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Seventy Percent of East Baton Rouge Voters Favor a Smoke-Free Ordinance

Jan. 27, 2016

Nine out of ten voters think secondhand smoke is a health hazard

** Click here for the key survey findings document **

Baton Rouge – Jan. 26, 2016 – A coalition of local, state, and national public health groups released polling results today showing 70 percent of East Baton Rouge Parish voters favor extending the statewide smoke-free policy, Act 815, to all workplaces, including bars and casinos.

“Voters throughout East Baton Rouge Parish and across party lines strongly support extending the smoke-free policy to all workplaces,” said Jim Hobart, vice president of Public Opinion Strategies. “Voters are more likely to go out to bars and casinos if the smoke-free law is extended, and are also more likely to support a candidate who backs the smoke-free law extension.”

The Healthier Air For All campaign (HAFA), the secondhand smoke campaign of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL), and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, commissioned the poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies. The telephone survey was completed December 10-13, 2015, among 500 registered voters in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The survey indicated support is strong for a smoke-free ordinance that extends the current policy to include all workplaces, with 7 out of 10 voters favoring a move in this direction by the Council. Geographically, support by Metro Council District remains high at 69-70 percent. The proposal unites all voters in the city, regardless of ethnicity. Other strong polling results included little difference in support between conservatives and liberals; and more than half of those polled said they would be more likely to go out to bars and casinos if a comprehensive smoke-free policy were passed.

Those surveyed also indicated they are more likely to support a candidate who backs the proposal to extend the smoke-free policy to all workplaces, including bars and casinos, over those who say they are less likely to back such a candidate.

“No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck,” said Tonia Moore, Associate Director of TFL. “Ensuring all workplaces are smoke-free parish-wide is an efficient way to solve a serious public health problem, and it seems to resonate with East Baton Rouge voters to move in a healthier direction.”

“There is no question that smoke-free laws save lives and reduce tobacco-related illnesses like cancer,” said Amber Stevens, ACS CAN volunteer. “Voters in East Baton Rouge Parish clearly understand this fact and are expecting their elected officials to implement this proven method for helping to prevent cancer-related to tobacco use.”

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that cause cancer. Service industry and gaming facility employees, along with musicians and entertainers, breathe more secondhand smoke while at work than any other type of employee. In fact, there are more than 3,000 East Baton Rouge employees currently being exposed to cancerous toxins in secondhand smoke. East Baton Rouge residents are ready to protect the health of all patrons and employees by making the parish 100% smoke-free.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Well-Ahead campaign coordinate their efforts in tobacco prevention and control by providing statewide coordination of existing tobacco control initiatives, funding innovative community programs for tobacco control, offering services for people who are ready to quit and developing statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the state’s resources and improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information visit www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a 100-percent smoke-free Louisiana, visit www.healthierairforall.org. To learn more about quitting tobacco, visit www.quitwithusla.org.