Guest Blogger: Erin Bennett, Idaho Government Relations Director
The Smokefree Idaho coalition is doing great work encouraging cities across the state to go smokefree, and recent polls show we have a good deal of support in our efforts. The American Heart Association is working with the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, along with other partner organizations to help implement strong smokefree policies across Idaho. Our goal is to ensure workers do not have to choose between their job and their health.
We recently conducted a poll in three cities, Meridian, Pocatello and Idaho Falls, to gauge support of our efforts, and found that in each city, over 65% indicated they would support laws prohibiting smoking in all public places, including bars, offices and other workplaces. With over 87% agreeing that exposure to secondhand smoke is a health hazard and over 82% believing workers should be protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, it is clear that smoke free policies are urgently needed. Respondents were also more likely to support local candidates for office who support laws prohibiting smoking in public places, and results were generally consistent across ideological party lines, age, gender income, and education.
These polls show us that voter support is strong and now is the time for cities to enact smoke free ordinances. The AHA/ASA will continue working with Smokefree Idaho to implement policies that create healthier environments for all workers across Idaho. We are excited to gain this momentum in the new year, and believe 2015 could be one of the best years yet for helping more Idaho cities go smoke free!