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The Mautner Project, a national lesbian health organization, says results of its nationwide survey show that many patrons and employees of bars and restaurants that cater to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients are bothered by too much smoke in such establishments. The survey, called "LGBT Bars and Smoking Study," shows that 86% of gay bar and restaurant owners say they've received complaints from patrons about too much smokiness. More than half of the business owners say their employees have complained about too much cigarette smoke. About 16% of bar and restaurant owners or managers reported having health conditions that are exacerbated by exposure to tobacco smoke, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, emphysema, and HIV, according to the survey.
More than 140 owners and managers of gay bars nationwide responded to the Mautner Project survey, which asked about the smoking policies of their establishments, whether or not the establishment utilized tobacco-sponsored events or advertising, the owners' and managers' experience with smoke-free events, and their willingness to offer smoke-free events in the future. The survey showed that 88% of them currently sell cigarettes, that 30% advertised tobacco products, and that about 10% held tobacco-sponsored nights and distributed free cigarettes at those events. However, about 32% of the survey respondents said they wished their businesses were smoke-free.
"For many members of the LGBT community, gay and gay-friendly bars and clubs are important sources of employment as well as social outlets," said Amari Sokoya Pearson-Fields, the Mautner Project's director of research. "In the case of bars and restaurants, smoking bans benefit both employees and patrons."
A previous nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications on behalf of the Mautner Project revealed that 70% of the gay and lesbians respondents preferred smoke-free bars and clubs compared with only 53% of the heterosexual respondents. In the same survey, LGBT respondents said they would be willing to pay more to enter a smoke-free bar.
"One of the reasons our community smokes so much is the tacit acceptance of smoke-filled bars as a cultural norm--which makes it much easier for young LGBT people to start smoking and more difficult for older ones to quit." said Mautner Project executive director Kathleen DeBold in a press release. "By convincing more and more LGBT club owners, employees, and patrons to 'come out' as supporters of smoke-free space, we are well on the way to the tipping point in reducing tobacco's deadly toll on LGBT health." (Advocate.com)