About the Smoke-free ATL Campaign
Smoke-free Atlanta is a broad coalition of organizations spearheading the effort to protect everyone who lives, works, and plays in ATL from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and the American Cancer Society have been working in Georgia to pass local ordinances stronger than the state law for at least 12 years.
Currently, ACS CAN is leading a coalition to pass a strong comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in Atlanta that makes all workplaces, restaurants and bars as well as Hartsfield-Jackson Airport entirely smoke-free.
In 2004, current Atlanta Councilmember Natalyn Archibong introduced a city ordinance to prohibit smoking in restaurants. At the same time, in the Georgia State Legislature, Mayor Kasim Reed (then Senator Reed) co-sponsored SB 90 with Senator Don Thomas to prohibit smoking in certain facilities. The Atlanta smoke-free restaurant ordinance discussion was tabled by the full Atlanta city council given the action of the State Legislature.
In 2005, SB 90 passed out of the Georgia Senate, prohibiting smoking in many workplaces including restaurants and bars, but it allowed for smoking in workplaces with fewer than five employees and for smoking rooms at the airport. As the bill moved through the legislative process, it was weakened. The Georgia Smoke-free Air Act of 2005 was enacted and it allows smoking in bars and restaurants that do not employ people under the age of 18 or allow them to enter, allows for smoking rooms and smoking areas in workplaces with ventilation systems, and allows smoking rooms at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
The state law is not preemptive, meaning counties and municipalities may pass local smoke-free laws more restrictive than the state law. Efforts to pass local ordinances stronger than the state law have been difficult, and eleven years after implementation of the state law, many workers and patrons, especially those in bars, clubs and adult entertainment establishments remain unprotected from secondhand smoke. This is the case in Atlanta as well.
In 2009, due to the mounting concerns of the 2006 U.S. Surgeon’s General report that confirmed there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, former Councilmember Jim Maddox worked with public health advocates and led an effort to create a task force that would work with the city council and businesses to pass a stronger smoke-free ordinance that would prohibit smoking in bars, clubs, and adult entertainment facilities. Opposition from businesses, particularly the bars and adult entertainment industry, caused the ordinance to be watered down and current Councilmember Howard Shook (former chair of the public safety committee) held the ordinance in his committee.
In 2012, Atlanta city council passed a citywide smoke-free parks bill which was sponsored by current councilmember Alex Wan.
Sign the Petition.
Help us protect everyone in Atlanta’s right to work in a smoke-free environment.
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