Sandy Springs Parks go Smoke-free

Smell that?  If the air smells a little fresher this morning in Sandy Springs, it’s because in their council meeting on June 3rd, the City of Sandy Springs decided to establish their parks as a smoke-free zone, effective immediately.  What a novel idea!?!  People who enjoy fresh air to run, walk, picnic, and play with their children also enjoy it being smoke-free.  Alpharetta, Roswell, Atlanta…all the cool kids are doing it.

Major props to Mayor Rusty Paul and the Sandy Springs City Council.

Georgia passed the Senate version of the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2005.  I had the wonderful pleasure of working for Representative Stacey Reece who offered the House version, the year after the act passed.  This act prohibits smoking in establishments that serve individuals 18 and under.  Essentially, the case could be made to the General Assembly that children should not be forced to endure secondhand smoke (and they shouldn’t), but that adults lives were fair game to wager.   Reece explained to me that many bar owners thought their bottom lines would decrease if the state prohibited smoking, as many people who do not consider themselves smokers do, actually smoke, when they drink.  (I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that one.)

However, parks don’t have a bottom line to negotiate and are used by the general public, often to promote healthy living choices.  So this choice of the city council seems pretty logical and with little controversy.  As a matter of fact, smokers are actually in the minority in Georgia.  They make up about 20% of the population and are predominantly minority men, aged 35- 45.  For the full press release, look for it beneath the fold.

Sandy Springs City Council Bans Smoking at City Parks

Release Date: 6/4/2014   SANDY SPRINGS (June 4, 2014) –Smoking and the use of other tobacco products, including the use of e cigarettes is no longer permitted at City of Sandy Springs parks. During its June 3, 2014 meeting, the City of Sandy Springs City Council approved an amendment to its Recreation and Parks smoking ordinance, prohibiting smoking and use of tobacco products by anyone using city parks.

“Our parks are public spaces. Everyone, in particular our children, should have the opportunity to enjoy these outdoor, natural areas without worry of taking in second-hand smoke,” said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul.

The ordinance prohibits the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes; it also includes e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco products. The new rules take effect immediately.

For more information, please visit us online at, or call the Citizen Response Center at 770-730-5600. Follow breaking news and traffic alerts at, and “like us” at for community information.

###My hope?  Maybe eventually I can go to the Vortex with the food and drink being the only challenge to my health.

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” ― Mark Twain

Disclosure: ACS-CAN contracted with me in the past to advocate on behalf of smoke-free ordinances in local jurisdictions around Georgia.


  1. fmlaw1 says:

    While I applaud those that have quit, or are in the process of quitting, Sandy Springs took (IMHO) a HUGE step backwards for personal responsibility and freedom.

    I am not a smoker, and do avoid places that are smoke-filled. I understand the desire for a smoke-free world. However, I almost choked while driving as 106.7 discussed this matter. Of particular personal revuslion was the quote “. . . in particular our children, should have the opportunity to enjoy these outdoor, natural areas without worry of taking in second-hand smoke. ”

    When an argument is made to limit what a person can or cannot do based on “it’s for the children”, I fully expect justification for the limitation to be weak. How much oppression can be heaped on an otherwise defenseless (yet significant) minority of 20%? Dang, they already have to be outside and away to enjoy their vice.

    And “it also includes e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco”? Really, how is this prohibition anything other than an authoritarian (we know better than you what is good for you) edict.

    Coming from Right or Left, Republican or Democrat, authoritarianism is against the concept that made this once great country great. Why can’t we just be left alone sometimes?

    Flame away! And Yes, I do see the irony in that statement in the thread.

  2. Will Durant says:

    I quit smoking tobacco more than 40 years ago and for a long time didn’t want to be around it, however, banning smoking in the great outdoors? Sorry, too Nanny State for me as well. The walk/run path around my local park is much more dangerous for breathing, smoke wise anyway, from locals burning wood in the wintertime than some itty-bitty cigarette in the great outdoors. If you really want to ban something that offends the olfactory system then take on “wicking” polyester underwear.

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