A new report finds that a growing number of bars and restaurants in Georgia allowing smoking has increased despite the passing of the state’s Smokefree Air Act in 2005.
Researchers found a significant number of restaurant and bar owners have taken advantage of exemptions in the laws to create smoking zones.
“The increase in smoking-allowed establishments may be attributed to the increase in the percentage of establishments permitting smoking in designated dining areas and the large percentage of establishments that permit smoking in outdoor areas,” the authors wrote.
Dr. Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health, was the senior author of the study, “Changes in Georgia Restaurant and Bar Smoking Policies From 2006 to 2012,” which was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy.
The researchers found the percentage of restaurants and bars in Georgia that allowed smoking nearly doubled, from 9.1 percent in 2006 to 17.6 percent in 2012. They also found “a significant increase in the percentage of establishments that allow smoking when minors are present,” most likely in designated smoking areas and outdoor patios.