Essays academic service

An argument in favor of banning smoking in public places in louisiana

An argument in favor of banning smoking in public places in louisiana

Received 2009 Mar 11; Accepted 2009 Jun 17. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background We sought to identify factors that affect the passage of public health legislation by examining the use of arguments, particularly arguments presenting research evidence, in legislative debates regarding workplace smoking restrictions. Methods We conducted a case-study based content analysis of legislative materials used in the development of six state workplace smoking laws, including written and spoken testimony and the text of proposed and passed bills and amendments.

We compared patterns in the arguments made in testimony to the relative strength of each state's final legislation. Results Greater discussion of scientific evidence within testimony given was associated with the passage of workplace smoking legislation that provided greater protection for public health, regardless of whether supporters outnumbered opponents or vice versa.

Conclusion Our findings suggest that an emphasis on scientific discourse, relative to other arguments made in legislative testimony, might help produce political outcomes that favor public health.

Background Workplace smoking restrictions protect workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.

Evidence and argument in policymaking: development of workplace smoking legislation

For example, legislative decision making can influence regulatory action through actions such as oversight and budgeting, but regulatory agencies do not have similar powers over the legislature.

Past studies of the behavior of regulatory agencies have specifically noted the role of outside testimony in the decision making process, in literature reviewing public commentary provided on two state workplace smoking regulations and the proposed federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Indoor Air Quality regulation. There was little public health involvement in arguments made for regulation, which is often the case in legislative proceedings as well.

Case studies of individual states considering tobacco control legislation showed that scientific debate dominated discussions of proposed legislation in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Ideological discourse, particularly arguments about personal freedoms, dominated legislative debates in the mid to late 1980s. Such ideological arguments may be based on general beliefs about the role of government; for example, legislators who oppose tobacco control legislation are typically also opposed to other health promotion policies on the grounds that government should not interfere with individual freedoms.

Our findings suggest that greater use of scientific discourse in testimony was associated with stricter workplace smoking restrictions, regardless of whether supporters outnumbered opponents or vice versa.

Methods Our study of workplace smoking legislation relied on a case study approach that reviewed the testimony and floor debates in the legislative decision making process regarding workplace smoking restrictions in multiple states, each of which constitutes a case.

Our data consist primarily of spoken and written arguments made before and within the legislature and as such are qualitative in nature. However, we were able to identify all of the arguments made in each state included in our study, which allowed us an unusual opportunity to count the types of arguments made within the states we studied. These descriptive statistics do not allow rigorous hypothesis testing, but they do allow a more nuanced comparison of arguments made across states than a more interpretive analysis.

Our choice of this time period reflects the fact that in 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency released a report on the effects of secondhand smoke,[ 29 ] a triggering event that led several states to consider workplace smoking restrictions in a similar time frame. Using this sampling frame, we identified eleven states that adopted clean indoor air laws and were able to an argument in favor of banning smoking in public places in louisiana the records of legislative hearings and floor debates for five of these states: Although state "sunshine" laws typically require the recording of legislative proceedings, many states unfortunately have not archived recordings for prior sessions; we excluded states that had not archived their records on the grounds that we would be unable to analyze testimony.

We identified six states that had proposed but did not pass legislation, but only North Dakota maintained records of its legislative proceedings and, as a result, was the only other case we included.

We collected all available legislative records from the six study sites including audiotapes of committee hearings and floor debates, all versions of each bill introduced, amendments offered during the proceedings, attendance and voting records, any legislative meeting minutes, and public commentary. In addition, in the year prior to the enactment of its first indoor air restrictions, the Utah legislature appointed a taskforce to study the harms of secondhand smoke and to recommend state action.

We collected the audiotapes from each taskforce meeting as well as any correspondence submitted. All recordings were transcribed for analysis. Our analysis proceeded by iteratively coding all oral and written testimony from both legislators and non-legislative participants for each state.

If oral and written testimony were submitted by the same participant, the source providing the most extensive arguments was used. Each document was coded for the affiliation of the person submitting it, their position regarding the legislation and regarding tobacco control restrictions generally e.

We developed coding categories for the arguments inductively and based on a coding instrument used in earlier analysis of regulatory proceedings. The broad categories of argument were: We found that all argument types could be employed in support of or opposition to legislation.

We developed a codebook with decision rules for each category Additional file 1 provides a definition of each code to guide the coding process. Three coders, working independently, reviewed all of the documents for each set of argument types. When coding was completed, the full research team reviewed their work as a quality control measure.

To score the strength of state legislation, we applied a modified version of a rating system of state clean indoor air laws developed by the National Cancer Institute http: Two coders, working independently, calculated scores.

An argument in favor of banning smoking in public places in louisiana

Any discrepancies were discussed until consensus was reached. The extent of the restrictions was scored in eight workplace categories: We followed the NCI rating system, with each category was scored as smoke-free 4 points ; smoking restricted to enclosed, separately ventilated smoking areas 3 points ; smoking restricted to areas that are separate or enclosed 2 points ; smoking sections or allows exemptions to restrictions 1 point ; or no restrictions 0 points.

Preemption of stricter local ordinances resulted in a deduction of two points for each affected workplace category with zero as the lowest possible score our sole modification to the NCI rating system was the application of this preemption deduction only to the relevant workplace category, rather than to the overall score.

Points were not deducted from sites already designated as smoke-free. Each piece of legislation was also scored for penalties and enforcement. Points in each of these categories ranged from zero to five points. The total number of possible points for each state law was forty-two.

Because the legislation in North Dakota failed, it was assigned a score of zero. Overall, higher scores indicate stronger legislation. Results We begin by summarizing the nature of the cases in our analysis. All of the states in our sample considered two to three bills over the course of one or two years with the exception of Florida, which considered six bills over eight years, and as was common during this time period, most states included preemption of stronger local laws in their proposed state laws.

Table 1 Study site characteristics laws passed and in effect Utah.