It’s been seven years since the mayor and aldermen of Savannah voted to expand the Georgia Smoke-free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in all public places and workplaces.
Now, researchers from Georgia State University reveal that ordinance has been helping reduce risks for everyone, especially children.
The findings were presented at the Coastal Health District today.
Before the change in 2011, researchers measured indoor air quality, finding it “very unhealthy.” Since then, indoor air pollution has decreased by 93 percent.
Hospital visits for smoke-related issues — like heart or respiratory diseases — also decreased.
And doctors say children have benefited the most.
“Savannah is leading the way for the Southeast and is now joined the elite group of the tourist sites of the world for being comprehensively smoke-free. New Orleans has changed and found that business is helped by smoke-free policies,” said Dr. Terry Pechacek a Professor of Health Management and Policy at Georgia State University.
In fact, researchers say businesses are seeing more nonsmokers visiting more often and for longer periods of time.