While 61% of Americans enjoy comprehensive smokefree protections in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars, only 9.1% of Georgians are protected by this type of smokefree law. Now, more than ever, smokefree protections are essential to increasing health equity by reducing exposure to the hazards of secondhand smoke – a risk factor for underlying health conditions like diminished lung function, weakened immune system, and associated risk of respiratory illness.
While the Georgia Smokefree Air Act of 2005 has has left the states' most vulnerable populations exposed to secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places, we have seen local smokefree progress in major municipalities including Savannah, Augusta, and most recently Atlanta.
Smokefree Ordinance in Effect
2021 rings in the one-year anniversary of a smokefree Atlanta. The ordinance guarantees smokefree protections for residents, visitors, and ensures that nearly 100,000 hospitality workers from the metro area are now able to work in a healthy, smokefree environment. In the wake of this victory, municipalities surrounding Atlanta are moving towards similar protections.
Smokefree Ripple Effect
TRENDS IN CITIES
In November of 2020, the City of Doraville passed a smokefree ordinance to close the gaps in workplace protections allowed by the state law. The ordinance, championed by City Council Member Stephe Koontz with strong support from Mayor Geierman, passed with unanimous support and went into effect immediately. In addition to making all indoor public places smokefree, the ordinance also prohibits smoking on balconies in apartments and multi-unit housing. ANR Foundation is working with campaign partners American Heart Association and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) to support implementation efforts.
In January 2021, the City of South Fulton passed a smokefree ordinance to prohibit smoking in all of the city’s workplaces, restaurants, and bars. As the state’s 5th largest municipality, the new ordinance will bring smokefree protections to nearly 100,000 Georgians.
TRENDS IN COUNTIES
Public health partners and local stakeholders are discussing opportunities to strengthen smokefree protections in Gwinnett County. As the state’s 2nd most populous county, a comprehensive smokefree ordinance would protect nearly 1 million residents. Stay tuned for updates as this campaign rolls out, including community forums and action alerts.
Public health advocates in Fayette County are exploring opportunities for strengthening smokefree protections in the county. Peachtree City, the largest municipality in the county, has a weak smokefree ordinance that exempts, among other things, bars, hotels, and workplaces.