- Pamela Miller For the AJC
The Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health Program launched the Proud To Be Smoke Free Fulton Campaign in 2016 as part of its Tobacco-Free Living Program to discourage tobacco use, reduce secondhand smoke exposure and give residents clean air in which to pursue healthy lifestyles.
A major part of that goal is helping to establish no-smoking policies in 46 bars and restaurants, 36 parks and recreation areas, and 15 apartment complexes. The message was spread via a video, “Tobacco-Free Living: Supporting the Right to Breathe Clean Air,” posted on YouTube at bit.ly/PTBSFFvideo .
PICH funded studies by Georgia State University School of Public Health that documented the poor air quality in venues where smoking is allowed (pollution levels are 10 times higher), and the overwhelming public support for smoke-free bars and restaurants (87 percent of county residents support them and 79 percent believe owners have a responsibility to provide clean air).
PICH and GSUPH trained community groups, including the Health Promotion Action Coalition and volunteers from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, to discuss the findings with residents and business owners. They also shared information on the financial and health risks related to smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
Both the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the East Point Mayor and City Council considered the research and health data in unanimously adopting no-smoking ordinances in their parks and recreation areas. Additionally, PICH is helping apartment complex owners institute no-smoking policies in thousands of units.
The Proud To Be Smoke Free Fulton Campaign will now take its place alongside the Creative Physical Education instruction in Atlanta and Fulton County Schools; the Interfaith Active Living Initiative; and the Early Care and Education wellness protocol development training