Smoke free parks? A new ordinance in Kennesaw could come by month’s end
by Justin Larson
August 08, 2014 04:00 AM | 5178 views | 10 10 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw Councilwoman Cris Eaon-Welsh stands in Swift-Cantrell Park on Tuesday. The City Council may soon be following the lead of Marietta in banning all smoking in Marietta city parks. <br> Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Kennesaw Councilwoman Cris Eaon-Welsh stands in Swift-Cantrell Park on Tuesday. The City Council may soon be following the lead of Marietta in banning all smoking in Marietta city parks.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
KENNESAW — Smoking could be banned at all Kennesaw city parks under a possible code change as early as the end of this month.

The new ordinance, if passed, would ban smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and pipes in Kennesaw’s 130 acres of public parks, which Councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh called a “no-brainer.”

Kennesaw’s current smoking ban, which has been in effect since 2004, limits smoking to designated areas within the parks and has sparked conflict among park visitors.

“All the complaints are coming from the parks,” said Welsh. “People are in the parks to be active and to get healthy. They don’t want to be walking through cigarette smoke.”

The City Council’s proposal for these “breathe-easy parks,” a term used by Eaton-Welsh, appears to be mirroring neighboring cities’ plans by making all public parks completely smoke-free, something Mayor Mark Mathews fully supports.

“I think we have reached a point in our community that the residents care very much about their health and the health of our children,” Mathews said. “I support a ban in the parks and hope that the residents will embrace the policy if adopted.”

The council’s previous ordinance proposal in 2013, which would have banned smoking in all public places, was met with backlash by Kennesaw residents and was put on hold. Eaton-Welsh said this new proposal is completely different than the last.

Kennesaw would be the second city in Cobb to make its parks smoke-free. The city of Marietta has had smoke-free parks since 2005, while Smyrna and Powder Springs enforce smoking bans at outdoor concerts and other city events. Acworth and Austell do not ban smoking in parks, nor does the county.

“A smoke-free Cobb County is something that has been discussed for years but never formalized,” county spokesman Robert Quigley said.

Eaton-Welsh encourages those with questions to attend a public hearing August 18, when the proposal will be discussed and voted on.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 18, 2014
Don't worry, they may ban smoking, but it will still be ok to bring your machine gun to the park.
August 13, 2014
the government needs to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants in this county--there is still way too much smoking in some places---i'm tired of this. smoking should be banned asap and smokers fined if they smoke.
Jerry in Kennesaw
August 08, 2014
This is just more fickle authoritarianism founded on complaints from overly-sensitive, bombastic, histrionic, busy-bodies who don't like to even see a responsible adult enjoying a legal product that they do not approve of. Well, I don't approve of noxious perfume and odiferous cologne creeping into my personal space either. Think that can be banned too? Ridiculous, intolerant, and paternalistic nanny-statism at work again. When will this madness end?
August 09, 2014
I am a non smoker. I detest the smell of smoke. In fact, it sometimes affects my asthma. The only thing I hate more than smoking is non-smoking people as described by Jerry in his post.

Smoking in an outdoor area should be treated differently than indoors. I believe that if part of an open area facility allows smoking that those described above will go out of their way to put themselves and their children in a position to be able to complain.
August 08, 2014
They should ban stupid taxes too!!!
Just Wait
August 08, 2014
I think they should ban flip-flops. They are nothing but noise pollution and destroy the peace and quite of the parks.
Bill in Kennesaw
August 08, 2014
I don't smoke, never have, never will. It is a foolish thing to do.

However I am against the needless expansion of government into all walks of our lives, this proposed 'new law' is just another example of overreach by government.

In an essay written in 1849 Henry David Thoreau said in part: "That government is best which governs least". We don't need more law, just more common sense.
August 08, 2014
And the insanity continues...
Bruce Jenkins
August 08, 2014
Major Kudos to the City Council finally considering a measure that was brought forward when Council member Welsh wanted to ban smoking from the entire city, (her measure I did not support). This "clear" measure should have been Job 1 for reaching our "healthy city" initiative, and in addition by following Federal guidelines that ban smoking from public buildings, along with county ordinances banning smoking from restaurants, etc. I fully support this measure to remove the mixed/confusing signal of existing code of banning smoking from parks, but not from parking lots that are close by. Great job Team!
August 08, 2014
This is a wonderful idea. I will support and obey this if it passes. Will arrests be made and fines be assessed to offenders ? If so, I predict a drop in attendance at the skatepark. This seems to be a "Win, Win" situation. Great idea Chris, I hope it passes .
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