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Weekend College students poll smoking ban

By Doug Johnson's American Government Class at FDLTCC During March students in Fond du Lac Weekend College American Government course researched public opinion on the smoking ban, which will take effect in Carlton County on June 1, 2007. County O...

By Doug Johnson's

American Government Class at FDLTCC

During March students in Fond du Lac Weekend College American Government course researched public opinion on the smoking ban, which will take effect in Carlton County on June 1, 2007. County Ordinance 28 makes it illegal to smoke in public spaces anywhere in the county including bars and restaurants. The students were interested in which residents were most likely to favor the ban and if residents felt this would have any affect on the frequency of visits to bars and restaurants. The students interviewed a random sample of residents over the age of 21. They did not include anyone who did not know about the smoking ban or did not have an opinion.

Of the 51 people included in the survey 50 percent opposed and 50 percent approved of the ban. Of those interviewed ages 21 to 30 only 18 percent favored the ban, while those over 30 tended to support the ban. Men were much less likely to favor the smoking ban only 15 percent while women had a much more favorable view. About 35 percent of respondents said they were smokers and 65 percent were non-smokers. In the students poll non-smokers outnumbered the smokers 2 to 1. As the students expected, only 5 percent of smokers favored the ban. Some 60 percent of non-smokers favored the ban.

The class also asked residents how often they visit a bar or restaurant. They then compared the frequency of use to the respondent's opinion on the smoking ban. 40 percent of weekly visitors favored the smoking ban. Sixty percent of people who said they are monthly visitors to bars and restaurants favor the smoking ban. Those people who said they seldom or never visit a bar or restaurant dropped back to 40 percent in favor of the smoking ban.

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The last question in the interview asked the respondent to predict if the smoking ban would influence how often they visit a bar or restaurant. Fourteen percent said the smoking ban would increase the number of visits to a bar or restaurant. Nineteen percent said the smoking ban would decrease the number of visits. Two-thirds, or 66 percent, felt it would have no effect on their patronage of area bars and restaurants.

What conclusions did the students draw from the survey? Smokers, especially young males, are most likely to oppose the smoking ban; however, smokers are out-numbered by non-smokers. Like most national polls, women and older people are more likely to support government regulation.

Will Carlton County Ordinance 28 make a big change in the frequency of visits to bars and restaurants? Most respondents, 66 percent, did not think it would, and the 19 percent who thought it would reduce the number of visits was almost equally offset by the 14 percent who thought it would increase their number of visits.

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