Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina voters want bar and restaurant owners to have the ability to set their own smoking policy according to a new poll released today by Civitas Institute.
Rep. Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson) yesterday reintroduced a bill (HB 2) identical to one that was defeated two years ago that would ban cigarette smoking in all bars, restaurants and enclosed workplaces.
According to the poll of 600 North Carolina voters, when asked if a bar or restaurant owner should be able to set their own smoking policy given that it is clearly posted at the entrance to the restaurant, 62 percent of voters voiced their support, while 34 percent opposed the proposal. Three percent were not sure.
“Rep. Holliman’s draconian ban leaves no exception for restaurant or bar owners to have the ability to set their own policy,” said Chris Hayes, senior legislative analyst for the Civitas Institute. “Voters clearly recognize that private businesses should be able to set their own policies for a legal activity, such as smoking, so long as the public is adequately informed before entering the establishment.”
A state policy banning smoking in bars and restaurants, but allowing them to “opt-in” and permit smoking so long as it is clearly advertised within the establishment was adopted two years ago in Virginia, but vetoed by Gov. Mark Warner.
“Providing an ‘opt-in’ provision for bars and restaurants would protect the interests of private businesses while allowing consumers to make an informed decision about which businesses to patronize,” Hayes added. “If left free from government intervention, ultimately, the market will set smoking policies in restaurants. As consumers demand more and more options for smoke-free establishments, businesses will respond in the way that best suits its bottom line.”
Full text of question:
“Would you support or oppose legislation allowing a restaurant, bar or tavern owner to decide their own smoking policy as long as the policy was clearly posted at the entrance to their business?”
Support – 62%
Oppose – 34%
Not Sure – 3%
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues and policies facing North Carolina. Complete results of the poll will be released at noon on Thursday, Jan. 29 at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Raleigh during the monthly poll luncheon hosted by Civitas.
The study of 600 registered voters was conducted January 19-22, 2009. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.