Atlanta has about 3,000 restaurants. About 50 of them, less than 2 percent, allow smoking. Of these, 20 are cigar bars.

Mike Dana, owner of Johnny & # 39; s Hideaway in Buckhead, is among the restaurateurs who want the grandfather's exemption in restaurants that already allow smoking.

"Smoking has been an integral part of our business," said Dana. "A ban will require our business."

Others pushed for exceptions for adult entertainment institutions.

"Smoker becomes a trending culture, from hooks to cigar bars," said Je Wesley Day, president of the Atlanta Nightlife Alliance. "Don't tell me what I can do for my customers."

Councilor Marci Collier Overstreet suggested a change for adult entertainment institutions, but it failed.

Kay Jackson, who runs cigarette machines, asked the city council, "Isn't it fair for (smokers) to have their small 2 percent or 3 percent of bars where they can go and relax and socialize with other smokers?"

"When you take away the rights of a group just because they smoke, which is legal," says Jackson, "there is no freedom and justice for all."

Those who are offended by smoking already have thousands of others restaurants to choose from that do not allow smoking, says Hal Nowak, who owns Hal Steakhouse, which allows smoking in the downstairs bar.

"What's next after smoking? Health experts claim that drinking alcohol, eating fast food and drinking soda is bad for your health too, Nowak says. "Does that mean our beloved Coca-Cola can be the next goal?"

Dave Pratt, who lives in Kirkwood and works as a Midtown consultant, also wanted a grandfather clause for restaurants that already allow smoking.

"If they want to ban (smoking), I understand it. There are health issues. It's their responsibility to take care of their citizens' welfare," Pratt siad. "My claim is that it is also their responsibility to take care of the freedom and personal freedoms of their citizens as well."

But Lucy Popova, an assistant professor of health care and behavior at Georgia State University's primary school, Research focuses on tobacco risk, called it a matter of rights, not a matter of choice.

"Poor people are exposed to second-hand smoke at much larger levels," Popova said. "It's their right to work in a place that is free of used smokers."