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Marietta workers weigh in on proposed smoking ban

Outdoor seating areas at downtown restaurants could soon be smoke-free zones, if the Marietta City Council adopts a proposed smoking ban.

EAST COBB, Ga. — Marietta could soon become the second city in Cobb County to ban smoking in downtown. Smyrna did this late last year. Now, the Marietta City Council is considering similar changes. Two ordinances are being discussed. One would ban smoking and vaping on sidewalks, streets, and back alleys through downtown. The other would ban the use of tobacco products in all the outdoor seating areas connected to local restaurants.

“I think it's actually a great idea,” Jon York, a bartender and server at The Butcher The Baker, said. “On a nice day, you have the door open, and the smell comes in and kind of ruins everything for everybody. I used to be a smoker, and I still find it kind of disgusting when I smell it.”

The Butcher The Baker is one of the restaurants on the Marietta square that offers outdoor seating and is oftentimes used by smokers. However, York said he thinks a ban on smoking will not have a negative impact on business. In fact, he thinks it will boost business.

“You get that one person who sits there and smokes, and if someone is a non-smoker, they're walking by and moving on, because they don't want to sit next to them,” York said.

Right next door is WR SOCIAL HOUSE which also offers outdoor seating with a view of the square. The owner, Carisa Migliore, agrees with York.

“When people do try to smoke here, we ask them to go down where there's no tables and there's no restaurants, because it actually lingers into the restaurant, and then we get customers complaining,” she said. “Usually they're nice about it, but we actually already take precautions to make sure they don't smoke out here, and we definitely don't allow it inside.”

Just up the street, you’ll find Sugar Cakes Patisserie & Bistro, a French restaurant with sidewalk seating out front. One of the servers, Michael Garcia, is a former smoker who now uses a vape pen. He said he has no problem with the ban on smoking and vaping, even though he’ll have to find somewhere else to get his nicotine fix.

“If I see a bunch of people, I definitely won't smoke,” Garcia said. “It is really rude to smoke when people are eating, or smoke when people have kids because you don't know what anybody else can be affected by.”

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