Elon University Poll finds support for N.C. smoking ban at 65 percent

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A new Elon University Poll shows 65 percent of respondents said they would support or strongly support a statewide law in North Carolina that would prohibit smoking in public places. Thirty-one percent said they would oppose or strongly oppose the same statewide law.

The poll, conducted September 24-28 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 649 North Carolina residents.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. For this survey, public places were defined as public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars.

“It appears that the historical ties to tobacco in this state are now essentially severed, as anti-smoking sentiments prevail among North Carolinians,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.

Eighty-six percent said they agree or strongly agree that employees in North Carolina should be able to work in a smoke-free environment, while 7 percent of respondents said they disagree or strongly disagree.

Some resistance to the smoking ban is evident, with 42 percent of respondents indicating they disagree or strongly disagree that all restaurants and bars should ban smoking.

“It’s obvious from these results that North Carolinians prefer smoke free environments,” said Bacot. “The only resistance to a statewide ban appears when respondents are presented with the prospect of such a smoking ban being imposed unilaterally on all restaurants and bars.”
Seventy-nine percent of respondents said restaurant employees should be able to work in a smoke-free environment. Eighty-four percent said people eating in a restaurant should be free from second-hand smoke and 57 percent said they are either more likely or much more likely to visit a place for eating or entertainment where smoking is not allowed.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they were more likely or much more likely to keep visiting their favorite place for eating or entertainment if smoking were not allowed. Sixty percent of respondents said they prefer to visit restaurants and entertainment places that do not allow smoking, and 69 percent said they request a non-smoking table when they visit a restaurant that permits smoking.

The Elon University Poll has conducted several polls annually since 2000. The non-partisan Elon University Poll conducts frequent scientific telephone polls on issues of importance to citizens. The poll results are shared with media, citizens and researchers to facilitate representative democracy and public policy making through the better understanding of the opinions and needs of citizens in the state and region.