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Friday, February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

Smoke Ban Clears Savannah Air

A study released this week shows, air pollution in Savannah bars and restaurants is way down following last year's smoking ban.

The study by a New York based lab tested air quality at 11 Savannah businesses before and after officials banned indoor public smoking.

It found indoor air pollution has decreased 94%.

The Chatham County Health Department's Christine Gibson says, a survey of bar staff and owners found overwhelmingly positive results.

"I'm hearing more that they're comfortable bringing some of their family members that are sensitive to smoke into their establishments," Gibson says. "And I do know a DJ that is actually at one of our night clubs here and he says he doesn't cough up black junk anymore.""

Some bars complained about losing customers after the ban went into effect last year in January.

But many employees report feeling much better at the end of the day.

"Overwhelmingly in the downtown area, there was very positive feedback," Gibson says. "They really enjoyed the better air and they said that their patrons did as well."

City officials, however, acknowledge some bars in other parts of the city lost business after the ban.

But overall, Savannah made more in drink taxes last year.

City revenue on both mixed drinks and alcohol distribution to bars and restaurants increased about 4%.