Over the summer, Tobacco Free Communities | Delaware, Otsego, & Schoharie (TFC-DOS) teamed with Siena College Research Institute to conduct a tri-county Community Survey to collect the community’s opinions on various tobacco-related topics. The questions ranged from policies prohibiting smoking in public areas like beaches and parks, to smoking in apartment buildings, as well as opinions on exposure to tobacco marketing in and out of stores, and near schools. These questions gauge community support of evidence-based policy solutions that lead to decreases in tobacco use.
Based on Siena’s results, all three counties were strongly in favor of policies that reduces exposure to secondhand smoke, including a ban on smoking on the grounds of municipal properties (68-75%), on the grounds of worksites (65-70%) and in parks and beaches (58-62%). There is also strong support for policies that ban the sale of tobacco products in stores that are located near schools (61-69%). Reducing tobacco marketing in stores near schools is in the communities’ interest, especially given the high percentage of those who believe that youth are targeted by candy and fruit flavored tobacco products (74-77%).
Responses to questions geared toward menthol cigarettes reveal the potential for further education. For instance, just 29-34% of respondents in all three counties believe that menthol makes it harder to quit smoking, a fact that has been established by research. The ban on flavored e-cigarettes earlier this year leaves menthol as the main flavor of tobacco still available for sale.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- Delaware and Otsego counties show a 3 and 4% decrease respectfully in 2020 smoking rates and Schoharie a 5% increase.
- Respondents were highly concerned that tobacco displays and advertising induce young people to smoke.
- 80% of residents in Delaware and Otsego counties and 85% in Schoharie county do not allow smoking in their homes.
- Lower percentages of residents, 38-42%, thought that menthol-flavored cigarettes made it easier for youth to start smoking.
The full report can be accessed here.