Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Sheryl Strasser, PhD

Second Advisor

Megan Smith, MPH

Abstract

Introduction: Despite the known consequences of cigarette smoking, almost 20% of adults in the United States smoke. Smoking has been shown to harm nearly every organ of the body. Its detrimental effects have been seen not only in smokers themselves but also in those exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) at work and in other public places.

Methodology: The purpose of this thesis was to examine compliance with the signage requirement of the Georgia Smokefree Air Act (GSAA) of 2005 among 99 hospitality venues located in Atlanta. Photographs of bars and restaurant entrances were taken and raters then classified each venue as compliant or non-compliant with smoking status signage requirements of the GSAA. Additionally, air samples were collected using Sidepak equipment from 59 venues in order to estimate the PM2.5 levels, which is a recognized measure of air quality. With Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient (r), analyses were run to determine correlations between signage compliance, number of cigarettes being smoked, and smoking permitted with air quality (PM2.5). Analyses were conducted using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.

Results: Of the 99 venues assessed, only 21 (21.2 %) complied with the signage requirements of the GSAA. Venues that do adhere to signage requirements and indicate no smoking on their signs and at the same time via telephone stated that smoking is prohibited had the lowest PM2.5 levels =15.03. On the contrary, those venues that display signs permitting smoking and via telephone indicated smoking is allowed had the highest PM2.5 levels =230.31. It was determined that there is a strong positive correlation between PM2.5 and “number of cigarettes” (r=.611, n=59, p<.001) as well as moderate correlation between PM2.5 and “smoking permitted” as indicated from phone calls (r=.464, n=59, p<.001). However, analysis showed a weak correlation between PM2.5 and “signage compliance” in accordance with GSAA (r=.107, n=59, p>.001).

Conclusions: Enforcement of GSAA must be enhanced in order to better protect workers and patrons of Atlanta’s bars and restaurants from harmful exposure to SHS. Findings from this study support that prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants and having signs stating that smoking is prohibited would improve air quality and protect workers by eliminating their exposure to SHS while working.

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