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FOR RELEASE: March 3, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Public Opinion Poll Released Regarding Potential Legislation to Restrict Smoking in Restaurants and Other Workplaces

Most Oklahomans support some form of restriction on smoking in workplaces and public places, according to a statewide survey conducted last month by the College of Business Administration at Oklahoma State University.  

In a random telephone survey conducted to measure public attitudes related to second-hand tobacco smoke, 400 Oklahoma adults were asked a series of questions to gauge attitudes toward potential legislation. As expected, the attitudes are associated with current smoking status.  However, a significant number of smokers also favor restrictions.

The following is a summary of the results of the survey. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5%.  (Note: The phrase “in work places and public places” was interpreted by respondents to mean indoors.)  

Legislation that would prohibit smoking in work places and public places:

  • Is favored by 71.0% of all Oklahoma adults
  • Is favored by 83.3% of all current nonsmokers
  • Is favored by 30.9% of all current smokers

Legislation that would restrict smoking in the work place and other public places to separately ventilated areas:

  • Is favored by 78.5% of all Oklahoma adults
  • Is favored by 82.3% of all current nonsmokers
  • Is favored by 66.0% of current smokers

Legislation that would protect restaurant workers from second-hand smoke:

  • Is favored by 76.0% of all Oklahoma adults
  • Is favored by 83.3% of all current nonsmokers
  • Is favored by 53.2% of all current smokers

Nonsmokers perceive second-hand smoke as constituting a greater health threat than do smokers.  The belief that second-hand smoke can cause serious health problems:

  • Is shared by 72.0% of all Oklahoma adults
  • Is shared by 81.4% of all current nonsmokers
  • Is shared by 41.5% of all smokers

The proportion who agree that when people smoke it presents a health risk to waiters and waitresses is:

  • 79.5% of all Oklahoma adults
  • 88.2% of all current nonsmokers
  • 51.1% of all current smokers

People were also asked about the type of smoking restrictions they would like to experience when being in certain places. The questions were framed in terms of “what they would prefer” and no explicit reference to legislation was made in the question. A respondent was forced to select the restriction he or she most preferred. Responses strongly differed by both type of place and the person’s current smoking status.  

Findings of particular interest include:

  1. There is strong support for some type of restriction in restaurants and “other businesses including retail stores”.
  2. People are more supportive of restrictions in restaurants than they are of restrictions in bars and taverns.
  3. Smokers are more supportive of restrictions in “other businesses including retail stores” than they are of restrictions in restaurants or bars/taverns.
  4. Limiting smoking to a designated area that is not separately ventilated is preferred by almost no one.
  5. Many viewed the “bar and tavern” question as not relevant to their lives.  This is probably because they do not patronize bars and taverns.
  6. There is strong support for some type of restriction on smoking in their workplace. A small percentage of the population viewed the workplace question as not relevant to their lives.
  7. People were asked how a restaurant’s smoking policy would influence their likelihood of going to that restaurant.  Nonsmokers clearly prefer smoke free.  Smokers are split.

The tables below give the proportion preferring a specific option (numbers do not add to 100 because only the most popular options are reported).

Restaurants
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
Not allow smoking inside 54.0% 65.2% 18.0%
Limit to separately ventilated area 31.5% 25.6% 50.0%
No restriction 7.8% 4.6% 18.1%
       
Tavern or Bar      
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
Not allow smoking inside 29.8% 35.4% 11.7%
Limit to separately ventilated area 15.3% 14.8% 16.0%
No restriction 21.3% 12.1% 51.1%
Not applicable 31.3% 35.4% 18.1%
       
Other Businesses including Retail Stores
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
Not allow smoking inside 77.0% 83.6% 55.4%
Limit to separately ventilated area 11.5% 8.2% 22.3%
No restriction 6.5% 4.9% 11.7%
       
At Work
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
Not allow smoking inside 65.3% 72.8% 40.4%
Limit to separately ventilated area 15.3% 10.2% 31.9$
No restriction 6.5% 4.3% 13.8%
Not applicable 10.3$ 11.5% 6.4%
       
Likelihood of Patronizing Restaurant by Smoking Policy
Smoke Free      
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
More likely 71.8% 83.9% 31.9%
Same 17.0% 11.8% 34.0%
Less likely 10.3% 3.9% 30.8%
       
All Smoking      
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
More likely 10.3% 3.3% 33.0%
Same 15.5% 10.5% 31.9%
Less likely 72.8% 85.3% 32.0%
       
Smoking in Designated Areas without Separate Ventilation
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
More likely 20.3% 13.8% 41.5%
Same 19.0% 14.4% 34.0%
Less likely 58.8% 69.8% 22.4%
       
Finally, respondents were asked about the restrictions they have in their home.
  State Nonsmokers Smokers
Do not allow any smoking inside 76.0% 84.9% 46.8%
Limit to designated areas inside 4.3% 2.3% 10.6%
No restriction 18.0% 10.8% 41.5%

 

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