The city of Marietta is considering expanding its anti-smoking ordinance to include the newest way users can take a hit of nicotine.
The City Council’s Judicial Legislative Committee on Tuesday reviewed a proposal that would outlaw the use of e-cigarettes, as well as chewing tobacco, in parks and at other government facilities.
Committee members were briefed with a presentation from Lisa Crossman, deputy director of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department. Crossman said her organization recommended the city update its ordinance to reflect the current language surrounding nicotine use. She noted entities such as SunTrust Park, The Battery Atlanta and the city of Kennesaw have implemented similar rules outlawing the use of e-cigarettes.
“The inclusion would further eliminate tobacco-related litter and the exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapor, which may contain harmful products that can be inhaled by another individual,” she said in a statement. “Additionally, because youth vaping has reached epidemic proportions in Georgia and the U.S., it is recommended to eliminate this practice in places where youth congregate.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm still-developing brains. The National Institute on Drug Abuse said in December that 37 percent of high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes in a single year, compared to 27.8 percent in 2017.
Along with Kennesaw, Cobb County, Smyrna and Powder Springs all have prohibitions on tobacco use in their facilities or on their properties.
Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton said the current smoking ban encompasses city parks and buildings. It also covers parks around the city, including Glover Park in the heart of Marietta Square.
“When there is a problem, individuals are informed of the code prohibition and they comply,” he said.
City Councilman Andy Morris, who chairs the committee, said there was unanimous support to move the proposal forward to consider by the entire elected body.
“To me it looks like it’s probably going to pass,” he added.
While he said he was in favor of the ban, Morris said the city council will have to figure out the enforcement factor if the new rules were implemented.
“It’s really hard to enforce it if you don’t have an officer around there,” he said.