Survey Respondents Favor a Tobacco-Free U.P. State Fair

Original Article From: The Mining Journal

Written by: Isla Matthes, Escanaba Daily Press

 

Escanaba, Mich (January 26, 2016) – A signifcant portion of Upper Peninsula State Fair attendees support making the event tobacco-free, according to a survey completed at the 2015 fair.

The survey was administered by Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties in partnership with the Sault Tribe’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health program and tobacco Free Michigan at the fair.  Included in the survey were 370 fairgoers who completed written surveys and 2,569 who filled out multiple choice dot surveys.

Of those who completed the dot surveys, 81 percent, or 2,079, favored a tobacco-free or mostly tobacco-free fair.  Twelve of those respondents noted they would favor a tobacco-free fair that included a designated smoking area.

“Some (U.P. State Fair) Authority members commented that they would have liked to see a more representative sampling because very few of the total number of fairgoers actually participated,” said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the fair.  “The reported 81 percent supporting a smoke free fair reflects the desires of only 2 percent of fairgoers.  The number of fairgoers completing the written survey was considerably less.”

While fewer in number, the written surveys showed a similar sentiment to the multiple-choice option.  On the written surveys, 73 percent, or 270, wanted a fair where smoking was prohibited in all outdoor areas on the fairgrounds.

Many of the written respondents were more specific about which areas should prohibit smoking.  Sixty-four percent -238 – of written respondents felt that tobacco should be prohibited on the midway, and another 64 percent, or 235, said tobacco should be prohibited in the grandstand seating area.

Nine percent of the written respondents and 18 percent of dot survey respondents did not support a tobacco-free fair, while 6 percent of written respondents said they would be less likely to attend the fair if the event became tobacco free.

However, a significantly larger portion of those given the written survey, 58 percent, claimed they were more likely to visit the fair in the future if the grounds were made tobacco free.

Once the fair authority was made aware of the survey’s findings, the group set out to further investigate the issue and develop a plan that would make the fair’s tobacco use policy more accurately reflect the wishes of fairgoers.

“A subcommittee of the authority was formed for the purpose of discussing future plans that might include extending surveys to a larger group of people, designating more smoke-free areas on the grounds, hanging more signage encouraging patrons to refrain from smoking in public areas and other procedures that would satisfy the desires of the majority of fairgoers,” Micheau said.

The complete results of the survey are available online at PHDM’s website at www.phdm.org. For more information, contact community health at 906-789-8102 or visit PHDM’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/4phdm.

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