Feb. 20 2014
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – A new poll released today shows that 67 percent of Utah voters support legislation that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Just 31 percent of voters oppose increasing the age of sale for tobacco products.
This support comes from a broad-based coalition of voters across the state, including 80 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents. In addition, voters from across the state and across key demographic groups support increasing the minimum sale age for tobacco products to 21. Furthermore, by a 60 percent to 27 percent margin, the survey found that voters would favor a candidate who supports increasing the sale age over a candidate who opposes the proposal.
“The poll found Utah voters are concerned about tobacco use among young people and the proposal to raise the age for sale of tobacco garnered both broad and widespread support,” noted Aaron Andersen of Dan Jones & Associates, the firm conducting the survey.
Today, the Health and Human Services Committee will consider Senate Bill 12, the bill to increase the tobacco sale age to 21.
“Now is the time for legislators to listen to the large majority of Utah voters who want to reduce smoking among young people and save lives by increasing the age of sale for tobacco products to 21,” said Beverly May, Director of the Western Region at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The poll also found that the majority of voters still support raising the sale age for tobacco to 21 even when they hear arguments on both sides of the issue. After hearing common arguments on both sides, a solid 63 percent favor the increased age and only 35 percent oppose it.
The statewide survey of 515 voters was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The proposal to increase the sale age for tobacco is supported by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Utah, a broad coalition of health organizations across the state including the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Utah Medical Association, Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Utah Tobacco Prevention Task Force, Utah Society for Respiratory Care, Utah Department of Health, Primary Children’s Medical Center and the American Lung Association in Utah.
“In Utah, tobacco kills more than 1,200 people each year and virtually all of them started using tobacco before age 21,” said Dr. Kevin E. Nelson, pediatrician at the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. “If current smoking rates remain the same, 39,000 kids in Utah today will ultimately die from smoking. Increasing the legal age for the sale of tobacco products to age 21 will help reduce smoking and save lives.”
The survey was conducted January 31-February 5, 2014, by landline and cell phone, using live interviewers, among a random sample of 515 registered voters in Utah. The overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted by the public opinion and market research firm Dan Jones & Associates in Salt Lake City, Utah.