notobacco

Most Hoosier Voters Would Vote For Candidates Who Favor Statewide Smoke-Free Law

In State News on October 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Below is a press release issued today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. For a complementary opinion piece, check out this Indy Star column.

Legislators have opportunity to align with constituents

Indianapolis, IN – Oct. 18, 2010 – A majority of Hoosier voters are more likely to vote for a state candidate who favors a statewide smokefree air law, according to the latest statewide poll conducted for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). When asked, 53 percent of Hoosiers polled said they are “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to vote for a candidate who supports smokefree air legislation.

“Clearly, Hoosiers continue to support clean indoor air and their willingness to take this issue to the ballot box only confirms how eager they are for their elected officials to take the appropriate action,” said Amanda Estridge, Indiana state government relations manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “There is no valid argument that can refute the numerous public opinion, health and economic studies that show the state would be better off all around with a comprehensive smokefree air law.”

The poll, completed by Bellwether Research & Consulting, polled Hoosiers statewide, all of whom are self-described likely voters this November.

Other significant findings of the statewide poll include:

1. Smoke-free air will not hurt Hoosier businesses. Ninety-two percent of those polled stated that they would be more likely or just as likely to visit establishments that will go smokefree under a statewide law. Sixty-six percent of those polled say their impression of restaurants and other establishments would improve if they convert to smokefree.

2. Employees should be protected from second-hand smoke. Over half of voters (54 percent) say secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, while only five percent say it poses no hazard at all. Eighty-one percent of those polled believe that all employees have the right to breathe smokefree air at work, including in bars and casinos.

3. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments will be healthier if smokefree. Eighty-seven percent of those polled agree smokefree air will be healthier, while only 11 percent disagree.

Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) and Rep. Eric Turner (R-Marion) are expected to introduce bi-partisan legislation banning smoking in all public places in Indiana. 

“A smokefree Indiana is long overdue,” said Brown. “We have an opportunity to make a profound difference in health of our state, for individuals as well as businesses that will benefit from a comprehensive smokefree law. We’ve seen our neighboring states go smokefree and do it successfully – Indiana has no excuse.”

“Smokefree air is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” said Turner. “It’s about ensuring everyone has the right to breathe smokefree air, no matter who they are or where they work. I encourage my colleagues in the General Assembly to do the right thing and make Indiana smokefree.”

Each year, more than 1,200 Indiana adult nonsmokers die from exposure to secondhand smoke. Food service workers are 50 percent more likely to develop lung cancer, largely because of exposure to secondhand smoke on the job. In terms of economic impact, secondhand smoke costs the state of Indiana more than $390 million each year, or $62 per taxpayer.

“Once again, a survey is showing that the people of Indiana want smokefree air,” said Danielle Patterson, chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air. “It’s time for lawmakers to listen to their constituents, which they were elected to do, and support statewide smokefree legislation.”

The Bellwether Research poll was conducted October 7-10, and has a margin of error of + or – four percent. Interviews were conducted via landline and cellular telephones.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

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