If you want to light up a cigarette or e-cigarette at an Atlanta-owned or operated facility or even bars and restaurants, your time is running out.
The city’s ban on smoking and vaping at all city-owned and operated facilities, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, goes into effect Jan. 2. Approved by the city council in July, the ordinance (Legislative Reference No. 19-O-1205) seeks to protect the public against exposure to secondhand smoke. The ban includes bars and restaurants except outdoor seating or serving areas.
“We want to make sure every resident, tourist and worker has the ability and right to breathe smoke-free air,” Post 2 at-large Councilman Matt Westmoreland, the legislation’s primary sponsor, said in a news release a few days before the council’s vote.
Anti-smoking groups, including Entertainers Speak Out, an Atlanta nonprofit of musicians that include B.B. King’s daughter, Claudette King; Grammy Award nominee Jontavious Willis and Lewis McTush, have been lobbying the city for the ban for months or even years.
“Even though I don’t smoke, I have COPD and asthma,” King said in a statement. “It bothers me when I come around anyone that is smoking; I cannot handle it at all. The ordinance means being able to do things freely, without any kind of distraction. What I mean by distraction … with smoke there, it affects the visual; it affects your performance. It helps me be a better performer and be at my best. My dad, when he was alive and was performing, his request was always for it to be smoke-free.”