Dr. McMillen presented his findings to the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) in San Francisco in his report, "Changes from 2000 to 2005 in U.S. Adult Attitudes and Practices Regarding Children's Exposure to Secondhand Smoke". The paper summarizes his comprehensive 2000 National Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control.
"The vast majority of adults in 2005 - 97 percent - recognized the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke from parental smoking," said McMillen. "Yet, a tenth of households - 10 percent - allow indoor smoking in the presence of children."
Over the course of six summers from 2000 - 2005, Dr. McMillen and his team of researchers conducted telephone surveys that coincided with the implementation of several state and national tobacco control programs. The surveys included national probability samples of adults from all 50 states, and had a response rate of 75 - 87 percent. Their reported results are encouraging.
Support for smoking bans increased overall in these areas:
- Shopping Malls - 71 to 80 percent
- Restaurants - 61 to 71 percent
- Fast-food Restaurants - 77 to 82 percent
- Outdoor Parks - 25 to 39 percent
- Indoor Sporting Events - 78 to 82 percent
Actions taken by communities towards smoking bans increased as follows:
- Indoor Shopping Malls - 75 to 83 percent
- Convenience Stores - 68 to 80 percent
- Restaurants - 25 to 45 percent
- Fast-food Restaurants - 52 to 72 percent
- Outdoor Parks - 8 to 15 percent
Public sentiment however, appears to be ripe for change. From Dr. McMillen: "A growing majority of adults in the U.S. favor restrictions on smoking in public settings, suggesting that many communities across the nation have the public support for much broader public smoking restriction policies."
Learn more about secondhand smoke: