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Poll finds voters support smoking ban
(Published January 10, 2005)

Three out of four D.C. residents likely to vote in the 2006 mayoral election favor passage of a citywide law that would make all indoor workplaces in the District smoke-free, including restaurant and bars, according to a poll released Jan. 5 by a nonprofit group advocating such a law.

"Broad support exists for a D.C. smoke-free policy," said D.C. resident Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, a member of the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division Board of Directors. "It’s time for the [D.C. City] Council to heed the wishes of those who elect them and make passage of a strong smoke-free law a priority."

Current D.C. law permits smoking in offices, health care facilities, day care centers and restaurants. But the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society that commissioned the poll, supports passage of a comprehensive smoke-free workplaces law that would include bars and restaurants.

The poll also found that 82 percent of likely voters feel the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air outweighs the rights of smokers to smoke inside restaurants and bars. Seventy-eight percent of those polled said they believe restaurants would be healthier for customers and employees if they were smoke-free and 70 percent said bars would be healthier if they were smoke-free.

Seventy-five percent of voters polled agreed that all workers in D.C. should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

The telephone poll, conducted Dec. 15-21 by Lake Snell Perry and Associates, surveyed a randomly drawn sample of 502 registered D.C. voters who have either registered to vote since 2002, voted in a previous election, reported they always or almost always vote in local elections, or reported they are likely to vote in the 2006 mayoral election. The poll's overall margin of error was plus or minus 5 percent.

A bill to ban smoking in D.C. workplaces was introduced during the city council's last legislative period but was not brought before the full council for a vote.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator