Parks smoking ban also means no puffing at Music Midtown

Scofflaws could risk six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine


  • Joeff Davis
  • “I think you should certainly have the right to smoke outside,” said Donald Walker, who is training for a marathon and often runs in Piedmont Park.”If the ban does not violate individual rights, it comes very close.”

Next weekend if you attend Music Midtown and smoke ANYTHING, you could risk six months in jail and be forced to pay up to a $1,000 fine if you violate a new city ordinance that bans smoking, including, “inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco.” The ban covers all 250 acres of Piedmont Park in addition to all of the city’s “outdoor parks and recreational facilities.” The ban even extends to all hiking, walking trails, and city-owned golf courses. And since the entire two-day, 20-band Music Midtown takes place in Piedmont Park, music festival organizers and city officials say, there will be no smoking allowed at the outdoor festival, which could draw as many as 60,000 people.

The ordinance (PDF), which was sponsored by Atlanta City Councilmembers Alex Wan and Joyce Sheperd, was approved by the Atlanta City Council this summer in an 11-1 vote (the only nay vote was cast by Councilman Howard Shook, who represents parts of Buckhead). According to the New York Times, Atlanta is now the largest city in the South to ban smoking in public parks. Among the others: New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

So if you’re going to Music Midtown, remember to leave the smokes at home along with other banned items such as weapons, chairs, and “metal aerosol cans.”