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Big increase in support for smokefree bars

Big increase in support for smokefree bars

A new survey shows that the public is right behind smokefree bars – and the biggest increase in support has come from smokers.

The UMR Research survey found that public support for a complete ban on smoking in pubs and bars has increased by 13 points in the space of five months, to nearly 70 percent. Support from smokers increased to 42 percent in April 2005, compared with 22 percent in the previous survey in November 2004. Support from non-smokers increased to 75 percent, from 66 percent in 2004.

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation Executive Director Jane Patterson says these results back up anecdotal feedback – that smokers and non-smokers alike appreciate being able to breathe safe air while out socialising.

“Before bars went smokefree inside on December 10 last year, people weren’t quite sure what to expect, and there was some nervousness. But now it is clear to everyone that smokefree bars are no big deal – it’s not that difficult to just pop outside for a cigarette.

“Even smokers, some of whom vehemently opposed the legislation, are appreciating the benefits of not having to stand for hours in a haze of poisonous second-hand smoke. And from the demand on smoking cessation services, it appears that smokefree bars are helping smokers reduce the amount they smoke, or quit completely.”

The survey found that over the past four years public support for smokefree bars has risen from 38 percent to 69 percent. Support for smokefree restaurants is even higher – increasing from 61 percent in 2001 to 81 percent in 2005.

The UMR Research nationwide omnibus survey is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over. The margin of error for a 50% figure at the ‘95% confidence level’ is +3.6%.


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