Haines survey shows support for smoke-free environment

A recent survey of 319 adults in Haines Borough showed that 79.7 percent feel it is important to have a smoke-free environment inside workplaces, including restaurants, bars and clubs.

This survey was sponsored by SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and conducted by Hellenthal and Associates in August 2010, eight months after the Haines Clean Indoor Air Ordinance went into effect. The intent of the phone survey was to gauge the support, thoughts and concerns Haines citizens had about the ordinance. Of the 319 adults surveyed, 56 (17.4 percent) were current smokers, 119 (37.3 percent) were former smokers and 144 (45.3 percent) had never smoked.

“We have found that some people are more resistant to change in the beginning, but once they see the positive effects of businesses being smoke-free they support the ordinance,” said Amanda Roberts, tobacco policy coordinator for SEARHC. “When businesses go smoke-free people breathe easier, their clothes don’t smell like smoke and their health is better.”

In addition, 73.5 percent of Haines residents found it more enjoyable to visit restaurants, bars and clubs once the smoke-free law took effect. In other results, 78.1 percent found it was nice to be able to go home after a night out on the town without smelling like smoke.

The majority of Haines citizens do not feel there are problems with smoke-free law. Of the few people that expressed concerns, the top three issues were people smoking too close to buildings and smoke coming inside, police/business owners not enforcing the law and a belief that the policy is a violation of smokers’ rights.

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