Smoking survey misleading

Boynton wrapped up data collection on key tobacco attitudes in a Friday survey âÄúcentral to the development of programs or policies on tobacco useâÄù âÄî namely the proposed outdoor smoking ban on campus. It is essential for the ProvostâÄôs Work Group on Twin Cities Campus Tobacco Use to consider faculty, staff and student opinions on outdoor secondhand smoke before implementing a campus-wide ban, but this survey provides no legitimate measure of these opinions. Any policy recommendation based on this surveyâÄôs results is invalid. The first survey item prompts a response to the statement, âÄúexposure to second-hand smoke is a health issue.âÄù But what amount of secondhand smoke poses a health problem? The survey ignores quantitative aspects of secondhand smoke and overlooks the key distinction between secondhand smoke and outdoor secondhand smoke, when the policy in question would criminalize smoking outdoors. Boynton Public Health and Marketing Director Dave Golden admitted that âÄúit would be a good distinction to make.âÄù Despite being an avid anti-smoker instrumental in banning smoking in the Washington Avenue bridge walkway, Dr. David Weiss of the UniversityâÄôs psychometrics department said that with respect to the surveyâÄôs function: âÄúIt would have been better if they had used the phrase âÄòoutdoor secondhand smokeâÄô where appropriate in the survey.âÄù For an institution striving to be among the top three public research universities in the world, failure to provide an opinion survey that properly corresponds to the policy question at hand âÄî the outdoor smoking ban âÄî constitutes a bitingly ironic and utterly irresponsible oversight.