I’m generally suspicious of polls that are put out by groups with a special interest in the results, but a poll out today from ClearWay Minnesota provides the basis for an ongoing discussion on the smoking ban in Minnesota.
The poll says that one year after the beginning of the Minnesota smoking ban, 77 percent support it.
From the looks of things, a year of living under the smoking ban hasn’t changed many minds. Those who were against it, may still be against it. Those who were for it, are still for it. The 2006 State Fair survey, for example, found about the same level of support for the ban (71%). Another poll in 2007 found 77% favoring some form of smoking ban.
This latest poll didn’t ask how people think the law is working and only 17% of the people surveyed were smokers. (Download poll questions in Word format). One wonders what percentage of the 23% who don’t favor the ban, are the 17% who smoke?
Is that number going down as a result of the smoking ban? It’s too early to know officially. According to the Minnesota Medical Association, 17% is the percentage of Minnesotans who smoke, citing the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey.
The survey found that Minnesota’s adult smoking rate has declined to a new low of 17 percent. That figure is down approximately 5 percentage points since 1999 and represents 164,000 fewer smokers. Minnesota’s declines are impressive compared to national trends, where smoking rates appear to have stalled at about 20 percent since 2004.
However, the reduction in smoking cited in the survey had nothing to do with the smoking ban (and so far there’s no indication the ban has led people to quit smoking) because it used statistics through 2007.
Has the smoking ban had any effect on you or your business?