Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Michael Eriksen, Sc.D.

Second Advisor

Carrie Whitney, MPH

Abstract

Introduction: The purpose of this study is to examine the change in smoking policy status among bars and restaurants since the Georgia Smokefree Air Act of 2005 was implemented and identify restaurant and bar characteristics that are associated with allowing smoking.

Methods: Data was obtained from similar Georgia indoor air surveys conducted in 2006 and 2012. Both surveys were designed to gather information about restaurant and bar smoking policies and examine owner and manager perceptions of the Georgia Smokefree Air Act. Descriptive analysis and paired sample t-tests were performed to identify changes in smoking policy status and other variables over time. Chi-square and logistic regression analysis were used to test for significant associations between establishment smoking policy status and other characteristics.

Results: The percent of restaurants and bars in Georgia allowing smoking nearly doubled from 9.2% in 2006 to 18.2% in 2012. The analysis showed a statistically significant increase in the percentage of establishments allowing smoking when minors are present. After adjusting for the effects of other variables, three variables were significant predictors of allowing smoking: having seats for drinking outdoors, having a liquor license, and generating greater than or equal to 25% of gross sales from alcohol.

Conclusions: The Smokefree Air Act was enacted to protect the health and welfare of Georgia citizens, but the percentage of establishments allowing smoking has risen since it was implemented. These results suggest that policy makers should reevaluate the law and consider strengthening it to make restaurants and bars 100% smokefree without exemptions.

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