Smoke-free (A)ction. (T)eamwork. (L)eadership.
This is an exciting time to be in Atlanta. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s One Atlanta initiative includes a focus on reducing health disparities and making ATL a safe and welcoming city. The city council made a significant step in that direction by introducing a comprehensive ordinance that will protect more Atlantans from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure, including bartenders and musicians.
It’s been more than a decade since the Georgia Smoke-free Air Act was passed and only provided limited protections. Countless residents and tourists remain unprotected from the more than 7,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke—nearly 70 of which are known to cause cancer. It is an established fact that Atlanta is one of the premier cities for business, arts, and tourism in the country. However, we are one of the last remaining major cities that has not passed an ordinance that protects our citizens from secondhand smoke.
Atlanta’s service and hospitality industry employs nearly 100,000 people, and workers in this industry breathe more secondhand smoke than any other type of employee. This prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to some of the same health consequences as smokers, including increased risk for heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. It’s also important to note that hospitality industry workers across the country experience poverty at nearly three times the rateof workers overall. These Atlantans are often not afforded health insurance coverage through their employer, further heightening the health risks and severity of health care costs caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. So, our focus on “world-class employees … and services” and “thriving neighborhoods, communities, and businesses” should definitely include doing everything we possibly can to protect and preserve the health of every single person in Atlanta.
This ordinance would do just that—protect the citizens of Atlanta—especially those most at risk of secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace. The city council will be discussing and voting on this measure in the coming weeks, and we need your voice and your support to show council members that this is an issue that affects all Atlantans.
We believe everyone who lives, works, and plays in our city deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air. We believe no one in Atlanta should ever have to choose between their health and a paycheck. Are you with us?