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The Secondary Effects of the Madison Smokefree Ordinance

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Project Summary:

Background In July, 2005, Madison, Wisconsin will require virtually all of its workplaces, including bars and restaurants, to be smokefree. The ordinance met strong opposition from the tobacco industry and bar and restaurant owners who predicted numerous negative secondary effects on Madison's large college population as well as on the broader community. Because of Madison's pervasive drinking culture, these critics were concerned that the ordinance would increase unsupervised house parties, street violence, and community disturbances, as well as negatively impact bar businesses. While published studies show that smokefree ordinances have little to no economic impact on hospitality revenues, broader community effects have not been evaluated. For example, there are no published studies of the impact of a comprehensive smoking ordinance in a college town, on drinking, or on social disruption. With an increased focus on these issues, communities will benefit from rigorous data evaluating the unintended secondary effects of smokefree policies. Madison provides a prime opportunity to explore these issues. By using multiple data sources, we will answer typically explored questions regarding smoking rates and consumer behaviors, as well as novel questions regarding drinking patterns and other community behaviors. Specific Aims We aim to answer the following research questions: 1. Is the ordinance associated with changes in smoking- and drinking-related attitudes and behaviors among UW students? 2. Is the ordinance associated with changes in smoking- and drinking-related attitudes and behaviors among Madison adult residents? 3. Is the ordinance associated with increased social disruption? Methodology We will use a multidisciplinary team of alcohol and tobacco researchers and multiple methodologies to explore our questions. First, we will use an internet-based survey in a representative sample of UW students (n=750) both before and after the ordinance. Through pre/post statistical analysis, we will explore changes in students' smoking- and drinking-related attitudes and behaviors in the year following the ordinance. Second, we will explore the impact of the ordinance on the Madison population through cross-sectional surveys of adult residents both before and after the ordinance (n=650). Through pre/post statistical analysis, we will explore changes in smoking and drinking attitudes and behaviors, attitudes regarding smoking and drinking policies, and consumer behavior in the year following the ordinance. Third, we will conduct semi-structured interviews of a purposive sample of community leaders, bar owners and managers, alcohol and tobacco coalitions, neighborhood and community organizations, and public safety officers. This will allow us to qualitatively explore perceived changes in smoking and drinking attitudes and behaviors as well as social disruption. Fourth, we will review public records (police, City Department of Health) to identify reports of social disruption that may be attributable to the ordinance and of noncompliance with the ordinance. By triangulation of results from these multiple data sources, we will gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of Madison's ordinance on smoking and alcohol behaviors of its student and non-student population as well as on the community broadly. This will allow us to evaluate the secondary effects of Madison's smokefree ordinance and to develop recommendations for policy implementation which we will disseminate throughout the state and nation.



 
   
 
 
     
   
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