Survey: NKY Divided on Smoking Ban

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CINCINNATI.COM | AMANDA VAN BENSCHOTEN | JANUARY 23, 2015

Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed don’t think the state should ban smoking – but 26 percent do.

Northern Kentuckians are divided about whether indoor smoking should be banned in public places, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Independent Business Association of Northern Kentucky, which opposes such a ban.

More than 39 percent of the 3,304 Northern Kentucky voters surveyed last week say the decision should be left to business owners and consumers, and 26 percent of respondents said the state should ban smoking in all public places.

The remaining 35 percent of respondents were either unsure how they felt on the issue or favored some other measure, such as a partial ban that exempts bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.

About 71 percent of respondents said they believed businesses were already moving to ban smoking on their own, without government intervention.

The Independent Business Association of Northern Kentucky was created following the 2010 debates over whether to ban smoking in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. Boone County never brought such a ban to a vote. A change in the makeup of Campbell County’s Fiscal Court sent a ban there to defeat. And Kenton County enacted a partial ban with some exemptions.

“We already decided this issue in Northern Kentucky, back in 2010 and 2011,” said Kevin Gordon, head of the business association. “This issue comes up in Frankfort every year. We just figured that if nobody says anything, nobody does anything, nobody down state will know there’s any opposition.”

The poll results were distributed to Northern Kentucky lawmakers Thursday, as they and their colleagues in the Kentucky General Assembly consider whether to enact a comprehensive indoor smoking ban. The measure was strongly backed by Gov. Steve Beshear during his annual State of the Commonwealth address earlier this month.

More than 52,000 likely voters who live in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties received the phone call for the poll on their landlines Jan. 15, and 3,304 of them completed the poll. It was conducted by Northern Kentucky Opinion, a polling firm run by Ken Moellman of Pendleton County, who has been involved in anti-smoking-ban activities in the past.

The poll also gauged likely voters’ feelings on the Brent Spence Bridge, and Moellman initially said the margin of error in the poll was an unheard-of 1 percent. On Thursday, he said that was a miscalculation: the margin of error is actually 1.7 percent.

The results of this poll are markedly different from a poll conducted last year for the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which supports the smoking ban. In that poll, 65 percent of respondents favored a smoke-free law and 73 percent said they prefer to dine at restaurants that don’t allow smoking.

Moellman attributed the discrepancy to different sample sizes and questions.

Read the article online.