Monday, April 12, 2010
The Argus Leader just published their poll on the opinions of voters regarding a smoke-free air law. 66% of respondents said they vote for a comprehensive smoke-free air law that includes all workplaces, restaurants, and bars. While only 32% of respondents said they would like to see smoking in public places continue. These are typical numbers of polling data of smoke-free air laws. Roughly 2/3 of the population supports smoke-free air, regardless of factors such as gender or political party.
With a small yet vocal minority of detractors of smoke-free air laws, its clear that South Dakota will be going smoke-free following a vote in the fall.
A little history on South Dakota's efforts to go smoke-free. The legislature passed a law which was signed by the Governor in March, 2009. South Dakota would have gone smoke-free on July 1, 2009. A petition was circulated to place the smoke-free issue on the ballot for November 2010. The supporters of the referendum have both gaming and tobacco industry ties. While many signatures were invalidated, the petition garnered enough signatures to place the issue on the ballot.
South Dakota does have certain casinos and video lottery establishments including in their law. This means that the influence of the gaming industry is at play. The gaming industry is powerful and not unlike Big Tobacco. Best of luck to the advocates in South Dakota in their efforts to create a healthier state!