Atlanta mayor signs new legislation banning smoking, vaping in public places

Channel 2's Kristen Holloway spoke with the councilman who introduced the ban.

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed legislation Tuesday that bans smoking and vaping in restaurants, bars, workplaces, hotel rooms, the airport and many other public places in the city.

The smoke-free ordinance takes effect Jan. 2, 2020.

We're getting reactions from people about the new smoking ban, for Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m.

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The new ordinance cracks down on a previous law passed in 2005 that requires smokers to be in enclosed private rooms or outside and prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants where people under 18 are allowed.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will close its smoking rooms as a result of the ban.

Channel 2's Kristen Holloway talked to Matt Westmoreland, a city councilman who wrote the legislation, about why he felt the bill was a priority:

"Second-hand smoke is really harmful," Westmoreland said. "It has thousands of chemicals in it, hundreds of toxins that could cause cancer. So it was important for us to join every other city in this county."


The ban does exempt outdoor and patio areas. Tobacco and vape stores, cigar bars and private clubs can apply at City Hall to be exempt from the ban.

"If 20% of your revenue comes from tobacco or $250,000, you will be able to apply for an exception," Westmoreland said. "We tried to find that balance between protecting public health, but also working with small businesses so nobody gets hurt in the process."

Not everyone is on board with the new ban.

"I don't think it's a bad idea, but I also think, depending on the exact location where it's allowed, I think it should be totally accepted," resident Justin Sicard said.

Westmoreland thinks it's a much-needed change people will not resist for the most part.

"I think the majority of the people are probably going to accept it," Westmoreland said.