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Smoking banned in Atlanta parks

7:34 AM, Jul 17, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The city council approved an ordinance Monday that bans smoking in the city's parks on an 11-1 vote.

The measure creates fines of up to $1,000 for violations of the ban. Signage will be erected in all the city's parks.

"I'm particularly concerned about the children who are most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke," said City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd in a statement released Monday afternoon. 

"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."

The city's ordinance prohibits smoking in outdoor parks and recreational facilities in the city, including golf courses, tennis courts, playgrounds, hiking trails and athletic fields.

The only exemptions are at a handful of city-owned venues, for as long as they remain part of a separate lease: the Chastain Amphitheater, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood and the Park Tavern Restaurant at Piedmont Park, as well as at designated smoking areas at golf club amenities.

Atlanta joins a number of municipalities that have banned smoking in public parks: the cities of Alpharetta, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Gainesville, Marietta and Roswell; along with Clayton, Douglas, Forsyth, Henry and Athens-Clarke County.

The measure now goes to the mayor for final approval.

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