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New poll shows Smokefree Air Act has made Iowa Better

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February 23, 2011

A new poll released today finds 79% of Iowa voters feel the Smokefree Air Act (SFAA) has made Iowa a better place to live.

The poll released by the Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance, found the perceptions of Iowa voters toward the Smokefree Air Act are as clear as the air they now breathe. Support for the law is so strong, 73% of Iowa voters do not want the law repealed, and in fact, 63% want to see it expanded to cover non-tribal casinos.

Since the law was implemented in 2008, smoking has continued on gaming floors of Iowa's non-tribal casinos. "It's very encouraging to see that a majority of Iowa voters support closing the casino loophole in the Smokefree Air Act," said Cathy Callaway with Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance. "Casino workers are at a greater risk of lung and heart disease because of secondhand smoke exposure. No one should have to choose between their health and a good job."

The poll also found that among Iowa voters: 42% are going to restaurants, bars and bowling alleys more often than prior to the SFAA. Of those going out more, 79% are visiting places they used to avoid prior to the SFAA. 65% who have been to a casino at least once in the past year favor extending the SFAA to non-tribal casinos.

Only 4% indicate they would go to state-sponsored casinos less often if these casinos went smoke-free.

"When the law was passed, we heard all sorts of claims that places were going to go out of business. That just hasn't been the case, and it wouldn't be the case if Iowa joined our neighbors in Illinois and South Dakota and made the casinos entirely smoke-free as well," said Callaway. "The law was created to protect employees from secondhand smoke. Everyone, including those who work at casinos, has the right to breathe smokefree air."

According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,400 lung cancer deaths in otherwise healthy nonsmokers and 46,000 deaths from heart disease annually. A 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that 100% smokefree workplace policies are the only effective way to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.

The statewide survey of 500 registered voters in Iowa was conducted by Selzer & Company. The survey was conducted February 7-9, 2011, and has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.

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