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New poll shows increased support for smoking ban

Friday, Jun 27, 2008

[Posted by Kevin Fanning]

* A new survey had smoking ban advocates giddy yesterday:

The telephone survey found that 73 percent of the respondents think the state’s ban on smoking has been beneficial. The percentage increased by nearly 10 percent since the same company conducted a similar poll a year ago, when the issue was debated statewide.

“Clearly, the public understands that cigarette smoke in the workplace is a serious health hazard,” said Joel Africk, president of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. “Public opinion is key behind smoke-free Illinois.”

The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. They polled 606 Illinois residents from May 28 to June 1, and the poll had a margin of error of +/- 4%.

It was paid for by the American Lung Association of Illinois, the American Cancer Society-Illinois, and the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

* The poll means increased trouble for casinos who have been pushing for an exemption to the ban. After news of the poll hit, they stuck to their main argument:

Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said casino revenue shortfalls translates to less money the state can spend on other projects.

“I suspect that we will continue to try to get some waiver for the casinos,” said Swoik.

* However, after six months of the ban being in effect, most businesses seem to be complicit

Then there are the restaurant and bar owners. Before the smoking ban, many were furious about enforcing a law upon their patrons. They feared a drop in customers and profit.

But six months into smoke-free Illinois, at least three Fox Valley establishment owners say business is alive and well.

Without an outcry from the business community over a loss in revenue from the ban, it will be difficult for casinos to keep pushing this line. Thoughts?

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:21 am:

    My runnin’ buddies and I all spend much more time — and money — at Chicago’s nightspots now that we can go out and hear a band without poisoning ourselves and stinking up our hair and clothes.

    Unless smokers are staying home and suckin’ butts in front of the tv, I don’t see how the ban can do anything but expand the number of potential patrons for restaurants, clubs and bars.

    – SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  2. - bored now - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:24 am:


  3. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:29 am:

    Down here by St. Lou-ser, you can go 2 extra miles and light up while you gamble. But, you have to register so you give up anonymity for the privilege.
    As a smoker, I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was inside the Queen a few weeks back. Instead of carping about it, casinos should market it to non-smokers.
    Cigarettes are going the way of print newspapers: out.

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:29 am:

    It’s all over. It’s never coming back.

  5. - OneManBlog - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:41 am:

    I think if the casino guys have a shot if the revenue stays down, since casinos are the golden goose of taxes in Illinois.

    Anything that would increase the handle at the casinos and therefore the tax revenue is going to look really nice in about 2 weeks.

  6. - BandCamp - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:42 am:

    I like it. I’m a small business owner and it did affect me and still does later at night because I’m more of a tavern than Texas Roadhouse or big nightclub. I will say this about smaller taverns- if the law was actually enforced, there would be many places out of business. Why? Because these taverns let the patrons smoke and the cops/public health doesn’t hassle them. I personally don’t care because I know what to expect if I walk in one of these places. Smokers had always been their bread and butter, and that’s the way it will stay until the law is enforced. But you are kidding yourself if you think the law doesn’t affect those small owners of older taverns. Why ALA or ACS should care about these places is beyond me. Their members or supporters would never frequent drinking holes like these, and most if not all the bartenders smoke themselves. It’s a choice.

    Having said all this, I don’t mind the law. I also enjoy going out and smelling like smoke the next morning. It’s a relevant law as it pertains to health. However, and there’s no real way to fairly make exemptions, these smaller taverns should be left alone. Kinda like the poker machines in these taverns that “don’t pay out.” Or is that the next “crusade?”

  7. - Wumpus - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:44 am:

    Personally, I like it. I just disagree with telling the owners what to do on this minor level.

  8. - BandCamp - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:44 am:

    NOT smelling like smoke. It’s Friday and my typing for the week is at a low.

