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Poll: 65 Percent Of N.C. Residents Support Smoking Ban

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ELON, N.C. — Almost 65 percent of North Carolina residents would support a statewide ban on smoking in public places, and more than half prefer restaurants that don't allow smoking, according to a survey released Tuesday by Elon University.

The survey also found that 65 percent of residents support allowing city and town governments to pass local smoking bans, which state law forbids.

"It appears that the historical ties to tobacco in this state are now essentially severed as anti-smoking sentiments prevail among North Carolinians," said Hunter Bacot, who directed the poll.

The survey of 649 people was conducted Sept. 24-28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The poll found that 69 percent of respondents request nonsmoking sections in restaurants while only 7 percent preferred the smoking section. Almost 60 percent said they prefer to visit entertainment venues that don't allow smoking.

Public places were defined during the survey as public buildings, restaurants, offices and bars.

However, when asked specifically about requiring all bars and restaurants to ban smoking, more respondents expressed opposition.

While 31 percent said they would oppose a smoking ban for public places, 42 percent of respondents said they disagreed that all restaurants and bars should ban smoking.

"The only resistance to a statewide ban appears when respondents are presented with the prospect of such a smoking ban being imposed unilaterally on all restaurants and bars," Bacot said.