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Poll: Public-Smoking Ban Supported by Majority in N.C.

Posted October 2, 2007

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— Sixty-eight percent of North Carolina residents support a statewide law that would ban smoking in public places, including public buildings, offices bars and restaurants, according to the latest results of last month's Elon University poll.

Nearly the same number of respondents, 67 percent, would also favor local governments making the decision on whether to ban smoking in public places.

Although a majority of respondents indicated support for legislation that would ban smoking in public places, in assessing who is responsible for the regulation of smoking, 62 percent said the decision should be left to business owners.

"Citizens still seem torn between regulating business in the best interest of their health," said poll director Hunter Bacot. "This is a classic individual interest versus public-interest issue as, on the one hand, citizens support by wide margins laws banning smoking in public places, but, on the other hand and by similar opinion margins, they think that such decisions should remain that of the individual business owner.

"Add into this issue debate, the history of tobacco in North Carolina, and you have an incredibly complex issue to deal with that will prove quite challenging to resolve," Bacot said.

The poll, conducted Sept. 24-27 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 664 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. The sample is of the general population and does not restrict respondents by their voter eligibility or their likelihood of voting in an election.

Respondents also answered questions about land transfer taxes as a way for local governments to raise money. According to results, 67 percent oppose the measure, which is on the ballot this fall for more than a dozen counties.

But opposition weakened to 43 percent when they were asked if they would support such a tax if the revenue went to education.

Less than half of respondents, 47 percent, said they support or strongly support the idea of impact fees, which local governments would collect from new developments to offset the costs to the county caused by the development.

"With these results, the prospects for passing a transfer tax in North Carolina counties doesn’t look promising as citizens indicate that local referenda on the transfer tax will face an uphill battle," Bacot said. "While it may pass in some counties due to purely local circumstances, citizens across the state are adamantly against this tax."

Elementary and secondary education was named the top issue in the state, with slightly more than 20 percent of respondents indicating that to be the most important issue facing the state. The economy was second with 13.8 percent; and immigration was third with 8.5 percent. Gas prices was the lowest concern among 1 percent of respondents.

Fifty-three percent of respondents also said the undocumented immigration of Hispanics or Latinos has been bad for North Carolina. More than two-third of respondents – 68 percent – disagreed with a proposal that would allow immigrants to stay in North Carolina as long as they have a job.

The poll also measured attitudes on several public policy issues, including stem cell research. Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated support for medial research that uses stem cells from human embryos and 54 percent support using public funding for stem cell research.

"Generally, such support in a conservative state like North Carolina for a value-based issue like embryonic stem cell research is a bit surprising," Bacot said.

"Yet, assessing this issue more closely and recognizing the prominence of the medical research community in this state, it should not be so surprising to see such widespread support for both medical research and public funding of such research among citizens in this state."

387 Comments

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  • Blessyourheart Oct 4, 2007

    and the gold goes to...

    congrats Gotya- you got me.

  • U-na-li Oct 4, 2007

    Relying on pathetic little insults and you say I am of limited mentality!

    FACT: Smoking is PRESENTLY allowed in some restaurants.
    FACT: You can choose not to go in to them.
    FACT: You do not have the right to tell someone what they can or can not do.
    FACT: Comparing a CONTAGIOUS DISEASE such as TB to smelling smoke is weak, and a pathetic argument.

    The simple fact is that if you walk into a place that allows smoking, and don't want to smell it, you have no sense.

    Most people wouldn't want to walk into a place where something was going on that they didn't like.

    What does that tell you about the small mindedness of those who would knowingly walk into a place that offers smoking, only to complain about it. Most people would call that person an idiot!

    And why would you try to insult mentally handicaped people? What's up with that? Do you believe that their codition is contagious as well?

    I will have a nice day buddy. Even with your attempted insults I hope you do.

  • Blessyourheart Oct 4, 2007

    Just for the sake of arguement, if someone with a contagious disease such as Tuberculosis decided they wanted to dine at the same place you were dining at and exposed you to their germs, would that be ok with you? It's basically the same principle. You are being exposed and both of you have every right to be there. It is impossible to make any smoker see the reason in this arguement...if they had any sense at all they wouldn't smoke in the first place. Therefore, any attempt at having them understand the logic is futile. Gotya, you can argue all you want on the internet and use your limited mentality for that purpose, but you know what they say about fighting on-line, right? It's like competing in the special olympics... even if you win...

