Citizens from Four Continents Condemn Tobacco, Call for Tougher Regulation
A new international public opinion survey, conducted in five countries representing four continents, shows overwhelming public support for international initiatives and tougher regulations to control tobacco.
A total of 87 percent of respondents, across the five countries, approve of international efforts to create a set of rules and regulations that would reduce tobacco use and the harm caused by tobacco. Only nine percent of respondents in the five countries are opposed to these efforts.
The five countries include Argentina, India, Japan, Nigeria and Russia. The surveys were conducted between November 2000 and January 2001.
When it comes to specific tobacco control initiatives, 90 percent support measures to monitor and regulate the harmful chemicals in tobacco products; 89 percent support tougher laws against the smuggling of tobacco products; 89 percent support restrictions on where people can smoke; 88 percent support requiring strong and visible warning messages on tobacco products; and 85 percent support stronger restrictions against advertising and promoting tobacco products.
â€œPeople from these high tobacco-consuming countries are demanding strong measures to protect them and their families from the dangers of tobacco,â€ said Dr. Derek Yach, Executive Director of Noncommunicable Diseases at the World Health Organization. â€œThe tobacco industry has been very aggressive in its attempts to make the world believe that tobacco products are harmless and need not be regulated, but its obvious that people just donâ€™t buy their arguments. People, as well as governments, know that the best protection from tobacco lies in strong regulation,â€ he added.
A majority of respondents in all countries support the tobacco control measures that were tested.
The survey finds that public approval of the initiatives is highest in India, followed by Argentina. Support levels tend to be similar in Russia and Nigeria. Support is least strong in Japan although, even here, a majority of the public favours the initiatives.
A majority of both smokers and non-smokers, men and women, in each country support the tested initiatives.
In most countries women are more likely than men to express strong support. In India and Argentina, however, men are as likely as women to be strongly supportive of all the initiatives tested.
The survey results were released today by Environics Research Group Limited of Toronto, Canada. The survey was undertaken as part of an annual multi-national public opinion survey undertaken by Environics in several countries.
The survey is based on the results of face-to-face surveys with representative samples of approximately 1,000 citizens in each of the five countries. The samples are representative of various demographic groups within countries, including men and women, socio-economic groups, age groups and smokers and non-smokers. The samples in two countries (Argentina and India) are urban; the others are national samples.
Samples of 1,000 have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20, among the populations that were surveyed. The margin of error is greater for demographic subgroups of the population.
The project was directed by Donna Dasko, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Environics Research Group Limited.
The following is a summary of survey findings and the questions asked in the five countries.