Poll finds most residents of Summit County want smoke-free public places | SummitDaily.com

Poll finds most residents of Summit County want smoke-free public places

FRISCO – A clear majority of Summit County residents wants to go smoke-free in public places, according to a newly released survey commissioned by the Summit Prevention Alliance (SPA).

Sixty-seven percent of respondents – a two-to-one margin – said they support a law that would ban smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars.

Asked if second-hand smoke was a concern, 87 percent percent said yes. Ninety-four percent said inhaling smoke from someone else’s cigarette harms the health of adults; 97 percent said it harms children and 92 percent said it harms workers.

Nineteen percent said smokers have the right to smoke wherever they want, while 81 percent disagreed.

Also, 59 percent said they prefer bars and nightclubs that are entirely smoke-free and 57 percent said they have avoided a restaurant or bar in the last year because it was smoky.

Asked which restaurant a person would choose, a smoke-free one or one that allows smoking, 72 percent said they would prefer a smoke free restaurant while 8 percent said they prefer a smoking restaurant.

SPA contracted the National Research Center Inc. of Boulder to assess Summit County public opinion on the smoking issue.

The firm telephone surveyed 500 residents who were randomly selected from all four major towns plus the unincorporated areas. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

The firm noted that respondents in all four different towns and the unincorporated parts of the county expressed the same overall opinions in their answers.

The survey also found that 83 percent of county residents do not smoke, 10 percent smoke some days and 7 percent smoke every day.

The Smoke Free Summit group is currently working to place the issue of a smoking ban on the ballot this November. The group is seeking to prohibit smoking in public places such as restaurants and bars while allowing smoking outdoors and indoor places that are not public.

The Board of County Commissioners is reviewing putting the question on the ballot.

The vote would be binding in unincorporated areas, such as Copper and Keystone, and would be advisory in the four home-rule towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Dillon.

Four entire states have already gone totally smoke-free: New York, California, Delaware and Connecticut.

In Colorado, several cities and counties have gone entirely smoke-free including Alamosa, Louisville, Snowmass Village, Pueblo and Fort Collins.

Aspen, Boulder, Montrose, Pitkin County, Superior and Telluride have also passed some form of smoking ban.

Denver is debating whether to go smoke-free, and more states – including Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Florida – are expected to vote on similar legislation soon.

Worldwide, Norway will go smoke-free in 2004, and Canada and Australia currently lead the world in smoke-free workplace legislation.

Smoke Free Summit does not believe a ban would harm the county’s economy. The group is optimistic that a smoke free-county may even boost the restaurant trade.

The group bases its beliefs on the fact that in the cities and states that have gone smoke-free, the economies of the restaurant and bar industries have not reported adverse effects, and many have reported increased revenue.

Also, Smoke Free Summit reports that the Summit County bars and restaurants that have already gone smoke-free have reported positive experiences.

Smoke Free Summit is encouraging those interested in volunteering to work toward a smoke-free county to attend a 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Summit County Community and Senior Center at the County Commons.

More information is also available at http://www.smokefreesummit.org.

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