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Jonesboro extinguishes smoking on city property

— The Jonesboro City Council just said “no” to smoking Monday.

Council members voted 5-1 to enact a ban on smoking on properties such parks, city hall and the police department headquarters building. Councilman Wallace Norrington cast the dissenting vote.

The ban is aimed at limited non-smokers’ exposure to second-hand smoke while they are on city properties. About 3,400 adult non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke die annually from lung cancer, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For that reason, Mayor Joy Day said the ban would not prohibit residents from chewing tobacco.

“I don’t think I can get anything second-hand from someone else chewing tobacco — unless they spit it in my face,” said Day.

Jonesboro is the latest government body, agency or institution to enact a smoking ban. The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights website, no-smoke.org, maintains a list of 1,050 municipalities in the United States which have enacted laws to become “100 percent smoke-free.”

While the list does not specify which cities have banned smoking on government property, it does show which municipalities have at least banned it in bars and restaurants.

Among the cities on the list is Jonesboro’s neighbor, Morrow. Other Georgia cities on the list include Athens, Cordele, Decatur, Douglas, Douglasville, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Loganville, Madison, Peachtree City, Savannah, Snellville, Tifton and Valdosta.

The issue of infringement upon a smoker’s personal liberties was weighed, but Councilman Clarence Mann said the ban would not stop someone from smoking if they felt an absolute need to do so. They would have options to take care of any nicotine cravings, he said.

“If you’re on city property, just step off city property and you can smoke all you want,” said Mann.