Canton city leaders pass ordinance for smoke-free city - CBS46 News

Canton city leaders pass ordinance for smoke-free city

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CANTON, GA (CBS46) -

The City of Canton is cracking down on people looking to light up on public property.

A newly amended city ordinance, passed by the city council, makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes in on any city property, sidewalk or street.

“I think the ban was a very good thing to do,” said resident Antoinette Thomas.

Canton has been just one of several metro Atlanta cities, such as Marietta, Roswell, Decatur, Alpharetta, Smyrna and Duluth, who passed smoking bans for public places and parks within city limits.

The Canton ordinance, however, is much more strict. It bans smoking not only in city parks, playgrounds, and buildings, but also public sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. The first violation could mean a warning from the Canton Police Department, while the second violation carries is a $50 fine. The third and any subsequent violations within a year will carry a $250 fine.

The change is already a controversial talker around town.

“My problem is that people ought to have personal freedom,” said Canton business owner Daran Burns. “There is nothing illegal about a cigarette. I don’t see why anybody can’t come out here in a sidewalk. Who are they bothering? I think these people they feel like second-class citizens, third-class citizens because they’re smoking cigarettes and it bothers me.”

“I think it's great for people who are not smokers because then you're not having to walk through clouds of smoke, especially with people doing the e-cigarettes and the vape smoke,” said Mike Bruce. “It's just getting to be a bit of an annoyance…Hopefully they can just find some designated areas.”

Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood told CBS46 that the previous ordinance required smokers to stand at least 15 ft. from the front of a public property, but the rule became less effective as more adjoining businesses came to be.

“We’ve had complaints for years about smoking on sidewalks and so forth, and cigarette butts all over the sidewalk said Hobgood.

Hobgood says despite the pushback, he doesn’t think the ordinance will impact tourism or business in the city.

“Some people say I'm not coming back downtown to events and so forth if you can't smoke, but we think that it very well may attract a lot of people who don't want to be around smoking,” Hobgood said. “The council was pretty committed do doing what’s considered to be in the best interest of the health of our citizens.”

The ordinance only applies to public property in the City of Canton.

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