Health board pushes for smoking ban in outdoor areas in DeKalb

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

The DeKalb County Board of Health is asking county leaders to approve a smoking ban for a number of designated outdoor areas. The goal of the ban is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Park patrons in DeKalb may soon be banned from smoking.

The DeKalb County Board of Health is asking county leaders to approve a smoking ban for a number of designated outdoor areas. The goal of the ban is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

The board took its request to DeKalb County commissioners this week. If approved, people will not be able to smoke at parks, playgrounds, ATMs and other service lines. Smoking in pool halls, stadiums, arenas and county-owned facilities would also be prohibited.

Some residents said the board of health's initiative goes too far.

"I mean, come on. It's not necessary; we don't need it," said DeKalb County resident and patron Carrie Horner.

"Everyone one is always trying to tell you what to do, where to do it," she told Channel 2's Erica Byfield.

Doctors said personal freedoms, however, can impact someone else.

"The usual arguments about the ordinance is personal freedom. Your personal freedom is fine, but when your personal freedom impacts someone else's health long-term and doesn't have any say-so, that is a problem," said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford.

The recent ban isn't the first time DeKalb officials have rallied for a ban. Last year, health officials asked for a complete ban that included bars and restaurants, and it failed.

"This is a step-by-step process, so we are hoping that the commissioners accept this one, and when they see that it does not impact the revenues of these establishments, so hopefully they'll move forward include and more establishments in their ordinance," said Ford.

Robert Blake, a south DeKalb resident, supports the ban.

"I don't agree with smoking in the park or any public place, for that matter," he said.

The ban would go into effect 60 days after the board of commissioners approves the changes and the CEO signs the ordinance.

http://bcove.me/j8ux33im