August 8, 2010 - You're not the only one who thinks the cigar smoke from the next table over is ruining your steak. More than half of America would like to see smoking totally banned in restaurants, and only 4% are OK with unrestricted smoking. It looks like cigarette smoking - it's culture, it's use, it's support - is becoming a thing of the past. Both the percentage of cigarette smokers in the U.S., and the support for public smoking has declined since 1987.
A new Gallup study asked U.S. adults if they would rather have a total ban, a designated smoking area, or no restrictions in restaurants, workplaces, hotels, and bars. Most people wanted a designated smoking area in each category except for restaurants, where most wanted a ban. The fact that only 17% of adults wanted smoking banned from restaurants in 1987, and now most are demanding it, is a rare reason for society to pat itself on the back. (Americans Want Smoking Off the Menu at Restaurants by Lydia Saad, GALLUP)
Not many think that public places (other than restaurants) should be totally off limits. Only 31% of adults said they wanted smoking banned from bars, and 36% said the same for hotels and motels. Less than 10% of adults were alright with unrestricted smoking in hotels, but 23% said it was fine for a bar.
Smoking bans have found their way into almost all of the states in the U.S., and it's going to probably be a hot issue for upcoming local elections.
Reference: Half the Country Says NO to Eating and Smoking, Gallup Polls Examiner Jonnathan Coleman, 8/6/2010.