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Atlanta may ban smoking in parks | News

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Atlanta may ban smoking in parks

ATLANTA -- Two Atlanta city council members have proposed banning smoking at outdoor city parks. It's not sitting well in some quarters.

"They should be locked up for the RICO act," said Craig Hickerson, who calls himself "the poet of Little Five Points."

"And treason against the American people," Hickerson added.

Hickerson was enjoying a smoke in Findlay Park, a concrete spot in Little Five Points where some view smoking as akin to a constitutional right.

"It's an outdoor setting. And this war of attrition with smoking laws -- it really is just an invasion of civil liberties," said Tyler Thomas, who was smoking with Hickerson.

But backers of the proposed ordinance are suggesting that city parks are more than just another outdoor setting. They're following the lead of other cities that have outlawed smoking in them -- largely because of the way they're used.

"People take their kids to the park. They walk their dogs. Parks promote healthy lifestyles," said Christiana Miller, a beer distributor who says she's undecided on the ordinance.

"Running and kickball leagues and boot camps and such as that. And I understand why" some would want to outlaw smoking in parks, she said.

Christiana Miller was sitting in a restaurant called Across the Street, which allows smoking legally on its outdoor patio adjacent to Freedom Park. City ordinances allow bars and restaurants with patrons over the age of 21 to smoke indoors.

In Norcross, the city council repealed a strict tobacco ban in public places. Officials there expect the council to revisit its restriction.

Meantime, the Atlanta City Council will decide the fate of the proposed Atlanta ordinance.