ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- On Monday night, the Atlanta City Council passed a Smokefree Air Atlanta ordinance to ban smoking and vaping in city buildings, restaurants, bars, and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
One of the goals is to protect service workers from secondhand smoke. The American Lung Society has always supported the move.
“People, I think, didn't realize how much service employees are impacted by secondhand smoke repeatedly,” said June Deen, executive director of the American Lung Association for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Some restaurants in Atlanta have already banned smoking on the inside. Vortex restaurant and bar began enforcing an indoor smoking ban this year.
But other restaurants such as Hal’s Steakhouse in Buckhead, Johnny’s Hideaway in Buckhead, and 11th Street Pub in Midtown still allow indoor smoking.
One customer at Johnny’s told CBS46 that he used to smoke and currently works in a bar that allows indoor smoking.
“My employees smoke, and I've got some that don't smoke," said the customer who did not want to be identified. “I've got bartenders that work where there is smoke and it doesn't seem to bother them,” the customer said. He says the restrictions will be unfair to some restaurants that don’t already have patios or decks to move customers who smoke.
“I think if you don't smoke and it bothers you then you don't need to go in there. There's thousands of restaurants and bars in Atlanta,” the man told CBS46.
The owner of Johnny’s Hideaway told CBS46 that he is not happy about the ordinance but will look at having a small designated smoking section outside the front of the restaurant.
“From a general standpoint, I think that having a smoking ban at least to some extent would be a good thing,” said Daniel Miller who supports the ban.
Atlanta joins several other major cities who’ve already enacted similar ordinances including New York City, Washington, D.C. Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas.
A spokesperson for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said in a statement:
“As a department within the City of Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International will fully comply with the recently passed city ordinance. The current indoor smoking rooms, located on the concourses, will be converted to other spaces. Exterior smoking locations will remain at both the Domestic and International Terminals.”
The ordinance is set to take effect in January.