Atlanta is joining more than 1000 cities across the nation with comprehensive smokefree protections that will protect your city’s residents, visitors, and employees from secondhand smoke exposure. The City’s new ordinance goes into effect on January 2, 2020. In addition to smoking restrictions that already exist under state law, there will be new restrictions on smoking and vaping (use of electronic nicotine delivery systems) in many locations across the city.
WHY DO WE NEED THIS NEW ORDINANCE?
The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. When non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, they inhale many of the same toxins that smokers inhale. Exposure to secondhand smoke can contribute to or cause severe health problems in smokers and non-smokers, including asthma, emphysema, respiratory disease, heart disease, and even cancer. Providing smoke-free protections to everyone who works, lives, and visits our city will help reduce health disparities, strengthen economic activity, and create a healthier workforce.
WHERE IS SMOKING PROHIBITED INDOORS?
- Hotels and motels
- Long-term care facilities
- Private and semi-private rooms in health care facilities
- Convention facilities
- Public transportation facilities, including bus, rail car, rail station, or intermodal bus stations.
- Buildings and vehicles owned, leased, occupied, or operated by the City or State
- Most other public places (enclosed by two or more walls/barriers)
Examples: hospitals, nursing homes, public buses and trains, retail stores, and retail service businesses
WHERE IS SMOKING PROHIBITED OUTDOORS?
- Within 10 feet of outside building entrances and windows
- City playgrounds and parks
- Outdoor areas of employment
WHERE IS SMOKING ALLOWED?
- Private homes, unless used as a licensed child care, adult day-care, or health care facility;
- Retail tobacco stores and retail vapor product stores
- Cigar bars and hookah lounges, as defined in this ordinance
- Private clubs, military officer clubs, and noncommissioned officer clubs.
WHERE SHOULD SIGNS BE POSTED?
Signs should be posted where smoking is prohibited. Hang signs in plain view at all major entrances to your business and at the entrance of all restrooms. You can visit this link to view and download additional signs.
AS A BUSINESS OWNER OR EMPLOYER, HOW DO I COMPLY WITH THE ORDINANCE?
- Post no smoking signs. Hang in plain view at all major entrances to your business and at the entrance to all restrooms.
- Remove all ashtrays and other smoking receptacles.
- Ask individuals smoking or vaping on the premises indoors to stop, and to step outside. Smoking outside of your establishment is not allowed within 10 feet of any entrance/exit, windows, or air intake system.
AS A PATRON, HOW DO I COMPLY WITH THE ORDINANCE?
DATES TO REMEMBER AND REQUIRED SIGNAGE
Learn about the ordinance and how it affects your business. Read this toolkit and visit smokefreeatl.org for additional information.
Plan how the ordinance will be implemented in your business. Understand what the ordinance requires and ensure those provisions are implemented. The ordinance allows business owners to prohibit smoking in additional areas not regulated by the ordinance, such as outdoor seating areas of restaurants and bars.
Discuss the ordinance with your employees. Explain how the ordinance affects your business using routine methods, such as staff meetings, payroll stuffer, break room posters or emails. If you have employees who smoke, explain where and when they may smoke during work hours.
Train your employees to implement the ordinance. Train staff on the new requirements and the protocol for handling customers who are not following the ordinance. Help them prepare what to say to customers who smoke.
Print required signs and educational materials. Please visit this link to view and print additional educational materials as they become available.
Post the required no smoking or vaping signs. Hang signs in plain view at all major entrances to your business and at the entrance of all restrooms.
Continue to comply with the ordinance. Ensure that required signs are posted, ashtrays are removed, and smoking and vaping is prohibited in your business.
Keep information and resources on hand. Keep this toolkit and other resources available for easy reference. Visit www.smokefreeatl.org for updates on the ordinance.
Provide continual support for employees. Train new employees on the ordinance. Remind employees about the availability of resources to quit smoking.
As of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2020, “No Smoking” signs should contain the following elements:
- The words “No Smoking or Vaping”
- The international “no smoking” and “no vaping” symbols
- A reference to the relevant provisions of City Code
- A reference to the City’s Smoke-Free Website:
- A reference to the City’s non-emergency number:
Until the regulations go into effect, you may print and use the temporary sign included at the end of this toolkit. Please hang the sign in plain view at entrances to your business and at the entrance to all restrooms. All temporary signs must be replaced with permanent, durable signs.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A CUSTOMER IS SMOKING OR VAPING IN VIOLATION OF THE ORDINANCE?
- “A city ordinance no longer allows smoking or vaping indoors. I’m sorry, but you will have to step outside to smoke or vape.”
- “The new smoke-free ordinance prohibits smoking in here. Thank you for your cooperation.”
- “We are under a smoke-free ordinance that prohibits smoking indoors. I need to ask you to put out your cigarette (or refrain from using your e-cigarette).
- Speak respectfully.
- Direct the smoker to the nearest place they can smoke.
- If the smoker refuses to comply, let the manager on duty or security personnel handle it. If necessary, use your normal protocol for removing a disruptive customer from your premises.