D.C. Voters Support Smoke-Free Law By Large Margin

January 5, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- January 5, 2005 -- A new poll released today shows that three in four likely D.C. voters favor passage of a citywide law that would make all indoor workplaces in the District, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. The poll was commissioned by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and conducted by Lake Snell Perry & Associates.

“Broad support exists for a D.C. smoke-free policy,” said District resident Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, member of the board of directors, American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division. “It’s time for the Council to heed the wishes of those who elect them and make passage of a strong smoke-free law a priority.”

Current D.C. law permits smoking in offices, health care facilities, day care centers and restaurants. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network supports passage of a comprehensive smoke-free workplaces law that would include bars and restaurants.

Other key findings in the poll:

  • Eighty-two percent of likely voters feel the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air outweighs the rights of smokers to smoke inside restaurants and bars.
  • Seventy-eight percent of those polled believe restaurants would be healthier for families and employees if they were smoke-free and 70 percent believe bars would be healthier for employees and customer if they were smoke-free.
  • Seventy-five percent of D.C. voters agree that all workers in D.C. should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

Secondhand smoke is a health hazard that causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. Secondhand smoke also contains more than 4,000 chemicals and more than 60 known carcinogens. Smoke knows no bounds. Even limited exposure is harmful.

The poll was conducted by Lake Snell Perry & Associates in 502 telephone interviews of likely D.C. voters from December 15-21, 2004. The sample was randomly drawn using a registered voter file. All respondents are currently registered to vote and have either registered to vote in D.C. since 2002, voted in a previous election, reported they always or almost always vote in local elections, or reported they are likely to vote in the 2006 Mayoral election. The overall margin of error is +/- 5 percent.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the nonprofit, non-partisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. For more information, visit

Trista Hargrove
Phone: (202) 585-3221
Email: [email protected]

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