Many Americans support outdoor smoking bans: survey

July 29, 2010

An increasing number of Americans favor measures that ban or limit smoking outdoors, according to results (.pdf file) of the annual Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control, released this week.

More than two-thirds of people surveyed believe smoking should not be permitted within 20 feet of a public doorway, 43 percent believe smoking should be banned on public beaches and 36.5 percent believe smoking should be banned in parks.

"Families deserve to have smoke-free spaces to play and relax, both indoors and out," said Cheryl G. Healton, president and CEO of Legacy, a Washington-based nonprofit public health organization that partially funded the survey. "This year's survey focus on outdoor spaces reminds us that passive smoking is a public health threat, whether in a bar, restaurant, office, or even at the beach or park."

Currently, more than 100 municipalities and the state of Maine have smoking bans effective on public beaches, and 464 municipalities ban smoking in public parks.

The survey was conducted by the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University in Starkville.