The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4003.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 8

Abstract #38302

Local residents' attitudes towards environmental tobacco smoke regulations in two communities in Massachusetts

Kristen Hill, MPH, Greater Lawrence Tobacco Free Network, Northeast Center for Healthy Communities, 101 Amesbury Street, Suite 405, Lawrence, MA 01840, 978-688-2323 x552, khill@glfhc.org

Despite significant evidence linking environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) to cancer, efforts to pass ETS policies have faced much opposition. Although statewide surveys demonstrate wide public support for smoke-free policies, local surveys may have greater influence on business owners who fear the regulations will hurt business. This study assessed the attitudes and behavior intentions of residents in Lawrence and Methuen, Massachusetts around smoke-free regulations. A random sample of Lawrence and Methuen voters was surveyed by telephone in June of 2001. More than half the respondents supported smoke-free policies in indoor workplaces (65.0%) and restaurants (57.3%), whereas 42.2% supported smoke-free bar regulations. Over 18% were uncertain if they would support smoke-free restaurant policies; 29% were unsure if they would support smoke-free bar regulations. Approximately 86% reported the same or increased patronage of local restaurants if restaurants were smoke-free and 74% said they would not travel to a town that permits smoking in restaurants if their town adopted smoke-free policies. Of the respondents who patronize bars, 71.5% predicted no change or increased patronage of local bars if local bars were smoke-free. The data suggests that local residentsí attitudes towards smoke-free regulations are supportive, however, a percentage of respondents did not know if they support smoke-free policies. Locally conducted surveys can help tobacco control advocates tailor their ETS education strategies to increase support for smoke-free policies in their community. Community data of residentsí behavior intentions after implementation of smoke-free policies may also help tobacco control advocates ease fears of local business owners.

Learning Objectives: People attending this presentation will be able to

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

State Clean Indoor Air / Environmental Tobacco Smoke Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA