Several states implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws in workplaces (14 states), restaurants (17 states), and bars (13 states) between 2002 and 2007. We tested the hypothesis that public support for smoke-free laws increases at a higher rate in states that implemented smoke-free laws between 2002 and 2007 (group A) than in states that implemented smoke-free laws after that time or not at all (group B). The period before the implementation (1992–2001) was also considered.
Data was used from the Current Population Survey (CPS) Tobacco Use Supplements (TUS), which is representative for the U.S. adult population. Respondents were asked whether they thought smoking should not be allowed in indoor work areas, restaurants, and bars and cocktail lounges. Differences in trends were analyzed with binomial mixed effects models.
Population support for smoke-free restaurants and bars was higher among group A than among group B before 2002. After 2002, support for smoke-free restaurants and bars increased at a higher rate among group A than among group B. Population support for smoke-free workplaces did not differ between group A and B, and the increase in support for smoke-free workplaces also did not differ between these groups.
The positive association between the implementation of smoke-free restaurant and bar laws and the rate of increase in support for these laws partly supported the hypothesis. The implementation of the laws may have caused support to increase, but also states that have higher support may have been more likely to implement smoke-free laws.