Public Support for Smoke-Free Laws in Rural Communities

Mary Kay Rayens, Ellen J. Hahn, Ronald E. Langley, Mei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: There has been an upward trend in smoke-free laws in countries, states, and municipalities in recent years. However, these laws are more likely to be enacted in urban areas. The purpose of this study was to examine public opinion of smoke-free laws and to determine if there was a difference in support for these laws between urban and rural dwellers. Methods: A series of random-digit-dialed phone surveys was conducted in 2005-2006 with 3672 adult Kentucky residents living in rural and urban communities without smoke-free laws. In addition to demographics, respondents were asked whether they would support a local law prohibiting smoking in public places. Responses were weighted to adjust for an over-representation of women in the sample relative to the population. Logistic regression was used to test for a rural/urban difference in support; data analysis was conducted in 2007. Results: Respondents were primarily women, Caucasian, with at most a high school education, and nonsmokers; the average age was 49.3 years. About half lived in rural communities. More than half (59.6%) supported a local smoke-free law. Controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, education, and smoking status, there was a significant difference in the level of support for a smoke-free law between rural and urban respondents. Compared to urban dwellers, rural residents were more likely to support these laws (OR=1.21; 95% CI=1.03, 1.42). Conclusions: When controlling for demographic differences between groups, rural residents were more likely than those in urban settings to support a law for local smoke-free public places.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-522
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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