News Releases

October 2, 2001


VANCOUVER - An Ipsos-Reid poll shows that 60 percent of B.C. residents disagree with the provincial government's decision to overrule the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) on a decision designed to protect workers from second-hand smoke in bars and restaurants.

Even more significant, when those polled were asked whether or not restaurant and bar workers deserve the same degree of protection from second-hand smoke as workers in other occupations, 81 percent or four out of five British Columbians polled agree that B.C. hospitality workers should not be subjected to a double standard for workplace health and safety.

"This poll shows that if the government implements the ban with a strong communications strategy, there is a potential for support for the bar and restaurant smoking ban that is greater than the support present for most other public policy initiatives," said Garfield Mahood, Executive Director of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. "The B.C. government has a choice. It can cave in to tobacco industry-funded lobbies and show the public that it believes in double standards for occupational health. Or it can implement the ban and demonstrate its commitment to place health high on its agenda," said Mahood.

"This poll also reveals that society is reaching a consensus on a worker's right to have a smoke-free workplace," said Cynthia Callard, Executive Director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, the health organization that commissioned the poll. "Rolling back the Workers' Compensation Board decision makes as much sense as rolling back air quality standards in an aluminum smelter."

"From this research we now know that it is not difficult to move toward a consensus on public policy for tobacco control," said Heather MacKenzie, Executive Director of Airspace Action on Smoking and Health. "The opposition to reform that is almost always promoted by tobacco industry-funded lobbies can be countered by any government that is committed to a health agenda and cares enough to explain the health reform to the public."

Ipsos-Reid interviewed 800 British Columbians. The survey results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percent 19 times out of 20.

The Ipsos-Reid poll, completed on September 10th, was released in conjunction with a Clean Air Coalition of B.C. symposium on the protection of workers' health from second-hand tobacco smoke held convened today in Vancouver.

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IPSOS-Reid Poll Results (pdf) by party, by region