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Norcross residents react to smoking ban at city parks

Reader poll

What do you think of the decision to ban smoking at Norcross parks?

  • About time 35%
  • It's good, but I'm not bothered by smoking in parks 5%
  • It shouldn't be government's decision 60%

146 total votes.

NORCROSS -- Norcross' newest ordinance surely has some smokers fuming, but ask Cheryl Soderholm, and it's fantastic news.

"I think it's awesome," she said Tuesday just outside the city's farmers market.

What's awesome, at least to Soderholm and a few other residents asked Tuesday, is the fact that Norcross' City Council voted Monday evening to make the city Gwinnett's second community to ban smoking and all other forms of tobacco from local parks.

With a 3-1 vote, the council made the move technically banning tobacco from all city property, including parks and sidewalks.

Soderholm said she hadn't had any problems with inconsiderate smokers in the past, but lauded the effort.

"We all know that smoking isn't good for you ... and I have people that I want to take care of other than myself," she said, motioning to a child she was pushing in a stroller. "I think it's really great."

Councilman Ross Kaul sponsored the action, citing the dangers of second-hand smoke and the city's responsibility to its residents to provide a safe and healthy environment.

Councilman David McLeroy did not support the "Tobacco Free Facilities" ordinance. He said he does not have a problem with people smoking in city parks and that he does not like to see city money spent on attorney fees for such actions.

Norcross joins Duluth as Gwinnett's only cities to ban tobacco use in their parks. Duluth passed a similar measure in March. At the time, Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter -- a smoker herself -- said the action was unnecessary.

"Government always likes to tell us what we can and cannot do, and I don't think we have the right to give or take away someone's personal business if what they're doing is legal," she said.

One Norcross resident asked Tuesday agreed with Lasseter, saying "it's a free world." A frequent visitor to the city, though, said she loved it.

"We don't like smoking in general," said Marietta resident Cindy Johnson, who visits the city frequently to see family. "I'm a nurse, so I've seen what it can do."

City Manager Rudolph Smith told the Daily Post that enforcement procedures and fines have not yet been established for those cited for smoking in prohibited areas.

Staff correspondent Carole Townsend contributed to this article.

Comments

Mack711 1 year, 11 months ago

Set a designated smoking area in an outside park and tell everyone where it is. If you are a non smoker, like so many of us are, then you know where not to go.This sounds like it is 'my way or the highway' atitude. As for inside a building then no smoking should be permitted. Remeber that a lawnmower also polutes the air more than cigarette smoke. Are you going to ban them next?

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jbanks2 1 year, 11 months ago

Rather ignorant of Norcross to ban smoking when they provide BBQ pits and an open air fireplace in Thrasher Park... Real mental midgets on the city council we have here in Norcross...

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