Special to the Reporter

AUSTIN — A 2011 survey of Republican primary voters in Senator Brian Birdwell’s district (SD 22) found that more than two-thirds of those surveyed support a smoke-free workplace law that prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces and public facilities.

The poll, released by the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition, found that 68 percent of those surveyed indicated they would be more likely to vote for a Republican state legislator in a Republican primary election who supported a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law.

“There is clearly strong support for a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law among Republican primary voters in Senator Birdwell’s district,” said Joel Romo of the American Heart Association. “These voters have expressed their belief that the rights of employees and customers to breathe clean indoor air is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke or business owners to allow smoking.”

Other findings of the survey included:

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed believe the rights of employees to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke and business owners to allow smoking inside restaurants and bars, while only 30 percent thought the right to smoke and allow smoking were more important than the right to breathe clean air.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed believe a statewide law that would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces and public facilities is common sense legislation that protects people from hazardous secondhand smoke, while only 39 percent believe it is another example of government over-reaching and that interferes with individual liberties.

The coalition released these survey results in a video that highlights the benefits of a smoke-free law for Texans and the strong support for this legislation among numerous organizations, business groups, musicians, faith leaders and everyday Texans from across the political spectrum.

The survey of 300 randomly selected GOP primary voters in Texas Senate District 22 was conducted by the Austin-based polling firm Baselice & Associates Inc. The survey was conducted April 28 and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.