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Atlanta Passes Parks Smoking Ban

Andrew Nagy
Posted: July 19, 2012

The list of major cities that don’t allow smoking in public parks is set to get a little longer as Atlanta lawmakers passed a public parks smoking ban on Monday night.

The outdoor smoking ban, which passed a City Council vote by a 12-1 margin, will immediately take effect after Mayor Kasim Reed signs the legislation. It’s been reported that Reed supports such a smoking ban, so it’s unlikely he will veto the bill.

In addition to prohibiting smoking in all of Atlanta’s public outdoor parks, the measure states that violators face up to a $1,000 fine, and could even go to jail for six months or be forced into community service.

While public parks are covered by the ban, private parks are not. Smoking will still be legal in Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Park Tavern, Chastain Park Amphitheatre and the parts of Oakland Cemetery that are privately owned.

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Comments   2 comment(s) July 23, 2012 12:09pm ET

Could someone explain to me from a legal perspective if this would hold?

For all of the no smoking laws being passed, why has no one fought it as unconstitutional as a violation of the 4th amendment. As part of the 4th amendment, it states:

A seizure of property occurs when there is "some meaningful interference with an individual's possessory interests in that property"

With a smoking law, it is preventing an owner from exercising control over their property. The government is placing restrictions on your private property and how you wish to use it.

Is this a legal argument? If so, why has no one taken this approach to fight the smoking laws?


Nathan Galbraith July 25, 2012 10:47am ET

No lawyer here, but two things come to mind.

1)They aren't saying that you can't do it, just that you cant do it there.

2)Guns being a poor example due to permit requirements for carry, there are several places where I cant carry my knife. These are mainly government buildings, these are public (government owned) parks.

Regardless of whether I agree or disagree, that's why I think it wouldn't work.

Also, public sentiment. Big part there.

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