MDCH Public Opinion Survey Indicates Support for State Smoke-Free Law

Contact: James McCurtis, Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

June 21, 2010

LANSING - Researchers with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Tobacco Section recently completed analysis of results from a public opinion survey related to Michigan's statewide smoke-free air law. The survey was conducted before the law, which required Michigan workplaces to be smoke free as of May 1, 2010.

More than 75 percent of all participants were in favor of the law and 88 percent thought that secondhand smoke was a serious health threat to nonsmokers. Nonsmokers were significantly more supportive of the law than smokers. About 87 percent of participants were aware that all bars and restaurants would be smoke-free starting May 1, 2010. Overall, 89.5 percent of those surveyed reported that they would go out to eat more often or would not change if smoking were prohibited in restaurants and bars.

"The results of the survey indicate strong support for the smoke-free law prior to implementation," said Teri Wilson, a Consultant with the MDCH Tobacco Section. "The good news for the economy is that almost 90 percent of participants indicated they would go out to eat more often or just as often as they did prior to Michigan being smoke-free."

The nine question survey assessed knowledge about secondhand smoke, knowledge of the law, support for the law, and behavior change related to the law such as whether participants would eat out more often if smoking was prohibited in bars and restaurants. Demographic information was also collected.

"Regardless of smoking status, the majority of participants reported no change in going out to eat if smoking was prohibited in bars and restaurants," Wilson said. "Nonsmokers were more likely to report they would go out to eat more often than current and former smokers. Over 900 current and former smokers reported that they would go out to eat more often."

The survey, which was distributed to clients receiving services at local health departments in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties, and through eight agencies serving populations disparately affected by tobacco use, was conducted between March 1 and April 23, 2010 and included 10,030 participants.

The public opinion survey will be conducted again in August and results of the pre- and post-law implementation surveys will be compared. Wilson noted that because the survey uses convenience sample methodology, the August survey will be distributed within the same venues, but not necessarily completed by the same participants.

To view a copy of the survey results or for more information about Michigan's smoke-free law visit www.michigan.gov/smokefreelaw.