ATLANTA (WSAV) – Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport has now banned smoking inside the terminal.
If you are caught smoking, you could face up to a $200 fine.
There are 15 designated smoking areas outside the terminal. It’s all part of an Atlanta city ordinance that bans smoking in public indoor places like bars, restaurants and hotel rooms.
New changes are on the way in 2020 as health advocates and lawmakers decide how to deal with the youth vaping epidemic.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) is investigating severe cases of lung disease among patients who recently used vaping products. The GDPH says 38 people have had vaping related illnesses including 5 deaths in Georgia. Doctors say vaping should not be a substitute for cigarettes and that it’s a misconception is a safer alternative to smoking.
“Vaping is as dangerous as smoking tobacco. It is not an excuse that you should switch from a tobacco product to a vape because both are equally dangerous,” explains Dr. Satishkumar Ganjam with North Atlanta Primary Care.
19 states already passed laws restricting tobacco sales to people who are 21 and older but many states in the south including Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina were not on that list.
Recently, the Trump administration signed a bill that increases the legal age to buy cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 across the country.
The CDC is investigating more than 2500 cases of vaping illnesses that have led to 55 deaths.
80-percent of sick patients are people under the age of 35.
“We have unprecedented rates of abuse of these products with our kids. Within the past year, we’ve seen increases of about 5 million of our youth using these products,” said Brian King with CDC.
Many patients reported using vaping products with THC, the chemical that gives you the high in marijuana.
The CDC says there’s no link that vaping causes cancer but adds more research needs to be done.
The CDC says the number of people getting ill and dying from e-cigarettes is decreasing. Besides nicotine and THC, researchers believe vitamin E Acetate likely played a role in the vaping related illnesses.
Georgians who use tobacco and want to quit smoking or vaping can reach the Georgia Tobacco Quit line at 1-877-270-stop (7867).