New Poll Finds That Atlantans Support Strong Smoke-Free Laws

Georgia PIRG Education Funda

ATLANTA- A new poll, released today by Georgia PIRG Education Fund and the Smoke-Free Atlanta Coalition, shows that 65 percent of Atlanta voters favor legislation that prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, including workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

“Atlantans can travel to cities such as New York City, Washington DC, or Houston, TX to experience 100 percent smoke free workplaces, restaurants, and freestanding bars,” said Jenna Sasanfar, program associate with Georgia PIRG.  “Atlantans want these same spaces smoke-free here too.”

The poll also suggests that an overwhelming majority of Atlantans (95 percent) consider secondhand smoke to be at least a minor health hazard. Additionally, it found that thirty-four percent of Atlanta voters would view city officials or candidates for city office more favorably if they were to support a supported a city ordinance.

“Secondhand smoke is a serious community health issue for the people of Atlanta, and many would respond positively to city officials taking steps to make Smoke-Free Atlanta a reality,” said Sasanfar.

The state of Georgia passed a law in 2005 that regulates smoking, but the state law contains loopholes that still allow smoking in bars and restaurants, outdoor areas of employment, and long-term care facilities. As a result of these loopholes Georgia’s tobacco control law is much weaker than other smoke-free policies throughout the country.

The debate about smoking and public health is likely to intensify here in Atlanta, as Atlanta Councilman Maddox has called for a task force to look into a stronger smoke-free policy for the city.

“We applaud Councilman Maddox for his continued support of smoke-free workplace policies and his current effort to create a smoke-free task force to separate the fact from the fiction of tobacco control policy,” said Sasanfar. “Comprehensive smoke-free policies are good for health, good for workers, and good for business.”

The poll, completed in January and February of this year, was conducted by The Schapiro Group, and was conducted of 600 registered voters in Atlanta.