Public favors smoking restrictions

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This document gives advocates a rare look at how effective public health campaigns are in the relative absence of large-scale efforts by the tobacco industry to fight such campaigns. The mid-1970's were somewhat of a "magic moment." The efforts of voluntary health organizations, the government and Groups to Alleviate Smoking Pollution (or GASPS) to educate people about the dangers of tobacco had proven effective, but the tobacco industry did not yet have a highly-financed and well-orchestrated response to these efforts. During this time, the Tobacco Institute (TI) commissioned the Roper and Chilton organizations to poll people to get a sense of the public's attitude towards smoking restrictions. The Institute's polls revealed that people (including smokers) favored restrictions on public smoking--by a wide margin. The polls further revealed that the number of people favoring such restrictions was growing steadily.

Key quotes

Background - 1972-1977 Over the past 5 years, the extensive "educational" campaigns to "protect the rights of nonsmokers" and make smoking "socially unacceptable" conducted by the American Cancer, Heart and Lung associations and the Federal health agencies have greatly changed public attitudes, and the number of adults who agree that smoking in public should be restricted--men and women, smokers and non-smokers alike--is increasing each year. According to the Chilton survey, "Adult use of Tobacco--1975," smokers who agreed that smoking in public places should be restricted increased from 42% in 1970 to 51% in 1975. Among former smokers, Chilton reported the increase was from 61% to 77%, and among those who have never smoked, the percentage increased from 68% to 82%. The May 1976 study, "Public Attitudes Toward Cigarette Smoking and the Tobacco Industry," conducted by the Roper organization for the Tobacco Insitute, also found widespread support for segregation of smoking in most public places was continuing to increase. Roper summarized the increase as follows: -- 8 in 10 people --and almost as many smokers -- favor separate sections for smokers in trains, planes, buses and theaters, and over three-fourths of all people, and almost as many smokers, continue to favor segregating smokers in libraries or museums. -- Support for segregation of smokers at indoor sporting events is now 67%, much higher than in 1974 when it was 40% for all sporting events. --Support for segregation of smokers in 3 types of places is up sharply since 1974 -- at public meetings, up from 57% to 62%; in eating places, up from 50% to 57%; and in train, plane and bus stations and terminals, up from 44% to 54%. --Over half of all people and one-third of smoker favor separate sections for smokers in offices and other places of work.

Title State Smoking Restrictions.
Date 19771031 (October 31, 1977)
Type Report
Bates 500006978/6984
Collection RJ Reynolds
Pages 7

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