Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general. The dangers of secondhand smoke from cigarettes and e-cigarettes are clear. Any level of exposure is dangerous and eliminating smoking in all indoor spaces is the only effective way to protect the public. E-cigarettes also release harmful chemicals into the air and may expose bystanders to unsafe elements including ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds.
On July 1, 2019, the Atlanta City Council voted to ban smoking and vaping in public places. While the State of Georgia has restricted smoking since passing the Smokefree Air Act of 2005, the new ban is stricter and closes loopholes in the 2005 law. Under the new ban, smoking is prohibited in restaurants, bars, places of employment, and other public places. The law includes e-cigarettes and their vapor in its definition of smoking and secondhand smoke. Notably, smoking inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will be prohibited. The airport will convert smoking rooms in the terminals into other spaces and require those who want to smoke to exit the terminal.
NACDD submitted a letter of support for the proposed law. “Expanding smoke-free laws protects the public and prevents adverse health effects that can cause chronic disease,” said John Robitscher, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. “NACDD supports efforts by states and localities to limit the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.”
On July 10, 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed the legislation and the ban will go into effect starting January 2, 2020.