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Survey indicates most support smoke-free fair

Lake County Public Health recently announced the results of a survey issued during the 2013 Lake County Round-Up & Fair weekend.

The end results of this survey reported that the majority of those polled supported a ban on smoking anywhere on the fairgrounds, or should be in designated areas only, according to a press release.

Registered Nurse Beth Hadley, who is also a coordinator for Lake County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, reported 189 survey participants.

The demographic largely represented Lake County residents between the ages of 35 and 44 years, Hadley said in a press release issued Monday, Jan. 13.

Of these participants, 83 percent agreed that smoking should not be allowed anywhere on the fairgrounds, or in designated areas only.  The vast majority of these respondents believed second-hand smoke is harmful and tobacco use shouldn’t be allowed outdoors where children are present.

Hadley noted that given statistics reporting most smokers starting the habit prior to age, the results of the survey were not surprising.

“Because we know that 88 percent of adult smokers start before the age of 18, people are becoming more aware of the importance of modeling healthy behaviors and reducing tobacco exposure to our youth,” she said. “This is particularly important in Lake County, where eighth and 11th grade tobacco use exceeds the state average.”

The results were brought before the Lake County Fair Board in December, with discussions ensuing on how to proceed on the topic.  Hadley said it is ultimately the board’s decision, and said there are currently 16 county fairs in the state that place restrictions on smoking or tobacco use.

The tide is shifting, Hadley said, toward non-use of tobacco as a social norm.

In any case, with whatever the Fair Board decides, the survey was deemed successful in initiating conversations related to healthier choices, she said.

“It increased awareness and started conversations about creating a healthier environment for people who live, work or play in Lake County,” she said.

For more information or a full summary of the survey results, contact Beth Hadley at Lake County Public Health at 541-947-6045.

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