Breathe Easy is a public health initiative of Cobb2020 that seeks to educate the community and raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke.
GOAL: To protect residents from exposure to secondhand smoke
While the Georgia Smoke Free Air Act of 2005 prohibits smoking in most public areas, there are exceptions that still allow for the exposure to secondhand smoke. The Air Act does, however, grant local authorities to pass more restrictive laws, rules and regulations. This means that Cobb County has the potential and the responsibility to go completely smoke-free.
Our mission is to provide support and education for cities and businesses in Cobb to become smoke-free so that we can build healthier, more productive communities. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Georgia. Each year, 1,500 adult nonsmoking Georgians die from secondhand smoke.1
The only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites and public places.
Secondhand Smoke – Did You Know?
- The Surgeon General Reports: Most secondhand smoke exposure to adults occurs in public or the workplace.2 The number of restaurants and bars in Georgia allowing smoking nearly doubled from 2006 to 2012.3
- There is NO safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.4
- There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, hundreds of which are toxic and more than 70 are known to cause cancer.5
- Smoke-free policies do NOT have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.6
Learn more in this report from the CDC.
- Smoke-free policies in restaurants and bars can reduce air pollution by 91%.7
- Secondhand smoke CANNOT be fully controlled by air cleaning or mechanical air exchange.8
- The most effective way to protect against the harmful effects of secondhand smoke is to be smoke-free.9
The Next Step: Ending Exposure to Secondhand Smoke in Cobb County
In an effort to make Cobb County smoke-free, Breathe Easy worked with the city of Kennesaw to successfully remove smoking areas from cemeteries and city parks in 2014, effectively making Kennesaw’s 130 acres of public parks smoke-free. The coalition is currently leading an education campaign on secondhand smoke in partnership with the City of Marietta. The purpose of the campaign is to bring awareness to the fact that no amount of secondhand smoke is safe.
Comprehensive smoke-free laws eliminate indoor smoking of all tobacco products. The Georgia counties that have this protection rank in the top 10 for overall health, yet they only make up 2.4% of Georgia.10 This means large portions of the population are still being exposed, including areas within Cobb County.
Studies and Tests in Marietta
With the help of its partners, Cobb2020’s Breathe Easy has conducted three recent studies in the city of Marietta:
Focus groups and key interviews taken at five different locations to understand perceptions of support for smoke-free policies.
Surveys taken at a community event by 309 individuals who reside in Marietta to investigate where individuals were exposed to secondhand smoke, the areas where they agreed smoking should or should not be allowed, and perspectives on how harmful secondhand smoke is.
Indoor air quality monitoring study to determine the difference in air quality between indoor smoking and non-smoking environments, where 16 locations (both smoking and smoke-free) were tested.
Get Engaged with the Movement
- If you own or operate a business, declare it smoke-free! We will even provide you with free signage to tell your customers that your establishment is safe from secondhand smoke exposure.
- Have you been affected by exposure to secondhand smoke? Send us your story or a testimonial and we will be glad to share it on our website (see below).
- Get support to help you quit smoking (see below).
- To report a smoking complaint please call Cobb & Douglas Public Health at 770-432-7937
“I decided to go smoke-free in 2014, and honestly, going smoke-free saved my business. I initially thought going smoke-free would keep some customers away, but that did not happen. I put up a no smoking sign on the door in the front. Now the place is more family friendly and open to more people.”
Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth
- E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the United States.
- Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. Even breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks.
- Scientists are still learning more about how e-cigarettes affect health. However, there is already enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent e-cigarette use by young people.
Need Help to Quit Smoking?
Georgia Tobacco Quit Line
English: 1-877-270-STOP (877-270-7867)
Spanish: 1-877-2NO FUME (877-266-3863)
Hearing Impaired: 1-877-777-6534
Improve your chances of quitting by 50%. This free and confidential 24-hour service provides counseling, a resource library, replacement therapy, and support and referral services for tobacco users ages 13 and older. Callers have the opportunity to speak with health care professionals who develop a unique plan for each individual. View the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line Brochure.
Breathe Easy Partners
- Georgia Department of Public Health. (2014). The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke. Georgia Gov. Retrieved from https://dph.georgia.gov/dangers-secondhand-smoke
- Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC. (2009). State Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5844a3.htm
- Chandora, Whitney, Weaver, Eriksen. Changes in Georgia Restaurant and Bar Smoking Policies From 2006 to 2012. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.140520
- Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC. (2016). Smokefree Policies Improve Air Quality in Hospitality Settings. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/protection/air_quality/
- American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. (2010). Environmental Tobacco Smoke.Retrieved from https://www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/docLib/About%20Us/PositionDocuments/ASHRAE_PD_Environmental_Tobacco_Smoke_2016.pdf
- Coughlin, Anderson, Smith. (2015). Legislative smoking bans for reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and smoking prevalence: Opportunities for Georgians. Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association Retrieved from https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/109a7b_4d3488d975f34d468e7018ade1361f5d.pdf
- Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Southeastern states not protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0623-smoke-free-laws.html