Most California Bar Employees, Customers Support State Smoking Ban, Report Finds
About 75% of bar owners and employees in California support the state ban on smoking in those establishments, and about 80% of bar customers agree that smoke-free bars have an important impact on their health, according to a new report released on Wednesday, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Portner, San Jose Mercury News, 11/21). For the report, commissioned by the Department of Health Services, researchers at Field Research conducted two random telephone surveys in September and October and interviewed 1,000 bar customers and 650 bar owners and employees (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 11/21). According to the report, released at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in San Francisco, 83% of bar owners and employees said that the state smoking ban protects their health and the health of other employees. In 1998, when the state smoking ban took effect, only 47% of bar owners and employees supported the law. DHS Director Dr. Diana Bonta said, "California's success in protecting people from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke has encouraged numerous cities and states across the United States, as well as other countries, to follow our lead in establishing smoke-free indoor workplaces." She added, "The repeated attempts by the tobacco industry and its allies to overturn this measure have failed because Californians want smoke-free environments" (Office of the Governor release, 11/20). Philip Morris spokesperson Tom Ryan said that the company supports "reasonable" restrictions on smoking in government buildings and "areas that cater to children," but in other places "where people can choose to go or not to go, the firm believes business owners should have the right to make their own decisions," Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 11/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.