Starting today there will be no more smoking in parks located in DeKalb County. On Tuesday, the county commission approved a proposal to ban smoking at playgrounds, parks and public service lines like those for ATMs.

DeKalb County is home to 130 parks and encompasses about 6,000 acres of land. It boasts more than 100 tennis courts, 11 recreation centers, 158 fields dedicated to sports and outdoor activities and two public golf courses, according to DeKalb County Parks and Recreation.

Smoking in outdoor public parks is seemingly more of a health risk than smoking inside. Cigarette smoke is still welcomed at many establishments inside the county.

Last year, health officials argued over a ban that would forbid smoking in bars and night clubs, but it never got off the ground. So the county now has a ban on smoking outdoors, but not one on smoking indoors.

Research has shown that second-hand smoke causes many of the same problems as direct smoking, including lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma.

In 2009, a research program produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found “strong evidence supporting smoking bans and restrictions as effective public health interventions aimed at decreasing exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Members of the county commissioners said they may revisit the issue of banning smoking in bars and nightclubs in the future, but no immediate action is planned.

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