Public opinion and smoke-free laws

Mary Kay Rayens, Ellen J. Hahn, Ronald E. Langley, Susan Hedgecock, Karen M. Butler, Lisa Greathouse-Maggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Public support for Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky's smoke-free law, perception of health risks from exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS), smoking behaviors, and frequency of visiting restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues were assessed pre- and post-law. Two cohorts of noninstitutionalized adults (N = 2,146) were randomly selected and invited to participate in a 10- to 15-min telephone survey. Public support for the smoke-free law increased from 56% to 63%, and respondents were 1.3 times more likely to perceive SHS exposure as a health risk after the law took effect. Although adult smoking and home smoking policy did not change post-law, adults frequented public venues at least as much as before the law. Lexington adults favored the smoke-free legislation despite living in a traditionally protobacco climate. The smokefree law acted as a public health intervention as it increased perception of risk of heart disease and cancer from SHS exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalPolicy, Politics, and Nursing Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Public opinion
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Smoke-free legislation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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