Pennsylvania Governor's Smoke-free Plan Could Be Popular With Public, Poll Suggests
Just days before
Governor Edward Rendell announced his support for smoke-free environments
as part of his statewide health care reform plan, a poll of Pennsylvanians
conducted by the Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical
In the early January poll, 301 Pennsylvanians were asked, "When you go
out to eat, what do you prefer?" Participants were given four options: a
smoke- free restaurant, a restaurant with a non-smoking section, a
restaurant with a smoking section, or it doesn't matter.
When combined 70 percent said they prefer a smoke-free restaurant or a
non-smoking section with 56 percent specifying a smoke-free restaurant.
Only 15.5 percent of respondents indicated they prefer a smoking section.
The remaining participants indicated that it did not matter to them.
"Clearly, Governor Rendell's support of smoke-free environments is a
smart decision for many reasons," said Peter Lund, MD, executive director
of the Institute for Good Medicine. "Based upon our Patient Poll, the
majority of Pennsylvanians are looking to avoid smoke when they dine out.
He already should have great support on this issue from the public."
The Pennsylvania Medical Society has long advocated for tobacco-free
environments, noting the dangers to all citizens. According to Pennsylvania
Medical Society President Mark A. Piasio, MD, MBA, the organization has
testified in front of legislative committees in recent years on this issue.
He says there's a long list of reasons why smoke-free environments are
better for Pennsylvanians.
"Whether you're talking about the smoker or those who endure
second-hand smoke," Dr. Piasio said, "the impact of tobacco smoke increases
the risk of cancer for all. And, that's just one of the risks involved."
Dr. Piasio adds that the Pennsylvania Medical Society has made
available at http://www.myfamilywellness.org a calculator for smokers to
learn how much they smoke per year, how much they spend per year on
cigarettes, and other costs that might not be easily calculated such as
illnesses and early death. The calculator can be found under the Web site's
"How's your health" section.
The Patient Poll by the Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania
Medical Society was conducted on January 10 with the help of the Taylor
Brand Group of Lancaster and Greenfield Online. It has a 5.67 percent
margin of error and included responses from throughout the state,
representing a variety of ages and income levels. Nearly 87 percent of the
participants carried some type of health insurance. These results on
smoke-free environments are similar to polls conducted by other
organizations in different parts of the country.
The Patient Poll is designed to feel the pulse of Pennsylvanians on
health care issues.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society has been working to enhance the
patient- doctor relationship since 1848. To learn more about the
Pennsylvania Medical Society, visit its Web site at