Thompson looks to ban smoking in parks
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
February 21, 2012 01:02 AM | 2741 views | 24 24 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SOUTH COBB — A Cobb County Commissioner wants to ban smoking on all county property, including parks.

Southwest Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson said he noticed that WellStar Cobb Hospital had signs banning tobacco use on its campus when he went there for treatment last year.

“I thought it made a lot of sense,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a matter of public health.”

Thompson has proposed adopting the policy at the county’s 77 parks, as well as outside its buildings. Smoking is already banned inside county buildings.

The county’s parks department is surveying 60 to 70 groups that use the parks, including sports organizations and groups that sponsor arts-related events, to see if they would support the proposed policy, said Eddie Canon, Cobb’s parks, recreation and cultural affairs director.

Canon said the survey information should be collected by the end of the month, after which the department will review the findings with Thompson.

The county wouldn’t spend much money policing smoking in parks, instead it’s educating user groups and asking them to deal with people who don’t follow the law, Canon said.

Not everyone supports the idea. Wynn McCurdy, a board member with the Mountain View Arts Alliance, which puts on performances and other projects with the county’s Art Place, doesn’t have a problem with smokers.

“I’ve never had a problem at one of our outdoor concerts,” said McCurdy, a non-smoker. “I’ve found that, if somebody is smoking a cigar and I don’t care for it, we just ask them to go somewhere they are not in the crowd. I have found that smokers have become much more considerate.”

McCurdy said the potential smoking ban is another example of government intrusion into people’s daily lives.

“I think it’s time for them to stop taking people’s freedom,” she said.

A number of cities, including Marietta and Kennesaw, have banned smoking in their parks, Canon said.

“Folks around the metro area are chiming in on this,” he said.

Thompson sees the proposal as a way to improve the county at little expense.

“I wanted to put something in there as a trial balloon,” he said. “All it would cost us is a little PR and some signs.”

Should smoking be banned in county parks?


Comments
(24)
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Sandy Family
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February 27, 2012
Over 1/2 of my family smokes cigarettes and we are courtious and considerate of those who do not smoke , but are OFFENDED that non smokers want to take away ours rights,to which alot of my family & friends( MILITARY ) fought for our rights. If Thompson pushes for this no smoking on cobb property, He can forget our votes and we should get a refund on our taxes that help pay for those cobb properties since we are not welcome ,niether should our tax dollars be welcome.

Just take a picture of a nucular power plant with your CELL PHONE about 1 & 1/2 mile away from it and see what happens to your cell phone & picture,then tell me about how bad my cigarette smoke is.

There are SO Many Other things that will kill you before my second hand smoke does,Alot of Doctors ETC. are to quick to blame it on my second hand smoke.

There, I have voiced my comment. Thank-You very much and have a good day.

Non Smoker
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February 22, 2012
Another sad erosion of our liberties... Lived in Cobb County most of my life. Never been harmed by anyone smoking outside.

Not Far Enough
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February 22, 2012
Parks are just the start. Smoking (outside) of entrances and exits to all public buildings needs to be banned. We should not have to walk through a cloud of smoke to enter a store, etc., especially with kids in tow.

Smokers are the worst citizens with all the secondhand smoke and billions of butts they throw everywhere. The world is their ashtray.
daveyy
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February 22, 2012
I can't believe that people are whining about this. First, smoking is banned in restautants, bars, etc. where, in fact, it should be left to the owners of the businesses whether or not it is allowed in thie establishment; let the market decide for them. Now, we are debating whether or not second-hand smoke should be outdoors? Where are the studies to show the dispensatiuon of smoke once it leaves the smoker's body? How dangerous is it? As an ex-smoker, not a day goes by when I don't want a cigarette but I also kinda like the smell of the 2nd-hand smoke and I never would tell a smoker where they can or cannot light up (except my own house, of course).
yourekiddin
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February 21, 2012
Why is it when all us baby boomers were little you hardly knew any kids that had asthma and so many people smoked everywhere? Look at the increase of kids with asthma now and the decrease of people smoking. I think we need to look elsewhere for someone/thing to blame besides people smoking OUTSIDE. All smokers know smoking is bad for their health but everyone has and should have a choice as to what they choose to do.

If I don't like the smell from someone be it from cigarettes, perfume, body odor or whatever, I walk away. I don't need the government to make laws for decisions I can make myself. What's next, laws on how much junk food you can consume?

n5a
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February 22, 2012
Why should nonsmokers have to turn and walk away? Ban the people who have the habit not inconveince the ones who do not.
Peter G
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February 21, 2012
I have to laugh at this...First, with all the pressing problems we have Woody deems this a priority? Really Woody? Secondly, Marietta Did pass a ban on smoking in Parks. Now, when I go to the Square, all the smokers stand outside the perimeter of the park and smoke so what did this accomplish really??

It is just "feel good" legislation and another Big Brother telling you what you can and can't do..Enough, get off our backs.

I am old enough to remember smoking in restaurants then there were different sections for smokers..now everyone os "OFFENDED" by smoke. I am offended by stupid people can we pass a law against them? Oh wait if we did we wouldn't have aby Commissioners
Pissed in Mableton
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February 22, 2012
Peter, I agree with you. Apparently, things are so well out here in Mableton that Woody has time to worry about this. Keep it up Woody, anything to get yourself in the news right? Oh, that's right, its election year and you want to show us how much you care.

