Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
SALTO, Esteve et al. Regulatory policies and public opinion: the case of smoking. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.80, n.3, pp. 243-248. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272006000300004.
Background: Collecting and disseminating information about the public opinion on a regulatory process gives visibility to the silent social support and facilitates the process, which often confronts resistance from interest groups. This paper presents a survey about a proposed legislation on tobacco in its final stages and its results, and some considerations on the use of this sort of information in change processes. Methods: Cross sectional descriptive study. In December 2005 a brief telephone survey was made to a population sample of 18 and more years of age (N=830) in Catalonia (Spain). The questionnaire explored opinions on the proposed regulations under discussion. We present the degree of support and the rating of nine regulatory measures, stratified by the respondents use of tobacco. Results: Daily smokers are 26.3% of the surveyed population. Awareness and general support for tobacco regulation are very high. Aspects with wider support include bans on sales to minors (97.3%), smoking in enclosed public places (92.8%) and workplaces (89%), and publicity (90.8%). The aspect with less social support is banning smoking in bars and cafes (80.2%). Conclusions: The population supports widely tobacco regulation. This reinforces the process and weakens the arguments of those against it. Although smokers are less supportive, most of them accept the regulations, except for limitations in bars and cafes.
Keywords : Smoking; Government Policies and Organization; Environmental tobacco Smoke.