    Hope you have a wonderful day buddy.

  • U-na-li Oct 4, 2007

    It is the fact that if you go into a place that offers smoking and get upset about people smoking, what kind of logic was in place for you to go into it? That does not make any sense at all. Just because some people don't like it doesn't mean you have the right to restrict others who do. There are lots of things I don't like, I wouldn't try to restrict your right to do them.

  • U-na-li Oct 4, 2007

    I still don't get it: two people walk into a restaurant to eat. They are equal. Then one feels the irrepresible need to light up. They are no longer equal as one has initiated a change and one has not. Yet, somehow, it's the one who didn't initiate the change's who is supposed to react accordingly. It is THAT logic that doesn't make any sense at all...

    It is easy to understand. Obviously the place the two walked into is an establishment that allows smoking. They are equal. One fires up at the end of their meal. They are still equal. Nothing has changed, no one has changed anything.

    The non smoker walks into the smoking eatery and decide they don't like you smoking. They cry to the the government to change the law because the are to lazy to go somewhere else, or would restrict the free will of the owner of the estabishment to allow or not allow smoking. If you don't like smoking you do not have to eat at a place that offers a smoking section, just like right now in life!

  • BIG_RELIGION_tiny_minds Oct 3, 2007

    Gotya - "Well isn't that what you have done until now? It has been your responsibilty so far in life right? What has changed since this posted that has changed your responsibilty? That logic doesn't make any sense at all."

    Who said anything changed? You're right, many smokers have always felt that it was others' responsibility to avoid them and their habit, more so than they've ever felt it was their own responsibility not to smoke where it may bother others. Smokers can be an inherently selfish bunch, and evidently you applaud that characteristic despite being a "non-smoker" yourself.

    I still don't get it: two people walk into a restaurant to eat. They are equal. Then one feels the irrepresible need to light up. They are no longer equal as one has initiated a change and one has not. Yet, somehow, it's the one who didn't initiate the change's who is supposed to react accordingly. It is THAT logic that doesn't make any sense at all...

  • U-na-li Oct 3, 2007

    Interestingly, by smoker-logic, because I never took the time to become addicted to it, it's now my responsibility to avoid anywhere that allows smokers so that I don't have to be exposed to it...
    flabbergasted

    Well isn't that what you have done until now? It has been your responsibilty so far in life right? What has changed since this posted that has changed your responsibilty? That logic doesn't make any sense at all.

  • U-na-li Oct 3, 2007

    Flabbergasted- Yeah, i was reading through all of these posts, and that seemed to be the reaccuring advice to non-smokers by those who choose to smoke--simply go places that are smoke free.

    So basically what they are saying is that my choices for restaurants as a non-smoker should be significanly limited in order to not encroach on their "right" to smoke. Yeah, I'm not buying that.
    mstone375

    So what you are saying is that smokers choices as to where they can eat a meal and smoke should be significantly ENDED, in order not to encroach on your "right" not to want to smell tobacco. You should buy it.

  • Blessyourheart Oct 3, 2007

    Flabbergasted- Yeah, i was reading through all of these posts, and that seemed to be the reaccuring advice to non-smokers by those who choose to smoke--simply go places that are smoke free. So basically what they are saying is that my choices for restaurants as a non-smoker should be significanly limited in order to not encroach on their "right" to smoke. Yeah, I'm not buying that.

  • BIG_RELIGION_tiny_minds Oct 3, 2007

    mstone375 - "It's really juvenile logic."

    Unfortunately, juvenile logic is the only capability smokers (as well as pro-smoking, allegedly non-smokers such as our friend, Gotya, here) can resort to in order to bolster their argument. The bottom line is, smoking stinks for smokers and, unfortunately, for the non-smokers around them...and there's nothing they can do about it because, as you pointed out, it's physically impossible for them to enjoy a meal without having to satisfy their need to inhale and expel smoke.

    Interestingly, by smoker-logic, because I never took the time to become addicted to it, it's now my responsibility to avoid anywhere that allows smokers so that I don't have to be exposed to it...

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