Of course, the Mableton Improvement Coalition is over there with their cheerleader skirts on over this jumping up and down
n5a
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February 21, 2012
I am all for it being banned everywhere. If they want to stink up their house its their problem. Don't force me to walk behind you with that nasty mess stinking up my path. I am making better choices for my well being and why should I have to be forced to smell it. BLECK!!!! Smokers smell dirty to me and do not want to smell like them.
robbieh
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February 21, 2012
cobb could always follow marietta and ban smoking in all parks except for public golf course. = D

it's an issue that either you laugh or cry about.

tobacco is a controled substance. why not ban the sale?

Oh geesh
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February 22, 2012
Then are you going to foot the bill for fighting the underground tobacco industry that will crop up?

Crime will go through the roof!
anonone
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February 21, 2012
Can we also ban all dogs from all public events and parks? Also, how about crying children? And children running around? And loud teenagers? Oh and old people too? And how about people with disabilities? And loud talkers? And people on cell phones? And people with body odor or too much perfume? And ugly/beautiful/handsome people? And short/tall people? And politicians? Especially politicians? And squirrels and birds? Why? Because every one of them is an irritant to someone. In addition, if the government is going to remove all irritants, then these must go as well.
axeman
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February 21, 2012
Well said...enough of the nanny state...
Common Sense
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February 22, 2012
Uh, but all those annoyances aren't proven to cause physical harm to others. Really? Get a better argument.
CobbRes
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February 23, 2012
Hey "Common Sense" (which ain't too common these days btw)

"...all those annoyances aren't proven to cause physical harm to others" Neither is second-hand smoke, genius. Do some research beyond the anti-smoking establishment, or are you afraid of what you might find?

LawPatrol
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February 21, 2012
Commissioner Woody Thompson seems to forget that We, the People, own the public parks, and that he is merely a Public Servant and Trustee, elected to take care of the public's property, not to tell the owners of said property what they can,or can not do within reason while using the property for it's intended purposes. BACK OFF WOODY !!!
Choppy Seas
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February 21, 2012
Ol' Woody will change his mind again like he did with the millage rate increase and then he'll have gotten another one by us. Woody should know that Co-Cola is a killer, too. Is he going to ban Co-Colas in the park? Mableton is the garden spot of Cobb County and Woody is a major reason.
mk - smoke screen
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February 21, 2012
Hey Woody,... how 'bout the danger of illegals driving drunk & killing people & how 'bout the danger of drug cartel living in local apartments, loading weapons & cooking meth! How 'bout going after the real threats & leave the people's liberty alone!
Emil
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February 21, 2012
Where's the science? A government official "thinks it makes sense" so, we should surrender to more government oversight and enforcement? More than likely this official has heard about other civic leaders with nothing better to do than jump on this band wagon. I'm worse than a non-smoker, I'm an ex-smoker convert. But, honestly, I cannot recall a single instance where outdoor smoke has ever caused me even mild discomfort. Our parks generally enable visitors to enjoy their own space without such trivial annoyances from other park visitors.
hotinatlanta
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February 21, 2012
I'm all for it. It's a nasty, stinky habit and throwing your butts on the ground or out of your cars is littering and you should be fined. Nothing worse than being outside and having cig. smoke blowing over. I have a neighbor who insists on smoking outside and it's constantly blowing over into my home. They also need to make it against the law to smoke in cars. By the way, I am an ex-smoker.
WestCobber
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February 21, 2012
And there is nothing worse than an ex-smoker who wants everyone to follow suit. You quit - good for you - but don't try to dictate to me what I should do. And for those of you who complain, I NEVER throw my butts on the ground, or out of the car window. And if I cannot freely use the parks, do I get a discount on my taxes - no, of course not. I get to pay my full share of taxes, and then am told that I am restricted. To me, people who don't pick up their litter, including dog poop, are much worse than smokers.
To West Cobber
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February 22, 2012
Please. You are 'restricted' from using the parks while you are smoking because you're making a choice. Either don't smoke and use the park or light up and stay out. If I choose to go and get drunk at a restaurant, I'm then restricted from using public roads while intoxicated. I don't a credit on my taxes for those times I'm not legally allowed to drive. If I buy a home but choose not to have kids I'm not given a credit on paying school taxes. And to me, smokers who don't realize how bad they stink and are physically bothering those around them are worse than litterers.
anonymous
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February 21, 2012
RE: “I thought it made a lot of sense,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a matter of public health.”

Public health is not a concern of Thompson or any of the other democrat/rino busy bodies. What the nimrods of the nanny state don't realize is that they will eventually push so hard that people will quit smoking...and the mega tax stream from the sales of those nasty sticks will dry up.

My only problem with smokers is their nasty habit of throwing those nasty little butts that their nasty lips have been sucking on, on the ground and out their car windows. I would LOVE to to see the cops do a campaign to enforce the no littering laws violated by the vast majority of smokers.
Pat H
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February 21, 2012
Cobb County allows open burning of leaves, allowing much more particulate smoke to enter our homes and cars as we drive by. For those who are not safe from neighbor's smoke, for hours, it seems quite hypocritical to ban cigarette smoke which hardly affects others.
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