Originally published Nov. 14, 2011
According to the World Health Organization, over 600,000 individuals worldwide die each year from secondhand smoke, or one in every 100 people. Over 10,000 Georgians die annually from tobacco related illnesses – one out of every six adult deaths in the state.
As the dangers of secondhand smoke become more recognized, many municipal governments are enacting regulations that prohibit smoking in public spaces.
The Fulton County Department of Health Services, Division of Health Promotion hosted a summit entitled “Coalition Building: The Ultimate Approach to a Smoke Free Community” on October 18 at the College Park Regional Health Center in College Park, Ga. The summit was a first step towards creating the Smoke Free Coalition of Fulton County, which will work to raise awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke and advance policies that ban smoking in all public spaces.
“Smoking is the number one preventable cause of premature mortality in Fulton County and the United States,” according to Dr. Matthew McKenna, Medical Director for the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness. “Smoke free policies are one of the most effective ways of protecting people from secondhand smoke, and helping people who want to quit.”
The summit featured a panel of speakers who had successfully implemented smoke free policies in their communities. The speakers were Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director of the Austin/Travis County Health & Wellness Department; Sheelah Feinberg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition for a Smoke Free City; and Amy Hughes, Chairperson of Smoke Free Savannah. Dr. McKenna also served on the panel.
For more information about the Smoke Free Coalition of Fulton County, please contact Nazeera Dawood at (404) 730-1685.