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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 36–40 | Cite as

Support for Tobacco Control Policies

How Congruent are the Attitudes of Legislators and the Public?
  • Nicole A. de Guia
  • Joanna E. Cohen
  • Mary Jane Ashley
  • Linda Pederson
  • Roberta Ferrence
  • Shelley Bull
  • David Northrup
  • Blake Poland
Article

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the congruence in perceptions and attitudes of legislators and the public regarding tobacco and tobacco control policies.

Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were used, one of elected federal and provincial legislators and one of adult residents in Ontario, Canada. Perceptions and attitudes were analyzed as dependent variables using multiple logistic regression, and adjusted for age, sex, educational attainment, and smoking status.

Findings: Congruence was found in most instances, however, some differences were found. Legislators were more likely than the public to agree that most smokers are addicted and were more supportive of a smoking ban in workplaces, but these differences disappeared after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. Legislators were also more aware than the public of the magnitude of deaths due to tobacco compared to alcohol, whereas the public was more supportive of strong penalties against stores that sell cigarettes to minors.

Conclusions: Our findings provide considerable evidence for congruence in the “real-world” (unadjusted) perceptions and attitudes of Ontario legislators and the Ontario public toward tobacco control policies. Such findings are positive for tobacco control advocates and should be leveraged to bring forward strong tobacco policies in the political arena.

Résumé

Objectifs: Examiner la concordance dans les perceptions et les attitudes des législateurs et de la population en ce qui a trait au tabac et aux politiques de lutte contre le tabagisme.

Méthode: À l’aide de deux enquêtes transversales (l’une auprès des législateurs fédéraux et provinciaux élus et l’autre auprès des résidents adultes de l’Ontario), on a analysé les perceptions et les attitudes des répondants en tant que variables dépendantes, par régression logistique multiple. On les a ensuite ajustées selon l’âge, le sexe, le niveau d’instruction et le statut de fumeur ou de non-fumeur.

Constatations: Dans la plupart des cas, on observe une concordance. Les législateurs sont proportionellement plus nombreux que l’ensemble de la population à convenir que la plupart des fumeurs sont dépendants et à approuver l’interdiction du tabagisme sur les lieux de travail, mais cette différence disparaît lorsqu’on tient compte de l’effet de la variable socio-démographique. Les législateurs sont aussi plus sensibles que l’ensemble de la population à l’ampleur des décès dus au tabac (par comparaison avec les décès dus à l’alcool). Dans l’ensemble de la population, on approuve davantage l’imposition de lourdes sanctions aux magasins qui vendent des cigarettes à des mineurs.

Conclusions: Ces constatations témoignent d’une forte concordance entre les perceptions et les attitudes (non ajustées) des législateurs ontariens „ dans le monde réel ” et celles de la population ontarienne en ce qui a trait aux politiques de lutte contre le tabagisme. C’est une bonne nouvelle pour les porte-parole de la lutte contre le tabagisme, qui devraient s’en servir pour promulguer le renforcement des politiques en ce domaine.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole A. de Guia
    • 1
  • Joanna E. Cohen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary Jane Ashley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Linda Pederson
    • 3
  • Roberta Ferrence
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Shelley Bull
    • 2
    • 5
  • David Northrup
    • 6
  • Blake Poland
    • 2
  1. 1.Ontario Tobacco Research UnitUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Office on Smoking and Health, Epidemiology BranchCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Samuel Lunenfeld Research InstituteTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Institute for Social ResearchYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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