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Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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Proposed Smoking Ban a No-go in DeKalb County, Georgia

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An effort to institute a smoking ban in all public places in Dekalb County, Georgia, was recently rejected, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The proposed ban that would have prohibited smoking in places such as parks, bars, and strip clubs was rejected by four of the county’s commissioners, as they felt that it would hurt local businesses. Two commissioners dissented, while one was absent during the proceedings.

The commission’s presiding officer Larry Johnson commented on the ruling: “I don’t want us going down a slippery slope where we end up telling people what they can do in their own home. You start in the business realm and we could have some unintended consequences.

The county’s Board of Health first introduced the proposal four months ago. Controversy ensued between supporters and opponents of the ban, with each side presenting their stance. Supporters cited $548 in annual healthcare charges to each DeKalb household as a result of second-hand smoke. Gordon Draves of Live Healthy DeKalb said: “We keep hearing about choice, and I wish we did have a choice. I would like the choice of not having to pay the medical bills for smokers.”

Opponents of the ban, on the other hand, said it would negatively impact local businesses, as DeKalb customers have the option to visit bars in nearby Fulton or Gwinnett counties to smoke. They also noted that customers should have the personal freedom to choose whether or not they want to smoke. As it stands, DeKalb currently bans smoking in enclosed workplaces, but bars and restaurants that prohibit workers or customers under 18 years of age are exempt.






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