Most in U.S. want ban on smoking in public: poll

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Recent polling suggests that more Americans than ever want to see smoking in public banned.

In a poll taken by telephone on July 7-10, the Gallup Organization found that 59 percent supported banning smoking in public. This is the first time a clear majority has supported a ban since Gallup first began asking the question in 2001. A far smaller number, 19 percent, would support a total ban.

When Gallup previously polled this on this matter, in 2001 and in 2007, 39 percent of Americans supported the ban. In 1990, 14 percent wanted all smoking to be made illegal.

Gallup said, “A majority of Americans now support the concept of a full smoking ban in all public places, marking a significant change from four years ago, when Gallup last measured this attitude. Relatively few Americans support the idea of making all smoking illegal across the country, perhaps partly in recognition of the practical difficulties involved in enforcing such a ban.”

Smoking has become much less popular. 27 states, plus the District of Columbia, have banned cigarette smoking in public places.

The Princeton, New Jersey based pollster also asked about respondents’ personal habits. “Twenty-two percent of adult Americans reported having smoked cigarettes within the last week, a percentage that is essentially unchanged over the last five years,” Gallup said.

The poll results are based on a random sample of 1,016 people aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. There a maximum margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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