Cobb considers smoking ban at parks

by: Carl Willis Updated:

COBB COUNTY, Ga.,None - There could be one more place off limits for smokers in Cobb County. The county is looking into a proposed smoking and tobacco ban for all of its parks and recreation areas.

The proposal is still in its early stages but already drawing some strong opinions.

"I think you should have that liberty, that freedom at least in the parks," said limousine driver Isaac Afeku.

The county is looking for feedback from park users as the Health Department figures out how such a ban would be funded.

Indoor park areas are already smoke free zones, but a county commissioner wants to take it a step further by adding outdoor areas and walking trails.

Cobb County resident Elworth Smith said he supports the idea.

"Cigarette smoke is one of the biggest killers out there," Smith said.

Still, others including Afeku, said the ban would be going too far.

"If people want to smoke, and they can't smoke inside and they can't smoke at the airports, and they want to smoke at a park, that's an airy place," he argued.

The ban would have to be approved by the board of commissioners. They said first they'd have to allow public comment and opinions from residents.

"(There are) cigarette butts on the ground. You have kids walking through the park. You have to think about the consideration of others," Smith said. "Even though it's an individual right, you can't infringe on everybody else."

The city of Marietta banned smoking in parks two years ago, but the rest of Cobb County is smoke and tobacco free in most public places such as restaurants, state buildings and classrooms.

Cobb County officials have not determined what the punishment would be for violators.
In Marietta, it's a $500 fine.

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