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Atlanta introduces smoking and vaping ban

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed legislation banning smoking and vaping in enclosed public areas, including bars, restaurants, hotels, stores, public restrooms, parking structures, public transit vehicles and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The ordinance includes a definition of smoking that includes e-cigarettes and vaping, so all forms of smoking will be banned starting January 2, 2020.

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Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International was one of the few major United States airports that still allowed smoking in designated rooms. Spokesman for the airport, Andrew Gobeil, told The Associated Press the smoking rooms will be repurposed. Smokers with a layover in the airport will need to exit through security to access an outdoor terminal smoking area. Afterward, they will need to go back through security to re-enter.

Councilman Matt Westmoreland played a role in writing the legislation. He said, “Secondhand smoke is lethal. We believe everybody should have the right to breathe smoke-free air.” Exceptions to the ban include private homes and vehicles, tobacco and vape stores, cigar bars and private clubs that prohibit minors and generate 20% of their annual gross revenue from tobacco product sales.

Smoking rots your body from the inside out — quite literally. In addition to causing heart disease and cancer, smoking can damage your bones, eyes, teeth, fertility, brain and more. E-cigarettes, marketed as a “safer alternative to smoking” are anything but. They contain dangerous chemicals and toxic heavy metals associated with cancers, heart disease and stroke, among other serious health conditions.

While secondhand smoke may be easier to see, smell and taste when inhaled by bystanders, the toxins from e-cigarettes are also easily inhaled, sans the offensive odor. Despite delivering lower levels of nicotine, people exposed to e-cigarette air pollution have similar levels of nicotine in their system as those exposed to traditional secondhand cigarette smoke. Other toxins detected in e-cigarette vapors include diacetyl, formaldehyde, diethylene glycol, tobacco-specific nitrosamine and highly reactive free radicals.

The dangers of smoking and vaping are clear. It’s not a stretch or an exaggeration to say that you’re risking your life with each puff. If you’re struggling to quit, these tips may be able to help.

 
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