JUNE 29, 2004 - Posted at 12:02 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR - Results of a tobacco study commissioned by the Tobacco-free Coalition of Jonesboro were released this morning with some interesting conclusions. Conducted by the Arkansas State University Center for Social Research, the telephone survey reached more than 580 Jonesboro and Craighead County residents.
"As concerns related to smoking continue to rise, we felt it was important to guage public opinion and tobacco usage," said Eileen Allen, coalition coordinator. The survey included questions relating to current tobacco use, exposure to tobacco products, perceptions regarding the dangers of tobacco use, attitudes toward the governmental role in regulating tobacco, and feelings toward some-free public places.
Some of the key findings included:
-Nearly half of smokers polled have seriously considered quitting smoking.
-73 percent of those surveyed have smoke-free homes.
-More than half of those surveyed reported being exposed to secondhand smoke "too often."
-More than 90 percent believe secondhand smoke is detrimental to children's health.
-More than 50 percent had heard or seen anti-smoking messages in the past thirty days, with 83 percent having seen them on television.
"The information gathered from the study is very helpful as we continue to educate the people on the dangers of tobacco use. Not only does it help identify public attitudes and behaviors, but serve as good benchmarks for the work we're doing in northeast Arkansas," explained Allen.
The youth smoking prevalence in Arkansas has dropped from 35 percent in 2001 to 29.3 percent in 2003. Also in 2003, 68 percent of Arkansas homeowners surveyed did not allow smoking in any area of their home, up from 50 percent in 2002.
The Tobacco-free Coalition of Jonesboro mission is to improve the quality of life by reducing the rate of youth tobacco use, promote smoking cessation, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, and to reduce the number of smokers through community collaborative efforts.