February 15, 2002 - Raise Cigarette Tax, Even If Unfair To Smokers, Connecticut Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Communities Should Have Power To Limit Smoking
By a 71 - 26 percent margin, Connecticut voters say Gov. John Rowland's proposal to raise cigarette taxes 61 cents a pack is a "good idea," according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. This tax hike is unfair to smokers, 53 percent say, while 43 percent say it is fair.

Admitted smokers, only 16 percent of the registered voters surveyed, say 66 - 32 percent that the cigarette tax hike is a "bad idea." Non-smokers back the idea 78 - 19 percent.

Some portion of the money from the cigarette tax hike should be used for anti-smoking programs, 51 percent of Connecticut voters say, while 43 percent say all the money should be used to reduce the state deficit.

"Voters seem to be saying that it is OK for the government to pick on smokers since smoking is harmful and a cigarette tax hike is a good way to reduce the deficit. They also think some of the money raised from the tax hike should fund anti-smoking programs," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.

"Most smokers say a tax hike won't change their behavior, but it is significant that 41 percent of smokers said it would cause them to cut down or quit.

"Voters also want their towns and cities to have the power to regulate smoking. They favor banning smoking in restaurants but are divided on banning smoking in bars."

A cigarette tax hike would be "very effective" in reducing smoking among current smokers, 5 percent of voters say, while 39 percent say it would be "somewhat effective;" 30 percent say it would be "not too effective," and 25 percent say it would not be effective.

But the tax hike would be "very effective" in discouraging young people from starting to smoke, 12 percent of voters say, while 42 percent say it would be "somewhat effective;" 24 percent say it would be "not too effective," and 21 percent say it would not be effective.

By a 63 - 35 percent margin, Connecticut voters say cities and towns should have the authority to regulate smoking. And by a 72 - 25 percent margin, voters say smoking should be banned in restaurants.

Only 44 percent of voters say smoking should be banned in bars, while 48 percent oppose such a ban.

Second-hand smoke is "very harmful," 58 percent of all voters say, while 32 percent say it is "somewhat harmful." Among smokers, 33 percent say second-hand smoke is "very harmful," while 44 percent say it is "somewhat harmful."

From February 8 - 12, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,217 Connecticut registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. The survey includes 185 smokers with a margin of error of +/- 7.2 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

28. Governor Rowland has proposed raising the tax on a pack of cigarettes 61 cents in order to help reduce the state budget deficit. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Good idea 71% 32% 78% Bad idea 26 66 19 DK/NA 3 2 3

29. Do you think a portion of the money raised from increasing the cigarette tax should be used to help fund anti-smoking programs or do you think that all of the money raised from increasing the cigarette tax should be used to help reduce the state budget deficit?

                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Portion to fund programs 51% 47% 52% All to reduce deficit 43 42 43 DK/NA 6 11 5

30. How effective do you think a 61 cent increase in the cigarette tax would be in reducing smoking among current smokers? Very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not effective at all?

                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Very effective 5% 11% 4% Smwht effective 39 27 41 Not too effective 30 24 32 Not effective at all 25 38 22 DK/NA 1 1 2

31. How effective do you think a 61 cent increase in the cigarette tax would be in discouraging young people from starting to smoke? Very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not effective at all?

                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Very effective 12% 17% 11% Smwht effective 42 27 45 Not too effective 24 22 25 Not effective at all 21 34 18 DK/NA 1 - 1

32. Regardless of whether you personally favor or oppose an increase in the tax on cigarettes, overall do you think an increase in this tax is fair or unfair to smokers?
                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Fair 43% 16% 48% Unfair 53 83 47 DK/NA 4 1 5

33. Do you currently smoke cigarettes?

                                    AGE IN YEARS .................
                           Tot      18-29    30-44    45-64    65+


Yes 16% 28% 17% 17% 8% No 83 72 82 83 91

NOT REGULAR SMOKER(VOL) 1 - 2 - 1 DK/NA - - - - -

34. (If "Yes" Q33) If cigarette taxes are raised 61 cents per pack, do you think it would cause you to cut down on your smoking; quit smoking altogether; or would it have no effect on your smoking?

                            Smoker Q33
 
Cut down                    26%
Quit smoking                15
No effect                   57
DK/NA                        2


35. Currently cities and towns are prohibited from regulating smoking. Do you think the law should be changed so that cities and towns have the authority to regulate smoking in public places such as restaurants and bars or not?

                            Tot       Smoker    Non-Smoker


Yes/Cities should have authority to regulate 63% 44% 66%

No/Cities should NOT have authority to regulate 35 51 31

DK/NA 3 5 3

36. Do you favor or oppose a ban on smoking in restaurants?

                            Tot       Smoker    NonSmoker


Favor 72% 44% 78% Oppose 25 50 20 DK/NA 3 6 2

37. Do you favor or oppose a ban on smoking in bars?

                            Tot       Smoker    NonSmoker


Favor 44% 17% 50% Oppose 48 79 42 DK/NA 8 4 8

38. In general, how harmful do you feel second-hand smoke is to people -- very harmful, somewhat harmful, not too harmful, or not at all harmful?

                            Tot       Smoker    NonSmoker


Very harmful 58% 33% 63% Smwht harmful 32 44 30 Not too harmful 7 16 5 Not at all harmful 2 3 2 DK/NA 1 3 1

39. When you are in the company of someone who is smoking a cigarette, how much does their smoke bother you - does it bother you a great deal, some, only a little, or not at all?

                            Tot       Smoker    NonSmoker


Great deal 48% 7% 56% Some 24 16 25 Only a little 12 22 10 Not at all 15 55 7 DK/NA 1 - 1