More than one-fifth of all Americans (22%) believe that the federal government should outlaw smoking, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey.
Unless forced to do so, most people do not think a lot about smoking or those who are doing the smoking. Smokers or non-smoker, it makes little difference. It just isn’t something one puts a lot of thought into. That does not mean that people aren’t very vocal about it when they do think about it. Some are vehemently opposed to the practice. Some are more live-and-let-live. Many agree with imposed regulations that make it against the law to smoke in government-run facilities. Many find such regulations an inconvenience or an annoyance. Some simply do not care either way.
But to outlaw smoking entirely?
The good news for smokers is that 70% of Americans who took the Rasmussen national telephone survey disagreed, believing that there should be no national law against smoking.
As more and more localities, businesses, and states impose smoking bans of various kinds throughout the nation, smokers may feel that their rights are being slowly snuffed out, so to speak. Manhattan and Winfield, Kansas added their names to the growing list of towns and cities across the United States to ban smoking in public places.
Smokers rights groups and websites have become a haven of sorts for those feeling embattled. Sites like SmokingLobby.com and SmokersRights.com offer places for smokers to vent and ways to fight against smoking bans, including mobilizing popular support and petitioning local and state governments.
The percentage remains between 20 and 30 regardless of demographic, with one glaring exception. The ethnic group with the highest number of smokers, African-Americans (32%), also was the ethnic group that favored a national smoking ban the most (33%). Twenty percent of whites agree on a national smoking ban.
By political orientation, Democrats favor a ban 26% to 20% over Republicans. There are also more Democrats that smoke.
By gender, 23% of females were in favor while only 20% of men were.
By religion, 28% of evangelical Christians favor a national smoking ban.
And for those who believe that commonly held truth that the most adamant advocates for a national ban are the former smokers, 22% agree with the idea. Still, 23% of those who never smoked also agree. Perhaps the stereotype rests in the level of ferocity.
But Rasmussen Reports reminds everyone that the numbers in their most recent poll are consistent with the results of the same survey in February 2007. So, even though the number of smokers is declining nationwide (18% – 15% since Feb. 2007), those that still enjoy smoking are in no less danger of being forced to smoke in the privacy of their own homes.
The nation of Bhutan is the only country that has a nationwide ban on the sale and smoking of tobacco (2004). Arizona was the first state to impose a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places (1973).
But it looks as if smokers do not have anything to worry about for the immediate future…