Poll: Iowans Support Smoke-Free Law, Want Smoke-Free Casinos

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A new poll shows the 82 percent of Iowa registered voters support a state law banning workplace smoking and made Iowa a better place to live. The poll also shows most say they would favor extending the law to making casinos smoke-free.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) poll comes more than five years after Iowa passed the law eliminating smoking inside bars, restaurants, and other workplaces.

“The dangers of secondhand smoke are beyond question. The only question is why Iowa lawmakers continue to allow it inside our casinos,” said Danielle Oswald-Thole, Iowa grassroots manager for ACS CAN.

The poll shows 60 percent of voters say they prefer a candidate who supports making casinos smoke-free. That’s nearly 10 percentage points more from a similar poll two years ago.

ACS CAN released the poll results the same day Iowa House members held a hearing on extending the smoke-free law to casinos.

“It’s time Iowa lawmakers do the right thing and give everyone the right to smoke-free air on the job,” Oswald-Thole said.

ACS CAN said research has proven exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and serious respiratory illnesses in non-smokers.

Casino operators said their facilities are safe because of “state-of-the-art ventilation systems”. But according to ACS CAN, the ventilation industry’s trade group says the only effective way to eliminate the health risks of secondhand smoke is to go smoke-free.

The poll of 501 registered Iowa voters was conducted December 12-17, 2015 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.