Hot on the heels of the ASH survey last month which suggested that people support a smoking ban in pubs, Forest have commissioned a Populus poll to show they don’t.

As I showed last week, the different is all in how the question is presented – if you give people a list of different options, then only a relatively small proportion plump for the total ban. If you give them a straight yes or no, then they tend to support the ban, suggesting that people would broadly support a ban if it happened, but they would prefer a different solution.

This particular poll asked people to chose between the four options set out in the Government’s white paper: the present voluntary approach, giving local authorities greater powers to limit smoking, a total ban, or the governments’ prefered option of a partial ban. The partial ban was the favoured option of only 18% of respondents, 23% supported devolving powers to local authorities while the rest of the sample was evenly split between a total ban, or keeping the present voluntary situation.

Populus also repeated the same question they have used in their previous polls for Forest and the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, asking people their attitude towards smoking in pubs. 62% of people thought that pubs should have separate smoking and non-smoking sections (the majority favouring non-smoking pubs with smoking sections) with 32% favoring a complete ban. This has risen from 24% and 26% in Populus’s two previous polls, suggesting that support for a total ban continues to rise.

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