Twenty-five states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,000 municipalities across America are already smoke-free. And these communities are being rewarded for taking action — comprehensive smoke-free policies have been shown to not only reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, but also lead to less smoking among covered populations and prevent youth and young adults from starting to smoke. Passing a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in Atlanta would not only save lives and reduce health care costs, but also help to prevent young Atlantans from ever starting a lifelong addiction to tobacco.
Every person deserves the chance to breathe clean, smoke-free air—and that’s why we’re calling on the City Council to pass Councilmember Westmoreland’s smoke-free ordinance. It’s time for Atlanta’s leaders to take this step to improve our public health and protect the city’s workers, families and visitors from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.
Louis Wade Sullivan is a former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Vivek Murthy and David Satcher are former U.S. Surgeon Generals.