  9. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:49 am:

    ==Kinda like the poker machines in these taverns that “don’t pay out.”==

    What do you mean, bandcamp? Of course ALL video games in taverns take 20 dollar bills! ;-)

  10. - puzzler - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:50 am:

    Providing outdoor smoking areas for patrons is more problematic for casinos than bars and restaurants. Casinos don’t want patrons going outside the casino to smoke because when they return the casino has to pay another head tax to the State. Security is also an issue. To provide a smoking area an Illinois casino would have to build a secure outdoor area that was inaccessible from anywhere but the casino. The other issue with casinos in border communities is the competition from states like Iowa who exempted casino floors from its smoking ban which takes effect July 1.

  11. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:51 am:

    Casinos are losing revenue in states where non-smoking bans have not be passed.

    While the smoking ban has had an effect on business, it has not been the sole reason for the revenue drop. Nervous gaming management have been riding this scapegoat long enough to cover their losses and the real reasons behind these losses.

    Non-smoking is the new norm. If I were in the gaming business I would have already considered this new reality and moved on into new areas in order to offset any possible losses.

    After all, this is the gambling business, right? Who says it shouldn’t undertake any risks? The corporations operating Illinois casinos should more than understand, right?

    No such thing as a safe bet when dealing with governments.

  12. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 9:53 am:

    puzzler…the Casino Queen in ESL built 2 smoking ‘paitos’ accessible only to patrons (thus avoiding the head tax). While using them, they literally look like jails, with the iron bars and all. Smokers are criminals now.
    Of course, the patio project was a lot easier since CQ left the actual river and is now a boat-in-a-moat.

  13. - Levois - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:09 am:

    I’d say instead of a nanny state law why not let business owners decide whether or not they should allow smoking in their businesses. I know there are many who doesn’t like cigarette smoking and believe me you can count me as one of them, but I don’t think one should trample on a businessman’s right to run a business as they see fit in order to satify another groups interest in curbing smoking. One can choose not to go to an establishment that allows smoking.

  14. - The Fox - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    What thehell did you expect from a poll by those groups. Gimme a break. If everyone is so delighted with that fascist scheme to allow choice and it’s such a boom to business why not provide a freedom of choice to cafe and saloon owners willing to risk their business to allow a relaxing cigarette. A former smoker.

  15. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:12 am:

    Antecdotaly I know several people who go out a ot more because of the ban. They hated the smoke and used to stay away from taverns, pool houses, comedy clubs etc.

    Since smoking is a health hazard, the need for money from casinos is not a good argument. After all, if we ignore the hazards, the most profitable business for the State to support finacially would be sales of drugs like Meth etc.

    The real porblem with casion revuenue for the State is that w have become dependent on them for revenue in the first place. The State needs to get away from funding itself on sin taxes.

  16. - Levois - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    As far as I understand second hand smoke isn’t proven. So who has determined it to be a health hazard exactly?

  17. - allie - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    i think the smoking ban is fine if people like it. but i feel like its just another thing for two groups of people to argue about.

  18. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    Two things in favor of the smoking ban for singles.

    You can see if the bar is happening just by driving by the front and seeing how many people are out smoking.

    It is easier to start conversations with people who are out smoking than in the bar. For some reason their is a camaraderie that makes the conversation come more easily.

    So all you hard up non-smoking singles should take up the habit. I suggest not inhaling.

  19. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:31 am:

    Levois you would be incorrect. Health impact of second hand smoke is well documented. National Cancer Institute. Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke: The Report of the California Environmental
    Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph no. 10. Bethesda, MD. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
    National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, NIH Pub. No. 99-4645, 1999,

  20. - enrico depressario - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:51 am:

    Not surprising those who paid for the poll got the results they wanted. When is the public going to wake up to the liklihood most of these so-called “scientific” polls are rigged rubbish? And while I’m at it, let me tell you about the NBA…

  21. - casino patron - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    Some of the casinos in surrounding states have so much more to offer than IL casinos. For example, Ameristar Casinos in St. Charles Missouri has nightclubs, shops, plus more (and better) restaurants. The St. Charles Missouri area around the Ameristar casino is very nice - nearby restuarants, shops, etc. The Illinois casinos, particularly in the St. Louis area, have gambling and very limited restaurants - period. There is NOTHING in the immediate area around the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. Plus, the Ameristar has a number of nearby very nice hotels - and they will shuttle you for free to the casino. We recently tried to go to Casino Queen because they don’t allow smoking - but could not even get a hotel room. Had no problems getting a very nice room near Ameristar. It seems like Illinois casinos haven’t figured out there is more to attracting customers than just gambling.

