DECATUR, GA–The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners amended its Clean Indoor Air ordinance. This change will protect people from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke by now prohibiting smoking in all public places, outdoor recreational and common areas and places of employment in unincorporated DeKalb County.
District Health Director S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., was at the meeting when the amendment was passed.
“We are extremely pleased by the actions taken by the Board of Commissioners to add this layer of protection. Smoking and secondhand smoke cause serious illness and even death, and costs our Georgia health care system millions of dollars annually. This is definitely a win for improving future health outcomes for our citizens especially our youth,” said Dr. Ford.
“Anyone who works, lives or uses our parks and recreation areas will benefit from this added protection,” said Presiding Board Chair Larry Johnson. Mr. Johnson adds that secondhand smoke, especially smoke that reaches children and adults on public playgrounds can sometimes trigger asthma problems as well as expose non-smokers to deadly toxins.
According to the DeKalb County Board of Health’s 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey tobacco use among DeKalb County youth is a problem. 8.3% of DeKalb’s high school students begin smoking before age 13 and 3.9% smoke 10 cigarettes per day. Fifty-six percent of youth have tried to quit smoking during the last 12 months. Cigarette smoking is highest among white youth while cigar smoking is highest among Hispanic youth. Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke can result in increased risk for illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, asthma attacks and ear and respiratory infections for younger children.
Dr. Ford also thanked the hundreds of community partners and an initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called Communities Putting Prevention to Work for helping to educate businesses and community groups about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the importance of creating smoke-free environments at home, in vehicles and in public places.
To learn more about the amended DeKalb County Clean Indoor Air Ordinance visit: www.municode.com. Follow the prompts to DeKalb County ordinances and go to section 16.
For additional information about the DeKalb County Board of Health’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work projects, visit: www.dekalbhealth.net.