Smoking ban plan on hold in Kennesaw
by Hannah Morgan
October 18, 2013 12:35 AM | 2628 views | 6 6 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KENNESAW — With pressure from an upcoming election and negative feedback from residents, Kennesaw City Council put off deciding on a proposed city-wide smoking ban.

Also delayed was a decision on whether the city should restrict council members from texting during meetings.

Both initiatives, brought to the table by Councilwoman Cris Welsh Wednesday night, were dismissed until the council’s next work session after heated discussions between council members and the mayor.

Lisa Crossman from Cobb and Douglas Public Heath and Welsh presented the proposed ordinance, which would ban all forms of smoking, including e-cigarettes, from all city property and most businesses. It was meant to be a “conversation starter,” the council said, which wouldn’t be adopted without input from the city’s residents.

Mayor Mark Mathews wasn’t so sure the city needed to hear more input from residents.

“It’s not something a local government should be enforcing on local business owners or personal residences,” said Mathews, after listening to the presentation.

“I think this is just the start of the conversation,” Crossman said. She said she hopes other cities in Cobb County would follow Kennesaw’s lead in becoming smoke-free.

Council members were most concerned about how the ban would impact local businesses.

“We need to stay out of businesses. That’s not where the government should be,” said council member Matt Riedemann, who added he has heard mostly negative feedback from residents about the proposed ban.

There are 150 businesses in Cobb County that allow smoking, and less than 15 of these are in Kennesaw, said Kirk Miller, a grassroots manager for the American Cancer Society, who presented the ordinance alongside Crossman.

These include popular establishments like Bullfrogs Bar, Kennesaw Billiards and the Electric Cowboy, Welsh said.

“We are really not looking at a huge dramatic change here,” Crossman argued.

Council members seemed unsure.

About 40 residents showed up at City Hall on Wednesday night, just down the block from downtown Kennesaw, to watch the discussion.

“I believe in the freedom of choice,” said council member Jeff Duckett. “If we impose something on a business and they fail to enforce it, it’s our fault,” he added, as a member of the audience replied, “Amen.”

David Owens, who owns Dixie’s Vapor Shop in the Kennesaw Landing Shopping Center, said the proposed ban would greatly impact his business, which opened in July.

Owens sells electronic cigarettes and advanced personal vaporizers at his shop, which tries to distance itself from the negative connotation cigarettes carry, he said. By outright banning e-cigarettes and vaporizers, the city would prohibit his clients from “vaping” where traditional smoking is not allowed, he said.

He attended Wednesday’s meeting with Todd Sherman and Ian Aros, who plan to open their own specialty shop within the next month where they will sell vaporizers and e-cigarettes. All three men attended the meeting to let the council know they did not support the proposed ban.

“This is a freedom of choice thing. They are trying to take away our pursuit of happiness,” Owens said.

After a lengthy discussion, the council decided, at the request of council member Bruce Jenkins, to move the conversation until its next work session at the end of October, where it plans to consider setting up a time to hear public input on the matter.

Close to half of the audience trickled out after the council pushed back the smoking decision.

Texting during meetings a hot issue

The council then turned its attention to communicating electronically during council meetings.

Welsh complained the council had no policy on using smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices to communicate with each other during council meetings. She believes the council needs to be more transparent with its communications.

“It’s our government and our people, and our people need to know what we are doing,” she said.

Council member Tim Killingsworth disagreed, saying, “I don’t need a policy. I’m an adult,” and pointed to his two cellphones that were tucked under the table.

Jenkins supported adopting a policy, acknowledging the members of the police department and city workers who were in the crowd, whose responsibility it was, he said, to let them know of an emergency, if there was one.

Other council members thought the proposal was immature and unnecessary.

“If you want to sit there and look like a rude person, you can,” Killingsworth said, as Mathews tapped away on his iPhone.

The council decided to put off any decision on the issue at least until its next council meeting, which will be in the council chambers at City Hall at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30.

Comments
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john davidson
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October 22, 2013
This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16741714-lungs-from-pack-a-day-smokers-safe-for-transplant-study-finds?lite

Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

“I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study...........................

Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY.

A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

OSHA ON SECOND HAND SMOKE.................

According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke........

They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA'S minimum PEL'S on shs/ets.......Did it ever set the debate on fire.

They concluded that:

All this is in a small sealed room 9x20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes.

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA.

on balance
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October 18, 2013
Cris Welch, the Mayor Bloomberg of Kennesaw. The , "if I don't do it and I don't like it, let's legislate it out of existence".

I am a non smoker, I hate smoking and all its trappings including its effect on people's health. One thing I hate more is self righteous prigs who try to restrict the freedom of others.

We here in Cobb County live in a reasonably open, lovely area. There is enough room to accommodate the needs and wants of our citizens.

Cris, I do not know you. I do not ever want to know you. If you get this through, next you will try to create a ban against 32 ounce drinks and maybe even breathing too loud.
rjsnh
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October 18, 2013
It takes courage to do the right thing in the face of opposition. Ignorance should not triumph over reason, even if it represents the prevailing view. Sometimes leaders have to do what is in the best interest of the people, even if it unpopular. Those are the leaders who will be remembered for doing good work, not for simply winning an election. It is easy to follow a well worn path6 but much harder to be a path definer.
on balance
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October 18, 2013
A foley adherent speaks up!!!

"Sometimes leaders have to what is in the best interest of the people, even if unpopular." And just how far should these leaders go??

Nothing but children
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October 18, 2013
In the past, mayor and council communicated in secret via text messages. But it really doesn't matter now, because text messages are now part of the open records process. Anything they text during a meeting is public record. So let them text away.

To Tim Killingsworth and Mark Mathews, wow...you openly admit that you want to be rude and disrecpectful to others by texting during meetings. And Mark, to text WHILE this discussion is going on is the ultimate in arrogance.

Elections people, we need to turn these idiots out of office as soon as possible.
Juvenile
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October 18, 2013
This group needs to grow up and start acting like adults instead of a bunch of 1st graders. They all need to go, lets put folks into office that are working for the citizens and not themselves. You guys are no different then the idiots in DC!!
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