  22. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 11:50 am:

    casino patron,

    IL chose to put its casinos in economically slower areas which is why they don’t tend to have too many other attractions around them.

    As for the allegation that the polling results are because it was arranged by non-smoking advocates, the poll itself was run by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, and for this kind of polling, I can’t imagine the questioning was overly tilted, though without the questions, it’s hard to tell.

    Remember though that smokers only make up, what, 20% of the population? So I can see broad support for a ban.

  23. - No Smokes For You! - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 12:23 pm:


    Now can we please pass a law outlawing smoking in private vehicles where children are present? Children are the most vulnerable amongst us, and cannot protect themselves. Heck, they probably don’t even know what danger they are being put in.

    After that, we move on to banning smoking in private homes where children are present.

  24. - Peter - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 12:26 pm:

    I just love smoking bans. I can go out and not have burning eyes, nose, and a sore throat from all of the filthy air. I can’t imagine how anyone would want to go back once they see the difference and breathe the cleaner air. I’ve even heard quite a few smokers who were pleasantly surprised by the better atmosphere.

  25. - Say WHAT? - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    I too am glad not to be breathing the smoke in restaurants. However, I am disturbed that two out of three restaurants in this town are closing, they say due to the loss of revenue to Indiana establishments who allow smoking. Now there is just one restaurant left in town. Second hand smoke isn’t good for us, neither is the loss of revenue. For every tax dollar lost, the burden is then shifted to the homeowners. Neither scenario is healthy - for different reasons.

  26. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:11 pm:

    Say WHAT? um the homeowners are damaged because they are missing the ability to build revenue by sacirficing the health of others? Under your argument money creates health for the homeowners regardless of the soruce of the money. I disagree that you are healthy if your revenue stream is built upon harm caused to others. Your argument requires us to define reveune as healthy regardless of the source; which means all sources of revenue such as selling meth and cocaine would be good healthy reveune.

    If you have 2 restraunt where the food is so mediocre that they can not sell food, only spots to sit and smoke, you never had a healthy buisness climate to start with.

  27. - The Fox - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:42 pm:

    Second hand smoke is bunk. It’s the concentration of smoke that MIGHT contribute to certain cancers. Ban water? If you drink too much water you’ll drown.No one slugged me with a ballbat and pushed me into a saloon where a couple of ol’ guys were having a shot and beer and a cigarette. Worse than smoking was the stomach wrenching smell of stale beer, cleaning fluids and sweating bodies. Still an ex-smoker.

  28. - The Mad Hatter - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    Well what do you know? A survey bought and paid for by the smoke nazis shows their viewpoint is valid. This isn’t news; it’s propaganda. Recognize BS when you see it people, or you’ll be up to your knees before you know it.

  29. - Phil - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 4:30 pm:

    Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research is a very well known and well respected polling company. I’m sure that anyone who knows anything about polls would look at their methods and find them above reproach. And they are certainly not the only polling firm that finds smoking bans are becoming more and more popular in most areas of the country.

  30. - snowbird - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 8:41 pm:

    Taking a ‘poll’ is a favourite ploy by the antis to give the impression that the majority sides in favour of no-smoking laws.Why is it that no ones knows the type of questions these antis asks
    the public.
    Are the questions geared to a No-smoking answer??
    Another flaw in these surveys are:
    The vast majority of the public never or very seldom patronise the hospitality industry on any given day.
    Why should these people have a say in the matter of the hospitality industry in using or permiting a legal product on ‘private’ property??

    A truer survey should be among the owners, workers and the customers, since they are the ones who have a vested interest in this issue.

  31. - snowbird - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 8:52 pm:

    A no-smoking law means: It is against the law to use or permit a legal product on ‘private’ property.
    Is this the American Way??

  32. - snowbird - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 8:55 pm:

    Smoke from tobacco is a statistically insignificant health risk

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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