Weekly paper in Carter County runs voluntary-response survey about statewide smoking ban, finds slim majority in favor

Wikipedia map: Carter County

The Journal-Times, the weekly newspaper in Carter County, is running an online “poll” of reader opinions about the proposed statewide smoking ban and finding a slim majority in favor of it. At 4:20 p.m. Sunday, 52.3 percent of the voluntary respondents said they favored the legislation, while 45.4 percent said they opposed it and 2.3 percent said they didn’t care.

Despite those numbers, reporter Leeann Akers writes that the idea “seems to be unpopular in Carter County,” based on “overwhelming opinion on social media.” She cites the Facebook page of the Carter County Citizens For a Better Way and this post from Brandon Boggs: “If a business wants to prohibit smoking they have that right, however, we have the right to support that business or not depending on our personal preferences.”

Some posters on the page favor the ban. Travis Horton wrote: “I as a nonsmoker think people that smoke in restaurants or in businesses are showing disrespect for people with health issues and other things.”

A continuing national survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control has found that between 31 and 46 percent of Carter County residents smoke, with the most likely number being 38 percent, well above the statewide figure of 29 percent in the same survey.

Akers reports that the county’s two state legislators, “Sen. Robin Webb and Rep. Jill York, both say they remain undecided on how they will vote if it comes to the floor but both have a history of following their voters.” She gives the legislators’ email addresses and the telephone number to leave a message for them.

“This is the sort of story that most local newspapers with websites can do,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of Kentucky Health News. “But I suggest that they avoid calling any voluntary-response survey a poll, because that word implies that the results are from a scientific, random sample, and that they remind readers of that in giving the results.”

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